Review: Al Capone Does My Homework

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Al Capone Does My HomeworkAl Capone Does My Homework by Gennifer Choldenko
Series: Al Capone at Alcatraz #3
Published by Dial BFYR on August 20, 2013
Genres: Historical, Mystery
Pages: 212
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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three-stars

Alcatraz Island in the 1930s isn't the most normal place to grow up, but it's home for Moose Flanagan, his autistic sister, Natalie, and all the families of the guards. When Moose's dad gets promoted to Associate Warden, despite being an unlikely candidate, it's a big deal. But the cons have a point system for targeting prison employees, and his dad is now in serious danger. After a fire starts in the Flanagan's apartment, Natalie is blamed, and Moose bands with the other kids to track down the possible arsonist. Then Moose gets a cryptic note from the notorious Al Capone himself. Is Capone trying to protect Moose's dad too? If Moose can't figure out what Capone's note means, it may be too late.

The last heart-pounding installment in the New York Timesbestselling, Newbery Honor-winning Alcatraz trilogy is not to be missed!

An unsolicited ARC of Al Capone Does My Homework showed up at my house some months back. I’d heard of the series, and I think the first book was even on my to-read list, but it was probably something I never would have gotten to realistically. I mean, I put anything that sounds potentially interesting on my to-read, and there’s no way I can read all of that. After the ARC showed up, I mostly dismissed it, since it was book three in a series I hadn’t started. Then, though, I was looking for audiobooks to listen to and the library had the first two on Overdrive. Well, that changed everything. All of that is to explain both the format change from audio to print and the fact that I’m reviewing the ARC four months after the book came out. But still, it’s a win, right? I mean, I ended up getting to the series and I quite like it, so I say yes.

I’m going to keep this short (and for once I think I won’t just say that and then type on for the usual length of review), as the Al Capone at Alcatraz series is quite consistent in quality and subject matter. If you liked the previous two, you’re sure to enjoy this one as well.

To me, the most interesting element continues to be the relationships, particularly the way anyone interacts with Natalie. Moose still takes care of his autistic older sister Natalie most of the time, but he’s much more understanding than he used to be and also much more convinced that he can help her learn to function more normally. His parents are now much more conservative, afraid to rock the boat, but Moose knows that, with a lot of hard work, she could mix better with society. What they’re working on in Al Capone Does My Homework is getting Natalie to make eye contact with people, particularly during conversations. Throughout all of this, though, I like that Choldenko never shows Natalie as a pathetic figure or wrong. She always holds up the good with the bad.

The mystery didn’t interest me all that much, perhaps because I’m a bit sick of watching everyone on the island mistrust Natalie. She’s been there for three book’s already, so stop assuming she’s evil and/or dangerous. She just thinks about the world differently; get over it. I mean, I get it, but ugh. Plus, I’m not really into mysteries. I am, however, highly entertained by the middle grade romance, which has now turned into a love triangle. Moose has his pick of the ladies his age on Alcatraz. All two of them. This amuses me no end.

I think I preferred the series slightly on audio, but that may just be because I experienced it that way first. This continues to be a fun series, which I recommend for readers who enjoy unusual settings.

Favorite Quote:

“I don’t understand why she can’t fake it.”

“One of the things I like about Natalie is she doesn’t fake anything, Moose.”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

eye contact

3 responses to “Review: Al Capone Does My Homework”

  1. Whitley says:

    “Moose has his pick of the ladies his age on Alcatraz. All two of them. This amuses me no end.”

    LOL, how convenient for him that his love triangle made it onto the island.
    Whitley recently posted…Do you think it is possible for a character to be motivated by the death of a loved one in a truly effective way (if the loved one died before the book started) without fridging said dead character or reducing them to nothing more than a plot device?My Profile

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