I was caught in the middle again. URBAN OUTLAWS has the unlikely premise of five 10-15 year-old orphans roaming the London underground, only surfacing every so often to right the world’s wrongs. The kid in me loved this adventurous story about a band of youngsters taking on some nasty characters. Technology is second hand to these kids and integrated into every one of their missions. They also treat their payoffs like Robin Hood – giving away much of what they steal to those in need.
But the adult in me kept wondering HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN? Where’s the Amber Alert? Are there kids really hiding out under the streets of London? Isn’t there some responsible person who could take these children and put them into loving homes? We may need another telethon… All right… I’ve calmed down. It’s fiction.
Boys and girls wanting to escape into this underground world of bright kids saving the world and living a parent-less life will be grabbing this one off the shelves. It’s smart, fun, and one wild ride from beginning to end. Okay, not quite the end since this is the first in a series.
PUBLICATION DATE:2014 PAGE COUNT: 274
FULL PLOT (From Amazon): Deep beneath the city live five extraordinary kids: world-famous hacker Jack, gadget geek Charlie, free runner Slink, communications chief Obi, and decoy expert Wren. Orphans bonded over their shared sense of justice, the kids have formed the Urban Outlaws, a group dedicated to outsmarting criminals and handing out their stolen money through Random Acts of Kindness (R.A.K.s).
But the kids find themselves in serious trouble when they’re caught in an epic battle to control Proteus, a genius super-computer. Proteus can crack any code in the world-and steal top-secret documents in nanoseconds. It’s down to the Urban Outlaws to use their guile, guts, and skill to destroy the computer, avert world domination . . . and stay alive.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT URBAN OUTLAWS by Peter Jay Black
- There’s a character for every reader. They each have their own unique personalities and skills.
- Although the end is a nice resolution to what happened in the story, the author was sure to leave us with a few questions to set up a sequel. It will leave middle graders begging for more.
- The random acts of kindness are the heart of the book. Made me smile at each life these kids changed.
- Gadgets aren’t something homeless kids usually have a lot of, but this group has a bunch. They had me wanting to try them out for myself.
- I’m always trying to get boys to read, and I have another weapon in that battle.
Deafening shots rang out but it was too late – he leaped onto the ledge of the building and launched himself into nothing but open air.
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.