Review by The Mole
James is a troublesome kid. He is clever, hot headed and bored at school. All of this gets him expelled from school and while he is terrified of his mum finding out she dies. James and his step sister, Lauren, are temporarily taken into care before Ron, James' step dad, takes Lauren and leaves James in a children's home. Things are pretty grim for James and he gets in more trouble before waking up and finding himself in a new home, a new school, a new... Where is he?
He has been selected for a possible recruit into Cherub, a highly secret organisation that uses children to spy for the government - because no-one suspects kids of anything more than nosiness and vandalism. Agreeing to join the group James has to face his worst fears and learn many new skills in a ruthless training session designed to make people fail.
Will James survive the training and will he get a mission?
This is one of those books that children really see themselves being a part of and maybe even role-playing. It's compelling, fast action and you can take nothing for granted as the story jumps around.
Written ten years ago, technology has really moved on and while James is obsessed by his playstation it somehow doesn't matter as it's still technology that kids can identify with. There are plenty of characters of ages 10-17 of both genders involved - in fact Amy is his swim teacher and becomes his first mission leader and can knock seven bells out of James in the dojo too - so there has to be a wide age group appeal as well as an appeal to both girls and boys.
Hugely popular and a million selling series, a second series of books is now being written and published in parallel to a reprint of series one. The reprint is being published at a rate of one every six months, so book 2 ("Class A") will be republished in October 2014.
If you're looking for holiday reads for children then this may well be a series for them with everything the young adventure reader could want.
Publisher - Hodder Children's
Genre - Children's(10+), action adventure