A girl obtains a magical charm that she and her newfound friends use to fight injustice in the form of a corrupt real-estate tycoon and his unscrupulous and violent cohorts.
Set in Brooklyn, this first-person thriller with fairy-tale and superhero elements begins when Robbie Forester, a seventh-grade girl, aids an old homeless woman and winds up with her small, heart-shaped charm. Though it takes Robbie a while to understand the charm’s power, she soon begins to notice that the charm magically heats up in response to injustice and gives her, and later her friends, special powers. The friends, a multicultural crew who are given traits but for the most part lack souls (except for the stuttering Tut-Tut), form a kind of merry band of thieves, vowing to fight injustice by stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. They zero in on Sheldon Gunn, an avaricious real-estate developer who is raising rents and ejecting tenants from their homes and businesses all over the neighborhood. The suspense kicks hard during the adrenaline-laced final third, though the shifting nature of the power of the charm makes any outcome seem possible.Still, what with Occupy Wall Street and the public’s fury at an economic system gone awry, it’s an apt idea for its moment. (Thriller. 10-14)