Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Swindle by Gordon Korman

Sixth grader Griffin Bing (a.k.a. The Man with a Plan) always has a plan. Always. He planned a secret overnight in the condemned Old Rockford House just to stick it to the town council for refusing to hear his plan for developing the Rockford site. While the excursion doesn't go according to plan, an unintended discovery - a George Herman Ruth baseball card with the Babe wearing a Red Sox uniform - is Griffin's hope to save his family from financial troubles.

But after the owner of the memorobilia store cons Griffin into taking $120 for a card he then puts up for auction (starting bid: $200,000), a plan unlike any other is needed. Sure it breaks the law. Sure it breaks many laws. But S. Wendell Palomino (a.k.a. Swindle) knew full well he was cheating Griffin. Sometimes a swindler needs to be swindled.

When the villian is so clearly villianous and the victim is so clearly victim-ous, readers simply can't wait to see Swindle lose all he has obtained dishonestly. Hopefully with plenty of embarassment. And scorn from the community. And for good measure, some babyish crying too.

Griffin develops a plan - two plans, actually - to steal back what's rightfully his, which of course makes it not stealing, even though it involves breaking and entering. Twice. Griffin recruits a diverse group of classmates for their unique abilities - a dog whisperer, a computer whiz, a rock climber, an actor, a best bud, and a thug - and the plan is put into action.

Unfortunately for Griffin, but to the great delight of the reader, his plans don't always go as planned. Twists and turns and spur of the moment decisions make this million dollar swindle a fast, rewarding read.

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