Heist School Freshmen
Angelo’s freshman year has not gotten off to an auspicious start. His summer girlfriend dumped him, believing she could do better. The Turnbull twins have returned from juvie and resumed bullying Angelo. And he has a grand total of one friend. It’s gotten so bad that his dad refers him to a suicide prevention line. Then Angelo discovers an old phone in his locker. Combining the information on the phone with an overheard conversation, Angelo deduces that the locker’s previous owner was Calvin James Connor, a drug dealer whose ill-gotten gains weren’t found at the time of his arrest. Angelo decides to recover the money, assembling a crew of classmates with special talents to help him complete the heist. These classmates make a wonderful team, and, though the heist doesn’t quite work out as planned, forge strong friendships in the course of its execution.
Gallauresi has written Heist School Freshman to appeal to teenaged boys. Accordingly, the language is filled with slang, acronyms, and video-game-related jargon. The plot moves slowly—a quarter of the book passes before the characters discover the existence of the money—but the digressions were some of my favorite parts. I enjoyed Angelo’s banter with the girl on the suicide prevention hotline and admired his ingenious solutions to the problems the team encountered. I didn’t expect the ending, and am grateful to the author for the message it sends. There needs to be more books like this one on the market—books with strong character development, a positive message, and hilarious comic interludes. Heist School Freshman won’t be a cross-over book or a summer blockbuster, but it will successfully entertain the target audience and leave the reader waiting for the sequel.
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