Review Blog

May 17 2019

How to rob a bank by Tom Mitchell

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HarperCollins Children's Books, 2019. ISBN: 9780008276508.
(Age: 11 and up) Recommended. Themes: Adolescents, humor, guilt, bank robberies, fires. When I first read the title of this book little alarm bells rang in my head thinking this may not be such a great topic to allow into a teenager's hands. However, the story is more about a young man's need to impress his first love than stealing from a bank. Fifteen-year-old Dylan Thomas is competing with annoying Harry for Beth's affections and giving her a Nepalese candle for her birthday seemed a great idea at the time. But as with many of Dylan's great ideas, his execution never seems to come up to what he's envisaged. The candle smelled awful and trying to get rid of it in a hurry when Beth's mum was on her way to catch him in Beth's bedroom meant throwing it into the bin. Great idea, unless the candle is still alight and causes a house fire.
Things turn from bad to worse when he realizes he has caused such a catastrophe that Beth must move in with her Aunt and go to a different school as the family can't afford the rent for the flat they are forced to live in as a result of the fire. The idea that he could somehow gift Beth the money her family needs gives him the motivation to rob a bank. Watching movies with his dad, who is not opposed to bending the rules when it suits him, has shown him that there are many smart ways out there to get money without having to go into a bank. In desperation to save Beth from her family's' financial woes he decides to try a few out.
Again, his implementation lets him down on several occasions providing the reader with a story that is very entertaining. Dylan is a thinker and is determined to get this right and no unfinished history homework, horrible Saturday job or nasty bank manager is going to stand in his way.
Gabrielle Anderson

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