Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Recruit by Robert Muchamore

Premise: CHERUB agents are highly trained, extremely talented--and all under the age of seventeen. For official purposes, these agents do not exist. They are sent out on missions to spy on terrorists, hack into crucial documents, and gather intel on global threats—all without gadgets or weapons. It is an exceptionally dangerous job, but these agents have one crucial advantage: adults never suspect that teens are spying on them. James is the latest CHERUB recruit. He’s a bit of a troublemaker, but he’s also brilliant. And CHERUB needs him. Before he can start in the field he must first survive one hundred grueling days of basic training, where even the toughest recruits don’t make it to the end....(Amazon)

Title: The Recruit
Author: Robert Muchamore
Length: 352 pages
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Series or Stand Alone: First book in the Cherub series
Content appropriate for: Grades 7-10 
 Warning: Some Strong Language                                
                    4.5 stars
Three Adjectives: dangerous, intriguing, page-turner

There are many ways that I could try to describe this book to you. Many of these ways would include using words that were mentioned in this book, which brings me to my first point: Though James (the protagonist)  is 11 years old, I would not recommend this book to a young audience because of the strong language peppered throughout the story. But rather than detracting from the story, the profanity enriches the character building and the believe-ability of the plot. 

Usually when you think about child spies you think about criminal hijinks and light-hearted humor, not broken bones and anthrax.So many stories of children as operatives tend to be "child proofed" so much so that it waters down any of potential of real action and drama. The Recruit is most certainly the exception to this rule. Robert Muchamore creates a much rougher world than most readers would expect.  He successfully walks the fine line between morality and danger when handling the subject of children in potentially deadly situations, and leaves just enough up to chance to keep me turning to page from beginning to end. 

From the bone-crushing agony of basic training to the intense game of espionage, teen readers will not be disappointed with this thriller of a novel. You will definitely want the second book, The Dealer, close at hand after finishing this one.

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