James Choke, a 12 year old boy friend London, has a rather unconventional childhood. his mom ran a shoplifting ring in the city, so he never wanted for anything that could be bought in his life. Emotionally, he longs for the days that his 9 year old sister Lauren’s birth father wasn’t in his life. Her father hates James, pinning him as a troublemaker, and allows his mother/lover to get drunk all the time even encouraging it.
At the start of the book, a girl in James’ class is teasing him about having an overweight mom and he slams her into the way, making her cut her face on a nail by accident. He is suspended from school, but when he runs away from the school to his mom to try to explain himself she is again too drunk to care although she is on prescription drugs. She dies in her sleep as a result of the alcohol on top of the drugs, and now James and his sister are put into foster care.
James meets a friend named Kyle in foster care, but as he is just settling into the new lifestyle Lauren’s birth father comes to adopt her permanently. However, since he is not obligated to take on James in any way, he leaves him in foster care and does not allow him to see his little sister. James struggles with the thought of being banned from seeing his sister, his mother’s death, his stepfather’s cruelty, and his new life as an orphan. He decides to go back to his mom’s house and take all the money from her safe once he cracks the code, hiding it all around his room in the foster home so that his stepfather would only get the obvious bills even if he came to rob him.
He wakes up in a strange place where no one will talk to him, but soon learns that he is in CHERUB. CHERUB is a kid spy organization that allows kids that are orphans and in foster care a chance to have a permanent place to stay and train to be spies for the government. After the events of the past few months, he could not pass up the opportunity, and decides to take the tests so that he will be accepted.
After passing the tests with flying colors, and finding out that Kyle was also an agent that was sent to recruit a kid and chose him after the money trick, he moves into CHERUB headquarters. Before embarking on missions, he must learn to swim, go through basic training, one of the toughest tests an agent must face, and then if he passes both he must go on his first mission.
*SPOILER ALERT!! HIGHLIGHT TO VIEW*
He passes his basic training, making a potential love interest in his teammate Kerry, but then he must go on his first mission to stop hippies that may be planning a terrorist attack on a business meeting with oil companies.
I liked the character growth of James throughout the book, and I really enjoyed the idea of kids being spy (huge spy kids movie fan). Some parts of the book I saw James acting more like a 16 or 17 year old instead of a 12 year old, and I could not tell if it was because of his job or because the author just wrote them too maturely. Also, I felt as if the book crammed a lot into one book, it felt like 2 stories in one, however the size of the book was just a bit over 300 pages long so it did not feel as if I was reading it forever. Altogether, I truly enjoyed this book, and I will be reading/reviewing the rest of the series shortly.
Overall Rating: 4/5