Choldenko, Gennifer. Al Capone Does My Homework
20 August 2013, Dial
ARC from Baker and Taylor
When Moose's father is made assistant warden, it seems like a good thing until Moose discovers the multiple downsides: inmates have a "point system" where injuring a warden gives a lot of points; his sister Natalie is held up to even more scrutiny, and Officer Trixle thinks that HE should have been warden, so is waiting for any opportunity to discredit Moose's father. When the family's apartment has a fire while Moose is watching Natalie, Moose is wracked by guilt and determined to figure out what caused the fire, since he knows that Natalie couldn't have. This doesn't stop busy bodies from calling Natalie's school and getting her kicked out. Soon, Moose has all of his friends helping him investigate, and they also discover a counterfeiting business and a way to get Natalie to look people in the eye, as well as the rather alarming cause of the fire.
Strengths: Lots of research is in evidence-- can't say that many books cover Alcatraz Island during this time period. Good character development, fun ensemble cast, and of course, Al Capone, who still fascinates students.
Weaknesses: They changed all the covers, which always annoys me. This is the last book in the series; couldn't they have stuck with the same format? The first two books in this series are a bit hard to sell, although the teachers seem to like them.