Greetings From Witness Protection
As an avid reader, I devour all books. As a kid, I read just about anything lying around the house from textbooks to novels.
Every book is worth a first-time read, but most aren’t captivating enough for me to come back to. However, I have a few ‘comfort reading’ books. I can read these books repeatedly (sometimes back-to-back) and never get bored.
To be one of my comfort books, the book has to be of the highest quality of writing. I have to connect with the characters and love the plot. Greetings from Witness Protection and the Harry Potter Series are books that make the cut.
If you haven’t read Greetings from Witness Protection, you might think a comparison between it and Harry Potter is outlandish. But both Jake Burt and J.K. Rowling wrote a novel that perfectly weaves together all the elements of a successful story to create a masterpiece. Greetings from Witness Protection is a book, that like Harry Potter, can be loved by both kids and adults.
Jake Burt’s Experience
Good authors often write about what they know best, and Jake Burt fits right into this category. As a fifth-grade teacher who has also taught fourth and sixth grade, he knows a lot about middle schoolers. It makes me smile to think that Burt probably wrote much of this novel from inspiration from his students. Jake Burt perfectly captures the middle school atmosphere and all the stereotypes that seem eternally bound there.
From the school enthusiast to the manipulative drama queen, it seems like Loblolly Middle School (with its cheesy fighting pinecone mascot as the icing on the cake) could be the middle school any kid went to.
Even though Greetings from Witness Protection has nice worldbuilding, and an enthralling plot, at the end of the day, the thing that makes it a tale I can read over and over is the characters.
As a pre-teen/teen, you’re often looking for somewhere to fit in. Someone that gets you since your parents and family no longer seem to.
It’s easy to strike a chord with the characters in Greetings from Witness Protection. They are struggling to do their best and find a place where they can be themselves. It’s hard not to cheer when they succeed because they seem to be so much like you!
Their mistakes, challenges, and how they handle them, truly make the book. This book is perfect for any middle schooler who loves excitement and adventure.
The book centers around 7th grader, Nicki Demere, who is an orphan (and a pickpocket) in the foster care system.
Everything changes when she is approached by U.S. Marshals with an offer to lose her juvie record and court-mandated therapy sessions by blending into a new family and keeping their secret safe.
After providing evidence that frames notorious criminals, the Trevor family is put into the witness protection program. But in this digital age, finding them is still too easy. They need more than just new identities to keep them hidden.
To help them hide, Nicki is assigned a new identity as the Trevor family’s daughter. Since the bad guys are searching for a family with one kid, adding another kid is the marshal’s best bet to keep the Trevor family safe. Plus, adding a streetwise girl like Nicki will make it easier for the Trevors to fit in as they are moving from New York to North Carolina.
Nicki is the perfect girl to join the family. But even she can barely balance the responsibilities of fitting in and keeping the family alive.
Nicki must blend in at a new school and home: which turns out to be more challenging than one would think. To maintain her status, Nicki has to hijack the school election, steal cash and credit cards from mean girls, and fight off a hitman. All while beating the specter of standardized testing and maintaining her marshal-mandated B- average.
After receiving a new identity, Nicki learns things that were only dreams to her before. All her life, she wished for parents who wanted her. And now she is finally joined with a loving mother and father.
Her new life as ‘Charlotte’ is perfect. However, Nicki soon realizes becoming a different person is much more than having a new name. For all the new things she has, no one (not even her new family) knows who she is. This crucial story conflict makes Nicki an engaging and relatable character for pre-teens.
This book sums up the middle school experience (with a little extra excitement, of course). Complete with highs and lows. It artistically weaves a story of love and family that is unique and captivating for any reader, especially middle schoolers.
This is truly an incredible debut book from Jake Burt, and he continues to write. I’m sure that this short list of books is only the beginning of what we’ll see from him. I can’t wait to read more from him.
Other Books by Jake Burt
- The Right Hook of Devin Velma
- The Tornado
- Cleo Porter and the Body Electric
- The Ghoul of Windydown Vale (coming Sept. 2021)
Awards Won by Jake Burt
- Greetings from Witness Protection – 2017 – Starred Review from both Book List and Weekly Publisher
- Cleo Porter and the Body Electric – 2021 – Starred Review School Library Journal
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By: Emeline Haroldsen
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