Synopses & Reviews
Jackson Greene swears he's given up scheming. Then school bully Keith Sinclair announces he's running for Student Council president, against Jackson's former friend Gaby de la Cruz. Gaby wants Jackson to stay out of it -- but he knows Keith has "connections" to the principal, which could win him the presidency no matter the vote count.
So Jackson assembles a crack team: Hashemi Larijani, tech genius. Victor Cho, bankroll. Megan Feldman, science goddess. Charlie de la Cruz, reporter. Together they devise a plan that will take down Keith, win Gaby's respect, and make sure the election is done right. If they can pull it off, it will be remembered as the school's greatest con ever -- one worthy of the name THE GREAT GREENE HEIST.
"Jackson Greene, 13, has exhibited 'four months of model behavior,' an amazing feat considering that he naturally tends toward scheming, pranking, and dreaming (it runs in the family). After a kissing incident that's been dubbed 'Mid-Day PDA,' Jackson's friend Gabriela de la Cruz isn't speaking to him. Now Gaby's friends have nominated her for school president, and conniving classmate Keith Sinclair is determined to win the election by any means necessary. Without a second thought, Jackson rounds up computer whiz Hashemi, Gaby's newspaper editor brother Charlie, and several others in an attempt to revive his friendship (and maybe more?) with Gaby and save school clubs that could be cut if Keith is elected. Johnson (Saving Maddie) delivers an exciting Ocean's Eleven style caper for the middle-school crowd, with third-person narration jumping between the various plotters, who concoct an impressive seven schemes in less than three weeks. While in the big picture, the stakes are low, it's easy to get swept up in the exploits of Johnson's entertaining and diverse crew. Ages 10 14. Agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Praise for MY LIFE AS A RHOMBUS
“...Realistic and nuanced.” – KLIATT
“...there's wry humor here, and the sometimes raw dialogue is well done. What's most interesting, though, is the way Rhonda tries to get beyond her past as she channels her anger and pain into numbers and theorems.” – Booklist
"My Life as a Rhombus is a sensitive and powerful friendship story about two very different girls who connect over the toughest decision either of them will ever make. In his YA debut, author Varian Johnson offers a realistic, heartfelt, and thoughtful take on unplanned teen pregnancy from the perspective of a young math whiz trying to reconcile her future and past." -- Cynthia Leitich Smith, author of Tantalize
Praise for SAVING MADDIE
"Johnson avoids heavy-handed messages with nuanced characters and a realistic treatment of Joshua and Maddie's complex relationship."-- Kirkus
"[A] sincere story...the questions Josh weighs about morality, God, and desire feel wholly genuine." -- Publishers Weekly
"Joshua's confusion about how narrow his path must be…keeps readers turning pages. And the kissing doesn't hurt, either." -- Booklist
"...lively and endearing..." -- School Library Journal
"Varian Johnson has created a cast of multi-dimensional characters which young adult readers will relate to in Saving Maddie. This tale leads its readers through the apprehensions and anxieties of young relationships, and asks the question of whether the 'lost' can be 'saved.'"-- Sacramento Book Review
"A political heist page-turner set in middle school? Is that even possible? Varian Johnson shows us how it's done." - Gordon Korman, author of SWINDLE
About the Author
Varian Johnson is the author of three novels for young adults, including MY LIFE AS A RHOMBUS and SAVING MADDIE. He lives with his wife and daughter near Austin, Texas, where he designs bridges as a civil engineer. Please visit his website at www.varianjohnson.com or follow him on Twitter at @varianjohnson.