Nicki Demere is an orphan and a pickpocket. She also happens to be the U.S. Marshals’ best bet to keep a family alive. . . .
The marshals are looking for the perfect girl to join a mother, father, and son on the run from the nation’s most notorious criminals. After all, the bad guys are searching for a family with one kid, not two, and adding a streetwise girl who knows a little something about hiding things may be just what the marshals need.
Nicki swears she can keep the Trevor family safe, but to do so she’ll have to dodge hitmen, cyberbullies, and the specter of standardized testing, all while maintaining her marshal-mandated B-minus average. As she barely balances the responsibilities of her new identity, Nicki learns that the biggest threats to her family’s security might not lurk on the road from New York to North Carolina, but rather in her own past.
Jake Burt's debut middle-grade novel Greetings from Witness Protection! is as funny as it is poignant.
The biggest complaint that readers may have about Burt's debut novel is that it ends. Sassy, snarky Nicki Demere a 13-year-old foster kid with a big heart and the quick hands of a seasoned thief is commissioned by the U.S. marshals to join a family in the Witness Protection Program that is hiding from one of the deadliest crime organizations in the country. As daughter Charlotte, she'll help them fly under the radar in North Carolina. Nicki/Charlotte is caustically charming ("I wondered how much pressure you could lift off new kids at a school if they could say Sorry, I'd try harder, but the U.S. government ordered me not to be that cool' "), and despite her propensity to pick people's pockets when she's nervous, her eagerness to love (and be loved) and her unabashed bluntness make her endearing from page one. Burt nimbly balances the very real danger the family is in with new family/new town hijinks that keep the story light; Charlotte's banter with her new "brother" is spot-on funny, and the nail-biter of a climax doesn't disappoint. Ages 10 14.