Black, Peter Jay. Urban Outlaws.
October 7th 2014 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Jack, Obi, Charlie, Slink and Wren are all homeless orphans (for various reasons) who live in a high tech lair in London. They use their computer skills to transfer money from the accounts of wealthy evil doers to worthy charities. They are interested in a mythic computer called Proteus, but when they try to investigate, they bring themselves to the attention of not only the police, but also one of their former targets, Del Sarto. With the help of several adults who admire their work, they are able to escape many close calls and are no doubt onto their next adventure in another book (Yep, Urban Outlaws: Blackout , published June 2nd 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens), since this one ends with London's power grid being infected by a virus.
Strengths: The map of the secret lair made me feel 12-- who wouldn't want a secret lair with no parents? Even the cover shows a lot of action, and there's a lot of hacking and running and evil adults. There's even a more serious story, with trying to find Wren's father, and all of the children dealing with their various losses. A definite purchase for fans of Horowitz's Alex Rider series, but with the added bonus of computers.
Weaknesses: I just couldn't get into this one, because I couldn't get past FIVE homeless children with all of the high tech equipment. I guess that's just proof that I really am NOT 12.