The Classy Crooks Club
by Alison Cherry
Have I mentioned that I started working part-time at a library nearby? I work in both the Children’s and Adult departments and while it’s my dream job, it is also fostering my addiction of bringing home a ton of books every time I enter a library! And as I love many genres and many age levels, I have been bringing home at least one “juvenile” book a week. This week was The Classy Crooks Club. Oh my goodness . . . it was amazing. I was hooked by the description (not the cover this time . . . I know, incredible!):
“Twelve-year-old AJ dreads spending an entire month living with her strict grandma Jo. . . . But AJ’s dull summer takes a sharp turn when she discovers that her grandmother’s ‘bridge group’ is actually a heist club”
This book was clever, clean, hilarious, and so much fun. Basically the perfect juvenile fiction book. I was very impressed with Cherry’s plot and writing and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this captivating book. Spoilers included: AJ’s parents are scientists spending a month in the Amazon, so AJ is forced to live with her very prim and strict grandmother who doesn’t seem to love AJ at all. But when grandma Jo’s friends, Edna, Cookie and Betty convince her to let AJ help with their heists, she lets AJ into her world. The four grannies “liberate” things for “ethical” reasons, such as a rare bird locked in the attic and only taken out to perform. At first AJ is excited and gets drawn into the hype and rush, especially because she learns how to pick locks and starts getting closer to her grandmother. But when she needs to lie to her best friend and then the grannies want to liberate an item that will hurt a school mate, she decides to back out. However, they make AJ come along so she doesn’t rat them out. Betty drives her and AJ is excited to spend time with her because she feels closer to Betty than to her real grandmother. However, in a huge twist, Betty drives AJ away from the others and drugs her. Her plan being to take AJ to their “own little cabin in the woods.” Saying, “Once we’re alone, we’ll be safe. Won’t that be wonderful? Just the two of us, like it’s supposed to be. We’ll have such a beautiful life together, AJ.” While, AJ feels bad that Betty never had children, she is determined to get away (after she wakes up from being drugged). So using her new skills and her own cleverness, she is able to get untied and convince Betty to stop the car, where she is able to get the keys and Betty’s glasses and run away. AJ gets help, Betty goes to jail, and before long, AJ is able to tell the truth to her best friend, as well continue to strengthen her relationship with her grandmother. It is a very sweet ending.
Summing it up: I highly recommend this book. It was clever, fun, and quite brilliant. I loved it!
All the best, Abbey