Author: Lariviere, Sarah
In the Brooklyn neighborhood of Sunset Park, eleven-year-old Claudeline Feng LeBernardin hopes to take over the "family business" previously run by her mobster grandfather, but first she must try to uncover a local scam artist and salvage her friendship with her best friend and partner in crime, Fingerless Brett.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 186064
Kirkus Reviews (06/15/16)
School Library Journal (07/01/16)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (09/16)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 07/01/2016 Gr 4–7—Claudeline has been raised in a family of gangsters. An 11-year-old girl of French and Chinese descent, growing up in Brooklyn, Claudeline believes she is destined to follow in the footsteps of her criminal grandpa and take over the family business. After all, stealing, lying, and getting in trouble are part of her daily routine. But life becomes complicated as Claudeline mourns the passing of her beloved grandpa Si and struggles to convince her clueless father that she is good for the gang. One day, she sees fliers asking for donations to help a sick girl. Claudeline is immediately suspicious. This is a story about choices and what it means to be good, with a straightforward plot that progresses slowly and builds to an intriguing climax. The humor, quirky characters, and contemporary New York setting, combined with the gangster lore, make this ideal for middle grade readers who enjoy slightly naughty characters with hearts of gold. VERDICT A unique offering with an atypical protagonist; recommended for kids who like mysteries and crime-solving.—Kathia Ibacache, Simi Valley Public Library, CA - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 09/01/2016 The term “hot mess” could have been coined specifically for eleven-year-old Claudeline. Her much-pierced and tattooed dad, considered the family weakling by his own now-deceased Chinese gangster father, is distracted; her steely mom vacillates between stand-offish and downright erratic; and worst of all, best buddy Brett is on hiatus from her drama, actually running away from her with his nose in a book of Chinese philosophy. Claude finds solace hanging with Phil and Rita, the bartender and aspiring screenwriter customer at the restaurant where Mom works. Claude’s sassy mouth and wild stories delight Phil and Rita, but the tales provide thin cover for her inner emotional turmoil and self doubt. Enter Alma Lingonberry, a dying girl who wants to spend the final days of her illness cultivating 10,000 friendships-or at least that’s what the fliers posted around town claim. Although Claude is skeptical, even holding in contempt the grownups who are falling for the probable scam, her email correspondence with Alma provides a new focus. In her pursuit of the truth, Claude reclaims faltering relationships with family and friends and solves a darn good little mystery into the bargain. Catching the rhythm of tall tales, defiance, and introspection that is Claude’s narrative style may take a couple of chapters, but it’s well worth the effort, and untangling the effect Alma Lingonberry has on Claude’s circle leads readers not only to a satisfying conclusion but also to musings on the relationship between fact and truth. EB - Copyright 2016 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 09/15/2016 “You are such a good kid,” a regular at one of Claudeline’s favorite Brooklyn haunts tells her, though Claude doesn’t agree. She’s determined to live up to the reputation of her recently deceased gangster grandfather, even though things aren’t exactly going her way. Her dad isn’t doing such a bang-up job of running Grandpa Si’s business, her mom is distant and secretive, and her best friend, Fingerless Brett (long story), has gotten a little too straitlaced. Then fliers from Alma Lingonberry, a purportedly hospitalized girl looking for friends, begin popping up all over town, and street-smart Claude knows a scam when she sees one. Or does she? The more she e-mails with Alma, the more she doubts her own instincts. The many plot threads and Claude’s family history can be confusing at times, but multiracial Claude heads up a diverse cast of well-formed characters, and the exploration of friendship and family relations is worthwhile. For readers looking for a tough-talking, independent heroine with detective aspirations, this debut is a treat. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.