Available Copies: Downtown Youth, Downtown Youth Ref., Traverwood Youth
A twelve-year-old boy named Moose moves to Alcatraz Island in 1935 when guards' families were housed there, and has to contend with his extraordinary new environment in addition to life with his autistic sister.
Even though this is the first in a trilogy, we read it last. It was somewhat strange to finish a trilogy by reading the first book - we listened to #2 as a BOCD a few years ago, and read #3 a few months before this. Getting introduced to characters we already know is a bit repetitive but also strangely revealing -- especially the Moose:Piper relationship. Some people criticize this for weak character development, especially in regards to Moose. I didn't feel that way, but perhaps it's because I had already seen how all the kids (and parents) fit to the larger 3 book arc. Moose especially grows into his multi-faceted character as shown in this tale. I did feel that this story was a bit flat compared to the others, so maybe I would have shared that criticism if I'd started with this.
Honestly, at first I didn't want to read this book at all. But then, my teacher recommended it to me and so then I gave it a try. I pretty much fell in love after the first paragraph or two. I couldn't put it down and all I did was kept reading, It's really well written and if you enjoyed the first one, then I would highly recommend the second book.
My son read this book when he was 8 and loved it. Interesting story and characters, including the titular Al Capone. It inspired him to read more about Al Capone and about the history of Alcatraz. Now he wants to go to San Francisco to see the real thing. The second book is good too.