Book Review! Loot: How to Steal A Fortune by Jude Watson

Many middle grade readers know Jude Watson from the 39 Clues books she’s written. I am a HUGE fan of the many Star Wars books she’s authored too. Ms. Watson has a distinctive writing style and is one of my favorite MG authors. When I saw she was writing a new MG book, I had to get my hands on it!

Today is the release day for the new book! WOO!

lootLoot: How to Steal A Fortune

By Jude Watson

266 pages – ages 8+

Published by Scholastic Press on June 24, 2014

March McQuin was shocked. Right before his eyes, his own father had fallen off a roof, and was dying. Of course, some would say the man deserved it, as his dad was Alfie McQuin, infamous burglar, and March was his lesser known partner-in-crime. His dad handed him a strange stone, and gave him these final words – “Find jewels”. When March is at the airport being sent to an orphanage (his mother had passed away when he was young), he meets Jules McQuin (his long-lost sister that he didn’t know he had) who was going to the orphanage with him. They soon realize that the orphanage is not much better than a prison. At the orphanage they meet Darius and Izzy, who also hate the place, and they all break out. March realizes the stone his dad gave him as he was dying is much more than it seems and the jewels he told him to find was really Jules his sister. Soon the gang of kids find themselves not only evading the juvenile authorities but also going on a crime spree to “recover” more of the strange stones. The original owner (the one who March’s dad stole the stones from) offered the kids 7 million dollars for the return of all the stones. Sounds simple? Not really. The kids have to compete with an old associate of Alfie’s, a detective turned TV Show-Host, and time.  The McQuins and friends have their work cut out for them.

This. Was. An. AWESOME BOOK!!! Ms. Watson has written an amazing, thrilling, and completely action-packed book that kept me on the edge of my seat at all times. Gordon Korman (on the back of the book) wrote that is has “more twists than a pretzel factory” and he is totally right – in a good way! Ms. Watson has a way of drawing you in, and not letting you go until that final period. Just when I thought I had things figured out, the story took another turn. I loved that I never really knew who to trust in the plot. March is a great character and not even a bad guy (for the son of a thief). He hurts no one, and makes theft an art- form. The book is appropriate for all ages but the scene where Alfie dies may be a bit much for some young kids (nothing too graphic). The first ten pages of the story had me wondering. They were a bit slower than I am used to with Ms. Watson’s books, but then **BAM** she grabs you by the nose and doesn’t let it out of the book until the end. After I got done reading the book, I realized how much of the story was set up in those first ten pages. Ms. Watson is a masterful author.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Categories: Age 9+

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66 replies

  1. How could I NOT want to read it after this glowing review?

  2. That book really DOES sound action-packed, E. Jules wasn’t the same as Jewels, just like me! Get it? Cupcake isn’t the same as cupcake.

    Love and licks,
    Cupcake (the dog, not the dessert)

  3. Well, I love pretzels! I’ll have to check this one out!

  4. “she grabs you by the nose and doesn’t let it out of the book until the end”

    Wow. I have not read any of Ms. Watson’s books but I will now. This sounds amazing. When you say you were on the edge of your seat I didn’t think much of it–you are on the edge of that chair more that anyone I know. But to be pulled by your nose and slammed into the book, having to wear that thing around house and town until the final twist freed you! Well, THAT made me realize this story just maybe, quite possibly, might be an okay book and I should read it.

    Thanks for the overly enthused review. I love those reviews from you. Nice job reeling us in. You are becoming quite the writer. Please enter me for the giveaway. What no giveaway of this book? Awwww! 🙂

  5. Well, it is a shame you didn’t like this book. (sarcasm). Thanks for the first ten-page warning. Those pages sometimes are where Neighbor Girl loses interest in a book. Great review!
    ~Cool Mom

    • OOOh!!! You have a Sarcasm key! Which key is it? Oh – wait – I found it! ~*~sarcasm~*~ 😉 I think you guys would like it! 🙂 Those ten-pages aren’t bad, they just made me unsure of the rest of the book.

  6. My son always loves this author too (I had no idea she was a woman! Thanks! I am sure my son knew that but I did not!)

  7. Wow, Erik, talk about a hard sell! This review doesn’t just glow—it BLAZES! 😀 For some reason THE WESTING GAME came to mind, so if it’s anything like that, it’s got to be great!

  8. My wife has gone nuts for The 39 Clues. I better let her know that his book exists.

  9. So glad you likes this! I also reviewed Loot for the blog and while it wasn’t a favorite ( I can it 3 stars), it definitely has a cure concept.

  10. Somehow the book cover and the premise reminded me of Frank Cottrell Boyce’s Millions. Have you read that one yet?

  11. I realize this is an old post, but I just started Loot and was curious…did you find the details of March’s father’s apparent suicide in the first chapter troubling – especially since this book is aimed at middle graders?

    I know books often deal with troubling topics, but I believe this was too much for an 8-9 year old.

    What were your thoughts?

    • Hi Ms. Allred, the publisher rates the book at 8+ years. I did put in my review that some younger kids would not be good with the Alphie death scene. (I read the death as an accident at first, not as a suicide – later you learn he was pushed). I doubt my parents would have let me read the book when I was 8, but I also know a lot of kids younger than me that read the Hunger Games (which I have not read). So I guess it is up to parents. When I read bad language or disturbing things (like Alphie’s death) I try to remember to put it in the review so that parents/librarians will know about it. I’d have rated this book at fifth grade+ (10+) maybe I should add a publishers recommended age and an Erik’s recommended age. I can also tell you that, that scene is the only thing I picked out that was disturbing in the book, but grown ups may think differently.

      • I didn’t finish the book, so I wondered if I would have later found out that he was pushed or fell. I also wonder if anyone else read that scene the way I did.

        I too hear of kids who read Hunger Games, Twilight, and other books with advanced topics – even some of the later Harry Potter books are really dark. It’s interesting how differently we all make our choices on where to draw the line, isn’t it. Some things that bother others may not bother me, and visa versa.

        Thanks for your further thoughts. 🙂

  12. I just finished the book….. OMG one of the best books ever!

  13. BEST BOOK EVER!!!!!😆

  14. Best book I’ve ever read

  15. How would you describe March

  16. this book is so awesome it is right up their with two of my pursonal favorites wonder and sarafina and the black clock i would read this a lot and by your own copy because i know i will be reading it some more!

  17. I read this book and is amazing shout out to Jude!!!!!!

  18. What would you say the theme is?

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