Fifteen-year-old Jack schemes to win the help of a classmate who distrusts him in this first offering for teens from Scottish musician and author David.
A first-class daydreamer, gray-eyed, black-haired, presumably white Jack "The Jackdaw" Dawson is an ideas man. After being caught out for spacing out in class, he has an epiphany about how he and others can avoid this all-too-common predicament. The problem? He needs someone who can design a brilliant app he's dreamed up using a complex coding language, and the only one brainy enough is Elsie “Greensleeves” Green, a girl with a penchant for all things medieval and a serious dislike of Jack. This is the fairly simple premise behind what turns into a no-holds-barred madcap comedy involving an ever expanding cast of characters, as Jack cons one person and the next into his bidding. Jack's an interesting if not always entirely sympathetic character, with enough moral flexibility to think it's OK to sneak someone into a nude portrait-painting session so she may ogle the subject without his knowing. Witty U.K.–flavored phrases—Jack calls his parents' constant bickering the "Regular Madness"—will keep readers laughing, and the quick pacing assures they won't get bogged down with all the twists and turns.
Funny but fluffy, this is an engaging diversion, if not a particularly memorable one. (Fiction. 14-18)