Publisher Name
Little Island Books
Age Range
Release Date
May 07, 2024
Financial literacy made fun.

An action-packed and funny story about the rise and fall of a bank set up by school friends.

This is the hilarious story of a group of friends who set up a bank to lend money to their schoolmates. They have no trouble finding customers and before long they are rolling in cash. When they are asked by a pair of supersmart techy sisters to invest in their dating app, it looks like they can’t possibly lose, and soon everyone at school wants to deposit money with them as well. The whole thing starts to unravel all too soon when the app breaks down; an investment involving performing piglets goes down the pan; and the local gangster family takes far too much interest in their doings. As the bank comes crashing down and the money starts to melt away, the young bankers are desperate to rescue their emergency stash – only to find that one of their group has cleverly hidden it in a not-so-clever place.

Editor review

1 review
It seemed like a good idea at the time...
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Luke, who lives in a town in Ireland, is dealing with the disintegrating finances of his family, which leads to problems for him, like having no internet for schoolwork, forcing him to hunker down in the family bathroom and use his neighbor's connection. When his friend Finn shows up at school with a wad of cash, all of the boys in their group are a bit confused, until Finn tells them about his epiphany in the dentist's chair. All of their classmates desperatelyf want to get tickets to the upcoming Boy Wonder contest, but they don't have the ready cash necessary, and their parents are not about to bankroll this particularl endeavor. Finn proposes that he loan money to a select group, and plans to charge a pound in interest every week, with a steeper penalty if the loan isn't paid on time. He needs his friends to help with various aspects of the "business", including recruiting people. The group's first customer is Speedy O'Neill, who owes sixty pounds to the cafeteria, and doesn't want his parents to find out. Since Finn's mother is an estate agent who is lazy with her keys to properties, Finn finds an old butcher shop on the books for a business front. He recruits Emily, on whom Luke has a bit of a crush, to help with the math. They also give a loan to Jo and Lucy, who have developed a software app called "Tagged" that is a matchmaking program, and the group arranges for a cut of the profit. Also on their books is Paddy, who has trained piglets to dance and march, and posts videos about them. He wants liquid assets to pay for a pet hotel to keep them safe! Wanting to expand their business further, and realizing that the football (soccer, in the US) team has a source of income from a stipend for getting uniforms washed, Finn also takes deposits and promises interest. When schoolmate Mucker wants a larger than usual interest loan to buy sample sports equipment from his uncle, he gets his loan when he offers to pay a larger rate of interest. Aside from Emily's bookkeeping, the records are not great, and Luke finds himself storing a lot of the money under his bed. Some of the other funds are stashed in the butcher's shop. For a while, things are going well, but eventually there are problems. Paddy's father hasn't paid off the pigs. The Tagged app is banned at school. Bets for a soccer shoot out might have to be returned when one of the participants is injured. Luke finds himself syphoning off more and more of the money, and when the group needs to have cash at had, they find that some of it has been stolen by Brazilians tourists, and that they can't get into the butcher shop because it's been sold and turned into a nail salon. Will Finn and his associates be able to locate enough of the funds to take care of their debts before closing the business down?

Good Points
I loved that this was told from the point of Finn, who is really secondary to most of the business dealings. We get to experience all of the loans and schemes through his eyes, and see that Finn really has not thought through any of this! Luke, despite his troubles at home, is a pretty good kid, who wants to do the right thing, but also isn't about to go making trouble and questioning the other teens who are involved. His crush on Emily is sweet, and he's a nice, calm foil for the mayhem that is swirling around him.

The language of the book is very colloquial, so some US readers might take a moment to adjust to the Irish vernacular, which includes laundrettes, pounds, Mams, and feckin'. Since there is a lot of action at the beginning as well as a lot of characters that are introduced, going into this story knowing that there might be some unfamiliar vocabulary might be helpful to tween and teens readers.

The draw here is the constant, swirling absurdity that Luke witnesses. There are a group of boys called the "Teletubbies" because of an incident with paint, a boy named Specks who lives out of a farm and rents out both recording studio time and campsites, and a scene where the boys plan on having manicures so that they can distract the new nail salon owners and retrive their savings. While it's all a bit far fetched, none of it seems impossible.

There are a number of books where students have impossible schemes, and it's always fun to read about. Teens trying to behave like adults is always fun to read, and I can see this book being a hit with readers who enjoyed Mitchell's How to Rob a Bank, Johnson's The Great Greene Heist, Schreiber's Con Academy, and Carter's Heist Society.
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