Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Book Review: Loot
Loot: How to Steal a Fortune
By Jude Watson
Reviewed from NetGalley
Audience: Grades 5-7
Expected Publication Date: June 24, 2014
This heist caper starts in Amsterdam, where young March watches his famous jewel-thief father fall to his death. With his last words, he tells March to "find jewels", but after following some clues left in the getaway pack, March gets caught and finds his twin sister Jules. The pair are sent to a group home back in the states where they meet Darius and Izzy, two other wards of the state, and together the group learns about the moonstones that cursed March and Jules ten years ago, and how they can get them back. From there, it's a race across the country for this band of young thieves to beat Oscar Ford, their parents former partner, to the stones and change their fate.
Let's take a minute to talk about Jude Watson. Writing as Jude Watson, she produces plot driven, engaging tales of action and intrigue, but she can flip a switch an be herself, Judy Blundell, author of the National Book Award winning What I Saw and How I Lied, a book full of literary prose and plot twists. That much talent in one person seems quite unfair, but it's beautiful to see both sides of her writing.
Back to Loot. As a Watson novel, you can bet this is all plot and action. It's a typical caper novel, with a little more drama than the Swindle series by Gordon Korman, but a natural next step for fans of that series. I would absolutely compare it to the 39 Clues series in terms of action and pacing, but I do feel like we get a slightly deeper look at the characters. They become quite the supportive family, which is something readers are sure to notice.
While this book wraps up nicely, I do wonder if this could be the start of a series. Part of my hopes it will stand alone. There are so few books of this nature that stand alone, but after a while, the series becomes stale and readers age out of the reading level (again, Swindle, I'm looking at you!). But if this were to become a series, it would be nicely done, I'm sure. I can't see Jude Watson putting her name on an inferior product, even when she was writing Star Wars formula fiction, it was good formula fiction.
For a fast-paced heist caper, readers will find none better in the middle grade section than Loot.