Al Capone does my Homework review

Al Capone does my homework
Al Capone Does My Homework
Author: Gennifer Choldenko
Publisher: Hot Key Books

It’s 1936, and things are on the up for Matthew ‘Moose’ Flanagan and his family. They’re still living on Alcatraz, but his dad’s just been promoted to Associate Warden. Life is good.
But then their apartment burns down, nearly taking their neighbours’ homes with it. It’s easy for everyone to blame Moose’s big sister Natalie, but Moose and his gang of pals are determined to prove her innocent.
But if Natalie didn’t start the fire, who did, and why? Could it be that their old ‘friend’ and America’s most wanted criminal, is up to his old tricks again? Could it be the Al Capone is more dangerous than ever?

My review
Plot: Al Capone does my homework is the second book about Matthew ‘Moose’ Flanagan and the other residents of Alcatraz. Moose’s father has just been promoted to Associate Warden. With the new job Moose realises what a danger his dad is in the cons have devised a list of things that they can gets points for if they achieve them:
spitting on the guard
spitting on a warden
making a shiv
stealing a knife
stabbing a guard
stabbing a warden
death bonus: guard
death bonus: warden
So Moose starts looking out for his dad even more, however he should be looking a bit closer to home. While babysitting his older disabled sister he falls asleep. Suddenly he is awoken by smoke and luckily he is able to persuade his sister to escape before the place burns down. But upon escaping everyone believes that it was Natalie, his sister, who set the fire because half the time most of the people on the island believe she doesn’t know what’s going on so she wouldn’t know if she had done it or not. So Moose and his friends set out to prove Natalie’s innocence and prove once and for all what really happened?

What I liked? Al Capone Does my Homework was a quick, light read that has made me want to learn more about Alcatraz and Al Capone. I didn’t really know very much about either before I read the book and the little insight I have gotten has made me really want to learn more. I don’t know whether it’s because I’m Australia that I don’t really know much about it or not but I think I will head down to my local library tomorrow and look for some books on it.
I also loved the way Moose and his friends were so determined to find out what really happened the night of the fire and prove Natalie’s innocence. Not for one moment did most of them believe that Natalie had lit the fire and they risked getting in to big trouble hiding in places where they shouldn’t be just so they could get some information that may have helped them in their investigation. They really stopped at nothing to prove her innocence and in the end they did and I for one was so happy that they did.

What I didn’t like: It’s not something that I didn’t like, it’s just something I would have liked to have seen more of or explored further. But also in saying that I suppose that in those days they wouldn’t have really know what was going on or had a name for it so couldn’t really have said anything. Anyway I’m getting a little ahead of myself here, the thing that I am talking about is I would have loved to have learnt more about Natalie and her condition. We didn’t really get much information on what she was dealing with and how it was being dealt with besides knowing that someone came every once in a while to try and help with ways to help Natalie with the way she was, and that she was going to a special school.

Favourite character: My favourite character in Al Capone Does My Homework would have to be Natalie. Everyone thinks that she amounts to nothing because she has something slightly wrong with her and won’t look people in the eye when in fact she is actually quite smart, especially with numbers. An example of this is when Moose has the idea to put large sums on his head so that she will start looking people in the eye instead of keeping her eyes down away from theirs. She barely has to glance at the card before she rattles off the answer without a second thought or glance and she is always right.
I also really admire how when her father was in the hospital she wouldn’t stop until she was allowed to go and see him. She even looked the nurse at the front desk of the hospital in the eye so she could find out her father’s room number, which was the first time she had ever looked a stranger in the eyes. She was so brave and I know I let out a little cheer for her when I read this bit and was so proud of her.

Favourite part: Ok my favourite part does contain spoilers and of course features my favourite character Natalie.
But Natalie looked at Donny straight in the peepers. “Alcatraz three hundred and seventeen,’ she says.
What’s she talking about? Nat is up to thirty-two in looking people in the eyes, not three hundred and seventeen.
Then it registers. This is the number of the next convict to arrive on Alcatraz.
‘Gonna be your new prison number,” I tell him.
Donny’s eyes shift. He squirms like his clothes don’t fit so well anymore.
‘Alcatraz three hundred and seventeen,’ Nat repeats.
“will you tell her to shut up?’ Donny says.
But I don’t tell her to shut up. When it comes to numbers, Natalie never makes a mistake.

Rating: 4/5