Son of the Mob
By Gordon Korman


Son of the Mob
YA book review by Kimi McDiarmid

Ages 12-16


In a nutshell:
Being the son of a mob boss can sometimes have its advantages, but if you're not cut out for a life of crime, it is mostly inconvenient.

This is a fun story about a high school student who must deal with the usual school, sports, and dating stuff with more than the usual family interference.

It's great for readers who have outgrown Gordon Korman's hilarious MacDonald Hall series or Louis Sachar's Holes and There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom. Son of the Mob won an ALA Best Book for Young Adults Award.


Review:

Okay, even to an adult, the events in this book would be funny. Especially the scene where Vince climbs out the window of a girl's house because her dad is coming home.

Who wants to explain what your father does for a living when your father is a mob boss? Especially when her father is an FBI agent. It's Romeo and Juliet all over again. (Except without the deaths, the iambic pentameter, and the swords).

This is Vince's final year of high school, and he is trying to decide what he wants to do after high school. Along the way, he joins the football team (as a benchwarmer), goes to parties (and gets drinks spilled on him), goes on dates (and finds a body in his trunk), and gets nominated for Homecoming King (against his will).

There is no obvious conflict in this book, just a boy trying to rebel against his father by being a normal, law-abiding citizen.

Teen readers will empathize with Vince's frustration as he tries to balance regular life with his family's life. It's basically a normal life: his mom likes to cook, his dad bugs him about being motivated, and his best friend is girl-crazy.

He wants to stay out of Mob Life, but continues to get drawn in because he wants to help or because people seem to need his help.

Some of them are just taking advantage of the fact that as his father's son, Vince is immune to consequences (other than being yelled at).

When he tries to get these men to fix their problems before his father has something bad happen to them, 3 buildings end up being burned down and Vince's car gets flooded.

You'd definitely have to read the book to keep track of everything that happens to Vince.

The book is amusing without being laugh out loud funny. Unlike Korman's MacDonald Hall series, the situations Vince Luca gets into in Son of The Mob aren't quite as comic. They are kind of improbable, though. What are the odds that your brother will leave a guy in the trunk of your car?

This is one of those books that you enjoy while you're reading it, and afterwards you think about the situations and go "well, that was entirely unrealistic".

Son of the Mob - and its sequel, Son of the Mob 2 - are smooth books that teen readers will enjoy. Among my students, both boys and girls enjoyed this book.

It is better for older youth however: one boy I work with rejected it, despite reading anything else by Gordon Korman that he can get his hands on, when I mentioned that there is kissing in 2 scenes in the book.

Readers who enjoyed Son of Interflux by the same author will enjoy this book and vice versa. (And there is no kissing at all in Son of Interflux).

Read more of Kimi's reviews.

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