Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the free review copy of his book – all opinions are my own.
I had so much fun reading this book and would find myself finding ways to sneak in a chapter here and there. Quite impressive for a debut novel, but it is obvious that Jake Burt knows his audience well (he teaches 5th grade). Totally not surprising that the book is already a BEA Editor’s Buzz Pick for 2017!
Nicki Demere is a foster kid who happens to also be a kleptomaniac. After getting sent back from her most recent family, she finds that while her background of crime hasn’t helped her win over families, the US Marshalls might have a need for her to help hide a family of 3 by making them a family of 4.
While on one level this was a completely new take on the witness protection program, it was Charlotte/Nicki’s personality that made it so heartwarming and fun. I will admit that what first sucked me in to her world was Nicki’s love of a good book. She also is full of wit and energy. It takes a lot of courage to be willing to give up your past and try to help out a family who has ratted out the mob.
But as Charlotte, she has taken a vow to try and keep her new family safe. She is supposed to be an average, B-, student who doesn’t stand out in the crowd. Her experience as a foster child makes starting school mid-year relatively easy and she doesn’t let middle-school drama get in her way. While she struggles to be average, she really does save the day when her new family needs her most.
I adored this book. I read it in 3 days and stayed up way too late one night finishing it. I see this being enjoyed by a wide range of readers, my 10 year old daughter included. I appreciated Charlotte’s strength and I really admired the honesty and truth in Brit’s character. Tweens and early teens are dealing with so many different things, this book stayed very true to that while adding WITSEC on top of it. Is there a sequel?