Thursday, February 7

Son of the Mob – Gordon Korman

Vince Luca’s just like any other teen – he’s trying to find his own identity as he navigates his final year of high school. But it’s not that easy when you’re father’s the head of one of the state’s most powerful mob syndicates. His older brother Tommy was only too happy to join the family business, but Vince doesn’t want the “vending machine business” to touch his life at all. Though his father doesn’t really understand, he respects Vince’s decision. That is, until the new girl Vince meets turns out to be the daughter of an FBI agent monitoring the Luca’s home. And when Vince starts to represent a couple of losers who’ve got behind on their vig, he finds himself deeper into the business than he ever imagined.
Vince is a fantastic character many teens will identify with – who hasn’t struggled to forge their own identity, independent of their family’s expectations and limitations? At the heart of this book that is superficially about adolescent rebellion lies a truth about (functional) families – respect, love, trust, faith, even when there’s conflict.
Korman’s books are uniformly great, particularly for reluctant readers, and his male protagonists are appealing to boys who can’t find anything to engage with. The writing style is brisk, the characters well developed and original, and he manages to make the most fantastic scenarios seem plausible. I’ve read everything he’s published, and he just goes from strength to strength. – Alex

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