Swindle – Review

Gordon Korman. Swindle. Frederick MD: Recorded Books, 2009. Audio CD.

We have enjoyed some other YA books by Gordon Korman. Two have been reviewed here, Ungifted and The Hypnotists. Swindle is actually the first in what has become a series of seven books on the same group of kids. Not only does Swindle have the usual Korman humor, but it is a real page-turner. One crazy break after another keeps the plot going as Griffin Bing organizes a caper with some fellow sixth graders.

Griffin and best friend Ben camp out in the town’s reputed haunted house the night before its scheduled demolition.  Griffin discovers a baseball card hidden in the house that looks old and has Babe Ruth on it. He sells it to the local hobby shop for $150. A few days later, the shop owner, S. Wendell Palomino, boasts that he bought a collection with this card in it and plans to auction it—starting bid six figures. (S. Wendell—Swindle—get it?)

When Griffin realizes that no one would believe a couple of kids, he plans on stealing the card back. Besides Ben, he enlists the help of talented classmates: a dog whisperer, a computer geek, an actor, and a rock climber. When the class bully overhears the plans, they add his muscle.

Of course, “the best laid plans of mice and men oft gang agley.” It seems like every chapter ends with more drama so that it is impossible to stop the story. Lots of laughs with lots of suspense.

Things are further complicated because Mr. Bing has gone into debt designing and patenting a rather superfluous-sounding invention. Griffin believes that getting the card back will solve the family’s financial problems. The Bing house is for sale, and the family plans on moving to a less expensive town, which means that Griffin would be leaving his friends.

Lots of plot twists with mistaken identity and a very clever plan that gets disrupted numerous times for reasons like the card is not where they thought it was and S. Wendell’s near-paranoid security system.

A wild story—lots of fun—Korman does it again.

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