I was recently making up a reading list for a teen when I came across Son of the Mob by Gordon Korman. If you haven’t ever explored the Young Adult section at the library, you’re missing out. It’s loaded with well-written books ranging from fun and frothy to so serious you need a box of tissues at hand when you read them.
Vince is seventeen and, as if that doesn’t make life difficult enough, the son of a powerful Mafia boss. He does everything he can to stay out of the “family business.” But that becomes increasingly difficult, like when he finds someone in the trunk of his car when out on a date. To complicate matters, he starts falling for the daughter of an FBI agent.
This story has hints of Romeo and Juliet, but without all of the angst. Vince’s plights are full of hilarity and the side characters are delightful. Vince’s mom tries to maintain a happy, healthy home while cleaning up bullet wounds and ignoring the constant wire tapping of their lives. The men that “work” with Vince’s dad are full of fascinating and unexpected traits. Vince himself is funny, but also realistic. He struggles to form his own identity while facing decisions about both the challenges and priveleges that come from being the son of a Mafia boss. This is a great story about a young man trying to do the right thing when he’s not quite sure what that may be.