One of my favorite books of all time is Gennifer Chodenko's Newbery honor winner, Al Capone Does My Shirts. For many years I hoped for a sequel, and this year I got it. Al Capone Shines My Shoes is a masterful sequel.
The story picks up where the first one left off, when twelve year old Moose Flannagan asked a favor of one of the most deadly gangsters of all time, Al Capone, who is incarcerated in the prison at Alcatraz where Moose's father is a guard. In the first book, Al helped Moose's autistic sister get into a very prestigious school for the learning impaired--and now he wants payback.
The sequel begins with another note from Al sent to Moose in his laundry: "your turn then we're square." This sets up a series of crazy events for Moose as he tries to keep the note secret, deal with his friends and pay back Capone.
I really loved this book. It was fun to revisit all the characters on the island. The Alcatraz kids look out for each other, and they are something like celebrities in their schools. Everyone wants to meet Capone.
Poor Moose is tortured by his promise to fulfill the favor for Capone and finds a very ingenious way to do so. The nasty Piper is so mean, I wanted to throw the book across the room, but in the end I actually felt sympathy for her.
This sequel is rich, warm and heartfelt with an ending that I didn't see coming. If you loved the first book you will adore this sequel.