Monday, November 19, 2018

GREETINGS FROM WITNESS PROTECTION by Jake Burt


I couldn’t put this book down! Loved the character and the story. Perfect mix of funny and heart-tugging.

Description from Amazon:

The marshals are looking for the perfect girl to join a mother, father, and son on the run from the nation’s most notorious criminals. After all, the bad guys are searching for a family with one kid, not two, and adding a streetwise girl who knows a little something about hiding things may be just what the marshals need.

Nicki swears she can keep the Trevor family safe, but to do so she’ll have to dodge hitmen, cyberbullies, and the specter of standardized testing, all while maintaining her marshal-mandated B-minus average. As she barely balances the responsibilities of her new identity, Nicki learns that the biggest threats to her family’s security might not lurk on the road from New York to North Carolina, but rather in her own past.

Greetings from Witness Protection, written by Jake Burt, was published by Feiwel and Friends in 2017.


Why you want to read this book… 

It’s a story that delivers everything that’s great about family-oriented middle grade novels –the struggles of making friends and fitting at school, dealing with family issues, having a younger sibling and, oh yeah, the tension of hiding from “the bad guys.”  I really enjoyed Nicki’s process of working to maintain her “secret identity” and solve all the problems that came up along the way, like social media. This story was so much fun!

I actually know more about countersurveillance techniques than I do about algebra now.


Opening:

I’m working on making a world. I’ve got the mountains and valleys, an ocean and continents. It’s a slow process, though, since I use only my hands. Well, my hands and a couple of tennis balls.


If you’re a writer… 

This is a wonderful mentor text for studying how to build character. I loved the way we learned more about Nicki as the story went along, her unusual habits that helped to show her emotional side, and her keen sense of observation that helped her so much in solving problems. She has a strong, but loveable personality and a great voice for telling the story. There are also some fun references to other books in this story.

It’s ultimately the flicker of the tiny hallway light coming through my keyhole that forces me into action; someone is definitely out there, definitely sneaking.


If you’re an educator…

Who wouldn’t want to put themselves in Nicki’s place to help save a family from paying the ultimate price? A great read aloud that offers opportunities for discussion about the meaning of family, different kinds of family structure and how to cope with difficult life experiences, with an intriguing premise and lots of humor.

I think sometimes they forget that kids are putting on performances all day, just acting like the people we think we are until, ten years from now, when we figure out who that actually is.


Extras...

I really enjoyed watching Jake Burt’s response to Colby Sharp’s one question where he talks about balancing teaching and writing, and the resilience of fifth graders:





If you’re looking for more to read, check out the list of fabulous middle grade books over at Marvelous Middle Grade Monday on Greg Pattridge's blog.

5 comments:

  1. What an unusual premise for a middle grade tale! I hadn't heard of it before, so thanks for the heads-up.

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  2. I loved this one. Very engaging and fun to read. Thanks for your thoughts and the video.

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  3. Yes, this one sounds really fun. And I agree with Joanne that it's an interesting premise.

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  4. This is a very clever premise for a story -- first time I've seen it. It carries a lot of intrigue and sounds funny. I enjoyed your comments for authors and educators -- it would be a fun story to use in the classroom!

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  5. I read this a while back and enjoyed every bit of it. Thanks for the reminder.

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