Parents' Guide to

Al Capone Throws Me a Curve: A Tale from Alcatraz, Book 4

By Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Riveting prison drama returns with focus on family, freedom.

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Gennifer Choldenko makes great use of one of the world's most notorious prisons as an enticing hook for her popular A Tale from Alcatraz series, but the real drama is focused on family and growing up. In Al Capone Throws Me a Curve, Moose chafes at having so much responsibility, but he appreciates how much he's needed: He fills in for an unreliable parent to care for his sister, steps up to handle convicts' chores when they strike, and takes initiative to help his family when someone sets them up for disaster.

Moose's sister with autism remains key to the plot: As Natalie turns 17, her behavior forces her family to stop treating her like a little girl and think more about her future. She's a strong character, and Moose treats her with respect and love. His empathy is the beating heart of this series, from his love for Natalie to his concern for an at-risk inmate and his beloved cat. Growing up can be hard, but here Moose learns that standing up for himself doesn't mean he's on his own.

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