by Varian Johnson
Synopsis: Jackson Greene is a reformed heister. He’s done his fair share of stings and is completely retired from the con-artisty business. However, on the very first day back from winter break he is accused of flooding half of his school building. The principal is threatening suspension, and worse, he was caught on tape! Or so it seems…
Determined to prove his innocence, and catch the person who is framing him, Gang Greene gathers together for one last heist, to catch a cheat.
Jackson Greene placed his pen on his desk, loosened his red tie, then flipped the page on his American history exam.
The crew had disbanded. Gang Greene was no more, and the Infamous Jackson Greene had retired. Allegedly. (p. 3)
“Jackson!” Bradley yelled, jumping out of his chair. He went to high-five him but missed, hitting Jackson in the face instead. “Sorry,” he mumbled.
“It’s okay,” Jackson said, blinking. “I never used my left eye that much anyway.” (p. 43)
He tilted his head a little to the left. “I’m...your boyfriend?”
“No. I mean, yeah. I mean…”
She tugged her hat lower over her ears.
“Do you want to be?” (p. 112)
“Are you sure your circuit breaker is going to work?” Charlie asked.
“Please call it the Pikachu,” Hashemi said. “It deserves to be respected.”
“Did you actually just say that with a straight face?” Charlie asked. (p. 115)
Jackson gazed at her, taking in her long brown hair, her eyes that looked so wide behind her glasses, and her beautiful, perfect, raw, chapped lips. “Okay,” he finally said. “You’re up.” (p. 132)
My Review and Rating: 4.5 stars
First, let me start off by saying that I love everything about Jackson Greene. I love his quick wit and his banter with his love interest, Gaby (who happens to be his best friend’s sister). At the same time, I love his innocence. He has so much knowledge about being a con-artist and a “heister” that it makes him seem much older than he is. But, he hasn’t even kissed a girl, which reminds me that he’s still in like, middle school.
The second thing I love about the Jackson Greene books is Jackson’s band of misfits. All of his friends fit together like a perfect puzzle and their dialogue is fresh and funny! There were several times where I actually laughed out loud in this book.
Third, this book is diverse! Most of the main characters in this book are minorities, which is rare! Very, very rare in most traditionally published books. I really appreciate Johnson’s efforts in including more races for more representation in fiction.
Okay, on to the actual book. The sequel to The Great Greene Heist did not disappoint. The book opens with Jackson Greene getting framed for flooding half of the school building. Dr. Kelsey, the principal, suspects Jackson and his crew but doesn’t have enough evidence to prove it a, which leaves Jackson and his crew to figure out who has a deep seeded vendetta against them, and why? There is a tape that shows Jackson and his friends flooding the building, but Gang Greene were not in school at the time. Turns out, the video was doctored. In exchange for the doctored video, the person who is framing Greene wants him to steal the answers for a semester exam. Unfortunately, the school just got their security system upgraded and it comepletely hack-proof leaving the Gang Greene in a tough spot!
At the same time there are blooming problems between Jackson and Charlie, his best friend and his girlfriend’s brother. Charlie is beginning to feel left out and his feelings are starting to get in the way of Operation To Catch a Cheat.
I have always been the person to solve the mystery before the author does. That doesn’t make any sense.
To Catch a Cheat is an easy read and very exciting. The banter between characters is hilarious and there is so much nerd talk (from computer hacking and software, Star Wars references to Pokemon trivia) it’s truly a nerd’s dream come true.
I would recommend this to boys in middle school and reluctant readers who want something exciting, but isn’t too long.
Buy Links: Amazon | B&N