(The covers to this series are awesome, artfully incorporating the setting (Alcatraz Island) with period font (1930s).)
Throwback Thursday Review!
I originally read Al Capone Does My Shirts in March 2013 and I just finished Al Capone Shines My Shoes, so look for that review soon. It'll be more detailed than this one. When I finished Al Capone Does My Shirts last year, I gave it 5 stars and didn't write a review on Goodreads. But ya'll, this book really stuck with me! I loved it so much. I'm constantly recommending it to young teens. This trilogy makes a great cross-over for kids transitioning from Juv to YA, as it is still rather light, has a 12-yr-old protagonist, and yet touches on some deeper family and friends relationships than your typical Juv series. The best part? These books literally make me laugh out loud. I'm doing the trilogy on CD, and I sit in traffic laughing to myself making the drivers around me worried. :P
Goodreads has a pretty great teaser/summary for Al Capone Does My Shirts: "Today I moved to a twelve-acre rock covered with cement, topped with bird turd and surrounded by water. I'm not the only kid who lives here. There's my sister, Natalie, except she doesn't count. And there are twenty-three other kids who live on the island because their dads work as guards or cooks or doctors or electricians for the prison, like my dad does. Plus, there are a ton of murderers, rapists, hit men, con men, stickup men, embezzlers, connivers, burglars, kidnappers and maybe even an innocent man or two, though I doubt it. The convicts we have are the kind other prisons don't want. I never knew prisons could be picky, but I guess they can. You get to Alcatraz by being the worst of the worst. Unless you're me. I came here because my mother said I had to."
This book is Alcatraz in the 1930s through the eyes of Moose, a twelve-year-old boy with a fifteen-year-old autistic sister. His dad work in the prison as an electrician. It's the 1930s, so there's no TV or iPads; the kids on the island all play baseball together all the time. On a lucky day, they might catch a "con ball;" a baseball that a convict has accidentally hit over the fence during a pickup game of ball in their yard. On an unlucky day, Moose has to stay home with his sister, who only enjoys counting. She reads books' indexes for fun. Moose is twelve, and he is so sweetly caring of his sister and his parents and his friends... but he's twelve. So while his intentions are always good, sometimes the results are disastrous. Take the plot of this book, for example: sure, it's easy money to take school friends' shirts to run through his laundry (the convicts do the laundry of the residents of the island), but will he get caught? As you read this book, you'll root for Moose and your heart will go out to him and his family. You'll also laugh out loud at some of the situations he gets himself into.
A bonus! Gennifer Choldenko has included a section at the end of the book separating fact from fiction and giving the reader a little more information on Alcatraz.
And finally, I listened to this book on CD. I loved the narration! Kirby Heyborne does a fantastic job bringing Moose to life. He also does distinct voices for each of the characters, which I love.
*I checked out my copy of Al Capone Does My Shirts from my public library.