The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson

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One advantage to the oppressive heat we’ve experienced over the past few days is that I’m reading more. Mother Nature’s “blast furnace” has sent me straight to an air conditioned Starbucks with a heavy book bag. Yesterday I read a novel that’s getting lots of attention and rave reviews: The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson.  I read it straight through in one sitting which is the best way to read this fast paced and entertaining story.  At the end of the novel, Johnson credits the movie Ocean’s 11 as one of his inspirations, and that movie was very much on my mind as I read this “junior” version of a well-designed con game.

At first, I wondered if The Great Greene Heist is a sequel because there are lots of references to Jackson Greene’s (the main character) past exploits: the Blitz at the Fitz and the Mid-Day PDA. But after establishing Jackson’s credentials as a charming Robin Hood-style character, the author introduces the reason that Jackson is planning a new plot with the help of his diverse and talented group of friends. Gaby de la Cruz, the sister of Jackson’s best friend, is running for school president against Keith Sinclair, the class bully. Keith is supported by the school principal who has his own reasons for wanting Keith to win the election. Jackson, who “likes” Gaby and wants justice to be served, calls on his friends who, just like in Ocean’s 11, each have a unique talent to contribute.

Their well-designed plot is impressive and, although unrealistic, I was completely caught up in it and cheering for the inevitable happy ending. This is an awesome book for kids between the ages of 11 and 14 who enjoy humor, adventure, high tech gadgetry, a little romance and allusions to Star Trek – that pretty much includes every 13-year-old I know!

Driving down Rt. 3A in Sandwich the other day, I stopped by Titcomb’s Bookshop.  Most people who travel down the scenic Cape Cod road recognize the colonial man standing in front of the store. Here he is:

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Titcomb’s is not your typical bookshop. They sell both new and old books, along with lots of activities that are perfect for a family spending a couple of weeks on vacation – puzzles and sketchbooks and, as you can see, they even sell Star Wars workbooks.

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Titcomb’s, selected by the International Booksellers Federation as one of 50 unique bookstores in the world, has an interesting story. Here’s the link:

One last thing to share….in another store in Sandwich, this display caught my attention. Kind of funny!

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