Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Alison Cherry
The last thing AJ wants to do is spend the summer with her strict, old-fashioned grandmother, but she doesn't have a choice. Things get more interesting for her when she realizes that her grandmother's bridge club is not an ordinary bridge club. Instead they are a heist club, and these ladies could use her smaller, younger self to help them accomplish their goals. At first the capers seem like fun, harmless adventures, but AJ soon realizes that what they are doing is simply thievery and she has to question her ethics and loyalty to family and friends as the stakes get higher and friendships and honesty are harder to maintain in her new life. When some of her choices put her in a dangerous situation she has to use her new skills to get herself out of trouble and move on to better things.
AJ's character is an admirable one, showing someone who is put in a difficult position and struggles to determine and choose what is right and to stand up for it. She's brave, smart, athletic, and not afraid to pick locks or try new things. The book has a great mix of hijinks, adventures, and relationships with friends when things are changing and new friendships are being developed. The unexpected grandmotherly criminals is a fresh, fun idea that will intrigue readers at the beginning, and the heart of the characters and story will keep readers invested. Even with the far-fetched premise, AJ still has to deal with common middle school problems. This eccentric story is silly, unique, and contains something for everyone.