Friday, December 19, 2014

Swindle by Gordon Korman, 2008

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
After a mean collector named Swindle cons him out of his most valuable baseball card, Griffin Bing must put together a band of misfits to break into Swindle's compound and recapture the card. There are many things standing in their way -- a menacing guard dog, a high-tech security system, a very secret hiding place, and their general inability to drive -- but Griffin and his team are going to get back what's rightfully his . . . even if hijinks ensue. 
(256 pages)


This is a fun book that I first read years ago. Since then both I and my middle school brother have read the rest of the books, more or less in order. I wouldn't call this one of my favorite books from the series, but because it's the first it's definintely fun to see where everything began. This is where the team comes together for the first time: it's their first crazy adventure, and coming back to it there's a bit of nostalgia in the air - or at least to me there is.

This is a Middle Grade series that is a lot of fun. My middle school-aged brother always sucks these books in as fast as I get ahold of them. He isn't obsessed with them or anything, but he likes them enough he'll drop a less interesting read for a day or two to read a new one. I do still get them when they ccome out, for my own reading enjoyment (I was reading them before he was!), but I don't go out of my way to snag a copy of the new books or even remember when there is a new one half the time - they just sort of pop up every now and then, and I check them out to read them.

As for this book in particular, I'm sorry I can't remember more details. I set out to review this almost a year ago after re-reading it, and forgot to actually do the writing part of writing a review. Now I, slightly neurotic, am trying to clear out my draft pile (which right now is filled with "spam-posts" that I started and never finished a long time ago). Some would point out that I could just throw out all those old half-posts by hitting the "delete" button. But nay, that would be cheating!

So here we go. Characters, lets talk about characters. I love Korman's characters. Just, you know, in general. He comes up with the funnest MCs and supporters. The Swindle books really put his talent in the best light as he draws each unique, unrealistic but oh-so-realistic character in the group. There's Logan, the aspiring actor, Savannah the animal lover, Melissa the shy computer genius, Ben the ever present sidekick, and Griffin, known as The Man with the Plan. The villains are interesting if not incredibly three-dimensional. There's the school bully who forces himself in on the plan and of course there's swindle himself who jerked Griffin out of a valuable baseball card that could save his family from having to move away.

If you like Middle Grade books, then check out this series. If you don't have time to read the entire series, then I would recommend starting with some of Korman's other books: this is a very good series, but it gets better as it goes along. If you're looking for good, funny Middle Grade book either for yourself or for a middle schooler you know, Korman is probably the best Middle Grade author I've ever read. If you have read this series and are looking for more books by him, an excellent place to start would be with Ungifted, No More Dead Dogs, or Schooled (the links go to Goodreads). You can read my review of Ungifted here.

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