Robby Forester and the Outlaws of Sherwood Street, by Peter Abrahams
In this clever little story, Robbie Forester is a Brooklyn Middle Schooler who, after coming in possession of a lost charm bracelet, finds that she begins to experience superpowers- but only periodically, only when there is some justice that need to be righted. Soon these powers (that seem to have a mind of their own) lead her to fleecing the pockets of evil-doers and billionaires alike. Of course Robbie passes on the dough to the needy: Brooklyn residents who are being pushed out by a greedy landlord (who coincidentally is the biggest client of the law firm Robbie’s mother works for).
And let’s talk about the parents- here we have two intelligent and interesting parents. Robbie’s father is a novelist of some acclaim who is hard at work on a new book about…. well he’s not sure what, but it’s sure to be brilliant. Abrams’ references to Robbie’s dad are endearingly funny, partly because Robbie doesn’t know what he’s on about half the time (such as when he explains to her about his experiemental novel told first from the conscious mind, and secondly from the subconscious called On/ Off. Robbie’s mother is also compelling, and believeably portrayed as the more serious grown up facing a real world dilemma of working for a kinda shady law firm.
But what would our Robin Hood be without her Merry Men?
Well, soon after Robbie gets her powers she comes in contact with a few other kids, which, thanks to some literal sparks, she realizes that and they too have magical powers- no doubt due to the mysterious charm bracelet. Together they form the ‘outlaws’ sworn to stop injustice everywhere, and the aforementioned greedy billionaire landlord in particular.
Not to give too much away, but by the end of the story we have four young outlaws in possession of different (if spotty) supernatural powers- a set-up just begging too be turned into a series. In this modern take on the all-too familiar Robin Hood tale, Peter Abrahams creates a truly charming heroine who unexpectedly begins on an adventure of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. So I’m sure we’ll hear more from Abrahams who has proved that his work for Young Readers is just as compelling as their adult counterparts.
Note: I received this book as a giveaway from Shelfawareness