My review for MMGM, Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, under the Magical Gazebo this week brought me on such a great adventure with The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell.
My favorite things about The Good Thieves was the deep friendships formed by four very unlikely and uniquely talented children in the face of uncertainty and a very daunting task that the main character, Vita, undertakes when she tries to help her grandfather after he’s been cheated out of his castle by a thug. A polio survivor during the 1930s and freshly-arrived in New York, young Vita finds an inner courage to help her aging grandfather.
The friends she makes are very special – part of a circus in town and a pick pocket. Rundell lays out a fun and unexpected plot that knits their lives together and even builds friendship between more sensitive Vita and Silk, who’s been on the streets from a younger age. The story glimpses the poverty and sadness of the era without becoming stuck in it and losing the fun and whimsy of the plot. Rundell is a master at describing the setting and sensory detail in few, but very witty words that had me snickering out loud. And this book passed another unique test, I brought it on a little getaway at a historic hotel and sat in these gorgeous rocking chairs, and just couldn’t put it down. I’m so excited for my young teen to read it soon. I think it’s already disappeared from my desk at home, come to think about it!
Is it a clean read?
Yes. And so very clever, with a wonderful twist at the end – you’ll never see it coming (my thought is that’s the best kind, isn’t it?) and a deep sense of friendship and sticking together which all teens need to learn about.
So my rating is a five stars out of five.
The writing is wonderful, the plot and character development are sublime and the whimsy almost felt like magic at times, even though it wasn’t really. And to have a disabled main character who is strong in so many ways and learned so much from her illness was such a treat. Every child is different in some way and can be encouraged, and well entertained, by Vita’s wonderful adventures.
Do check back here at Thorn & Vine blog on Thursday when I show you my favorite jeweler in Dallas, and some pretty gems these thieves could have gone after if their story was real!
Official book blurb:
From award-winning author Katherine Rundell comes a fast-paced, sharp-turning, and utterly thrilling adventure, one driven at its heart by an extraordinarily powerful evocation of the loyalty and love between a grandfather and his granddaughter.
Fresh off the boat from England, Vita Marlowe has a job to do. Her beloved grandfather Jack has been cheated out of his home and possessions by a notorious conman with Mafia connections. Seeing Jack’s spirit is broken, Vita is desperate to make him happy again, so she devises a plan to outwit his enemies and recover his home. She finds a young pickpocket, working the streets of the city. And, nearby, two boys with highly unusual skills and secrets of their own are about to be pulled into her lawless, death-defying plan.
Katherine Rundell’s fifth novel is a heist as never seen before—the story of a group of children who will do anything to right a wrong.
I received this book as part of a great book box from Owlcrate Jr. It was cleverly packaged with a mask and great big green gem. You can see the unboxing on my Instagram link. I highly also recommend these boxes, they are so clever and unexpected! And wonderful people run the company as well.
Elizabeth Van Tassel writes compelling middle-grade fantasy. She brings her knowledge and expertise in the field of gemology to the page and infuses her love of folklore into modern adventures filled with mystery. A wildfire survivor, Elizabeth also understands the both power of loss and the power of hope. And she’s always on the hunt for a great story. Elizabeth currently resides in the Bay Area with her husband and two sons. She can be found wandering the gardens of Filoli House, enjoying her favorite coffee shops, and engaging with other writers.