Staff Review: The Great Greene Heist

FC9780545525527The Great Greene Heist

Varian Johnson

Arthur A. Levine Books


Available May 27, 2014

Jackson Greene has worked diligently for the past four months to rehabilitate his reputation after the Kelsey Job — or the Mid Day PDA as everyone else at Maplewood Middle School likes to call it. Getting caught kissing Katie Accord outside Principal Kelsey’s office was never part of the plan and Jackson is usually an excellent planner (Rule #1: No matter how simple a job looks, always plan before you act). That particular job was supposed to go differently. It wasn’t supposed to alienate his best friend Gaby de la Cruz. And it definitely wasn’t supposed to end with him losing cell phone privileges and having weekly meetings interrogations with the principal. Jackson, understandably, isn’t keen to plan any more cons. He’s retired.

Then Jackson discovers that Keith Sinclair is running against Gaby for student council president. Keith’s idea of student governing is to funnel the budget to his own interests, effectively shutting down Botany Club, Tech Club, Chess Team, Art Geeks, the school newspaper. Besides, the deadline for applicants has passed, so why exactly is Dr. Kelsey willing to bend the rules on Keith’s behalf? Jackson — Botany Club member and basketball player — starts to gather a crew: Charlie (Gaby’s twin brother and editor of the Maplewood Herald), Hashemi Larijani (member of the Tech Club and Star Trek fan), Bradley Boardman (Art Geek member and guidance office helper), Victor Cho (Chess Team member, with a surplus of cash), and Megan Feldman (Tech Club President, science whiz, Cheerleader, and Klingon speaker). With Jackson, always in his trademark red tie — skewed slightly to the left — at the helm, the crew has three weeks to pull off the greatest heist Maplewood Middle School has ever witnessed in order to ensure that the student council elections stay fair and honorable.

Teachers and Librarians, make sure to add Varian Johnson’s fantastic new book to your libraries. It is a fast-paced adventure, perfect for middle-grade readers who like school stories, mysteries, and appreciate a touch of style. Jackson is smart, classy, and a fantastic new character. Here’s hoping that The Great Greene Heist is just the beginning of Jackson’s stories.


UPDATE: I was DELIGHTED to read Kate Messner’s post about The Great Greene Heist today entitled “More Than Words: A Challenge for everyone who’s been asking for more diversity in kids’ books.” She issues this call to action, “Speaking up is one great way to ask for change. But buying books may be an even better way.” Her suggestion? Pre-order a copy of The Great Greene Heist from your local independent bookstore.

The Great Greene Heist is such a fantastic book that I couldn’t be more excited to support this book and this cause. In the meantime, Eight Cousins has issued a friendly challenge to Odyssey Books in South Hadley, MA to see which store can sell the most copies of The Great Greene Heist before June 11. The call is out to other bookstores (Thanks, Shannon Hale!) to participate in this challenge. I hope you will purchase a copy of The Great Green Heist at whatever your local bookstore happens to be because it’s awesome and because diversity in kids’ books matters. But I also hope you will consider pre-ordering it at Eight Cousins to help us kick Odyssey Books in the pants win the challenge.


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One thought on “Staff Review: The Great Greene Heist

  1. […] Eight Cousins Bookstore in Falmouth, MA challenged fellow indie booksellers at Odyssey Bookshop to see who can handsell the most copies of THE GREAT GREENE HEIST in its first month. […]

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