Maks is a young immigrant boy living in New York at the end of the 19th century. To help support his family, he sells newspapers every afternoon. One day a group of thugs tries to steal his money from his papers, but he is saved by a homeless girl with a big stick. The two children become friends, and together they help stop the gang who is harassing the newsies, and solve a mystery concerning Maks' sister.
Avi is a dependable writer. He has written so many books, and they are all pretty good. He did a fair amount of historical research for this one. He describes the conditions in immigrant New York in vivid detail, contrasting it with the opulence of the newly opened Waldorf hotel. He writes the story first person, and employs period appropriate slang and dialect. That could be annoying to some, but it is a another part of the historical setting and worked OK for me. The mystery part of the story is not very complicated, but adds a good impetus to keep the plot moving forward. Over all this is a pretty good choice for kids, boy or girls, who either like historical fiction or have to read a historical fiction book for an assignment. (350 p)