by Jude Watson
Scholastic, 2014. 266 pgs. Mystery
Jude Watson's introductory dedication, "To bad children everywhere," will give you an idea what's coming in this book. March McQuin is the twelve year old son of international jewel thief Alfie McQuin, and as our story begins March is riding a getaway bike to pick up his father from a jewel heist. He gets there just in time to see his father fall from the roof, and then to hear his last words as he lies broken on the ground: "Find Jewels." From this sorrowful and mysterious beginning, we follow March and three friends he meets in a New York group home as they try to unravel Alfie's mysterious instructions and avoid the curse of the seven moonstones that seems to be drawing two of them to their doom. Loot is a high octane thriller for tweens, with lots of well-deserved larceny, unexpected family and friend dynamics, a cast of deeply sympathetic and deeply disgusting characters, and quite a lot of laughs, some of them aimed at adults (Dolores Leon's twin loves are children and jewels, not necessarily in that order, so at a gala honoring the loan of one of her priceless necklaces, she brings in school choirs to sing "My Heart Belongs to Daddy.") Recommended for sixth grade and up. Young thrill seekers are going to love this one.