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The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson

The Great Greene Heist

by Varian Johnson

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Jackson Greene has pledged to reform from his caper ways (he and his brother were school by their con artist grandfather unbeknownst to their parents) because of a girl. When is appears the same girl will have the school election stolen from her, his friends appeal to him to break his pledge. Fast moving, a lot of dialogue, very likable group of friends, all combine to make this a fun book. ( )
  geraldinefm | Jun 20, 2017 |
This is one of those school books with like NO school in it- it's all about the wild adventures these kids go on. Jackson is far more sophisticated than anyone gives him credit for. Gabby is a female character who actually knows something about basketball- an epiphany- and she's Latina. This is a great contemporary novel about young adult shenanigans. It's a little bit safe as far as adhering to some common events that tie it together (a dance, a student council election) but I really enjoyed it. #Weneeddiversebooks ( )
  CALammert | Mar 19, 2016 |
This review is also available on my blog, Read Till Dawn.

I deliberated about even writing a review for this one, because I read it so quickly. It's not the best book I've ever read or the worst, just somewhere in the unmemorable middle. I'll mainly keep track of it as a recommendation for fans of Gordon Korman, Dan Gutman, and the like, but I figured I should probably write out my thoughts as a reference for when I can't remember what I thought of the book.

Basically, it's Gordon Korman's Swindle series with some of the humor taken out, and some middle school romance added in. This makes it sound pretty bad, but it was actually pretty fun! It had a bit more of a straight-laced story than did the Swindle books, with a lot more focus on the plot and the driving conflicts than on characterization. I don't really know a whole lot about Jackson outside of his strange criminal mastermind-like persona and his love/like (whatever you want to call it) for his former best friend Gabby, who currently hates him. It takes most of the book for Jackson to get anywhere with Gabby, and I really appreciated that. It could have turned into a cheesy love-fest anywhere in the book, but it chose instead to remain palatable.

The characters were painted with pretty broad brushes. On the plus side, they're not caricatures. On the minus, there are so many of them I got them mixed up a couple of times. They have personalities, but they're kind of vague personalities that are really easy to get confused. Jackson was rather unrealistic as this genius spy-master who learned all sorts of tricks from his grandfather, a master con-man. The scenes with Jackson's father definitely made me roll my eyes and want to yell "You can read people's expressions, not their minds, guys, so bring the pride thing down a notch, okay?" You have to just take certain things in this book with a grain of salt, though, so I just sort of rolled with it.

Besides the unrealistic-ness of Jackson's skills, it was a fun book. It's just the sort of book I'd give to my brother - except I won't, because there's too much of a romantic undertow throughout the book for him to enjoy it. I wouldn't really recommend it to more mature fans of romantic adventure books, either, because the romance isn't as good as a lot of stuff out there (and frankly, I am not the biggest fan of middle school romance in general). However, if it interests you enough that you're still trying to decide whether not to read it, then you'd probably like it. If you do give it a try, let me know what you think! ( )
  Jaina_Rose | Mar 1, 2016 |
Just a fun read ( )
  lindamamak | Jun 18, 2015 |
Realistic fiction is never my favorite genre to read, but I have to say, this book was a surprise. A very cleverly written book that kept you guessing about just how Jackson was going to pull off the heist of the year.

Who: The infamous Jackson Greene never thought he would be breaking his own code of conduct. Rule number 3 – Never pull a con for love or a girl. But when his former best friend, Gaby, is in danger of losing the race for Student Council President to the biggest jerk in school, Jackson knows he has to find a way to help.

The Gist: Jackson Greene is not new to cons, heists, and epic pranks, but his last prank, the Mid-Day PDA, caused him to lose his best friend. Gaby had a secret crush on Jackson, and he on her, but when he ‘had to’ kiss another girl for the prank, Gaby refused to talk to him. Not only that, he got caught and wound up in more trouble than he was used to. So he swore off conning for good. But now that he has learned that Keith is running for Student Council President against Gaby and he is planning to take away funding from clubs and organizations that he doesn’t like, Jackson has to come up with something to save the school and hopefully win back Gaby. Jackson assembles his team Ocean’s Eleven style and proposes his plan. The team comes together on election day to pull off the con of the year, but Keith’s father, who has a lot of pull with the school and principal, will do everything he can to ensure that his son wins the election.

Final thoughts: The book starts off with a huge cast of characters all thrown at you at once. There were several times at the beginning where I had to look back and be reminded of who a certain character was. But once I figured it all out and learned more about the characters, the book really started to hook me. There were even a few laugh out loud parts in the book that had me giggling. Students will connect with both Jackson and Gaby, and enjoy trying to figure out just what Jackson will do. I am really curious to see how my students like this book. It is one of the few realistic fiction book choices that I have. ( )
  Paiger1979 | Mar 3, 2015 |
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Jackson Greene has a reputation as a prankster at Maplewood Middle School, but after the last disaster he is trying to go straight--but when it looks like Keith Sinclair may steal the election for school president from Jackson's former best friend Gabriela, he assembles a team to make sure Keith does not succeed.… (more)

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