Review by Booklist Review
*Starred Review* Choldenko may throw readers for a curve by adding a fourth volume to her acclaimed A Tale from Alcatraz trilogy, but its quality is as reliable as ever. Now 13, Moose Flanagan is gearing up to start high school, and he and Scout desperately want to make the baseball team; but as freshmen, their odds are slim to none. When Scout scores them a spot on a summer pickup game with some high-schoolers, their chance of being officially added to the team improves but hinges on Moose being able to prove that he knows Al Capone a next-to-impossible task. Further complicating Moose's summer is his assignment to keep an eye on Piper, the warden's cute, trouble-making daughter not to mention watching over Natalie. Choldenko ramps up the drama when rumors that Mr. Flanagan could become the new warden put Nat and Moose in serious danger. This story is really Nat's, who, as a young woman on the autism spectrum, has more obstacles than the average teen to surmount when it comes to spreading her wings. Yet, it's her family that truly struggles to accept that she's capable of more than they believed, and they must learn to let her go. This worthy second ending finishes on a hopeful note that series fans will embrace.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2018 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 5-7-In this fourth book in the series, Moose faces a busy summer. While his sister Natalie is maturing and Alcatraz is in the midst of a Bureau of Prison inspection, Moose is struggling to keep Piper out of trouble and vying to be on the high school baseball team. He evolves from a pushover to an assertive young man, who, after a pivotal scene with Al Capone, tells his father the truth about events and stands up to the captain of the baseball team. Natalie grows up, too, offering keen observations about her mother and herself and demonstrating an increased ability to cope with stressful situations. The other characters are less developed, yet Choldenko creates a believable community of flawed individuals. Choldenko provides photographs and historical context for her fictional account in a detailed afterword. VERDICT A powerful story of love and family that will please fans and newcomers.-Hilary Writt, Sullivan University, Lexington, KY © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review
With high school looming in the fall, Moose is determined to make the varsity baseball team; if he can offer tangible proof that he knows Al Capone, his chances improve dramatically. His older sister, Natalie, whose brain isnt wired like everyone elses, accompanies him to summer practices, where she first falls head over heels for a player, then brings a gun in an effort to impress the captain and secure Mooses spot on the team. True to form (and not without resentment), Moose takes the blame. Meanwhile, a prison strike on Alcatraz places the wardens leadership on shaky ground, and with the supervising board set to visit, rumors swirl that Mooses father could be in line to take over the top post. As both plot strands work toward their resolutions, Moose realizes that his family is more important than baseball. Natalie, in particular, comes into her own in this book; she is growing up, developing her potential, experiencing adolescence, and working toward independence. In this fourth Tale from Alcatraz (Al Capone Does My Shirts and sequels), Choldenko continues to effectively develop the vivid historical setting (explained in greater depth in the back matter) as well as the tightly woven community of guards, family members, and prisoners. jonathan hunt (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Most people's lives (and the best books) have more than one plotline.As in Choldenko's first three books set on Alcatraz Island during the mid-1930s, (Al Capone Does My Shirts, 2004, etc.), Moose, 13, has plenty of issues to handle. Among them are: his 17-year-old autistic sister Natalie's growing awareness of her own sexuality; warden's daughter and perennial thorn-in-his-side Piper's predilection for causing trouble in spite of his best efforts; his passionate hunger to make the high school baseball team; and a prison strike that could spell the death sentence for Fastball, a good-natured prisoner who's up for parole. These conflicts and more threaten to crush Moose under their combined weight as they're deftly recounted in his attractive and always believable first-person narrative. When a guard's ambitious wife lures far-too-trusting Natalie into the prison, the tale goes from suspenseful to desperate as Moose struggles to rescue her. Although the Al Capone books were intended as a trilogy, this welcome fourth volume gives Moose the opportunity to help launch Nat into a hopeful future. Even secondary characters are full of life, inspiring empathy, and the never-demeaning depiction of Natalie's emerging maturity is particularly notable. The primary cast is a white one.It's earnest Moose, always striving to do the right thing, who elevates this tale, like a hard-hit baseball, into the stratosphere. (author's note) (Historical fiction. 10-14)
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.