Son of the Mob

Son of the Mob

4.4 141
by Gordon Korman

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Seventeen-year-old Vince's life is constantly complicated by the fact that he is the son of a powerful Mafia boss, a relationship that threatens to destroy his romance with the daughter of an FBI agent.  See more details below


Seventeen-year-old Vince's life is constantly complicated by the fact that he is the son of a powerful Mafia boss, a relationship that threatens to destroy his romance with the daughter of an FBI agent.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The Sopranos (minus the vulgarity and violence) meets Leave It to Beaver (minus the "aw-shucks" tone and dated sensibility) in Korman's (No More Dead Dogs) brassy, comical caper. With its razor-sharp dialogue and bullet-fast pace, this tale could fly on either the small or big screen, yet it makes a page-turner of a novel. Korman shapes a believable and likable crew-despite the less than reputable profession of some. Many of the novel's conflicts revolve around the fact that the affable narrator, 17-year-old Vince Luca, refuses to become involved in the family "vending machine business." But of course, since his father is the Mob boss, and his older brother serves as their father's loser lackey, Vince cannot avoid being tainted (e.g., he lands in jail "because my sixteenth-birthday present [a Porsche] turns out to be hot"). Mom turns a deaf ear to the shady goings-on, cooking up a steady storm in the kitchen and willing "to serve a sit-down dinner for fifteen guys at four in the morning with ten minutes advance notice." Things heat up when Vince begins dating-and eventually falls in love with-the daughter of the FBI agent determined to bring down Vince's father. The boy also gets sucked into the maelstrom when he loans money to one of his father's underlings for whom he feels sorry. Funny and unexpectedly affecting, this will grab-and hold onto-even the most reluctant of readers. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Vince Luca is a recognizable modern teenager-fast-talking, unmotivated, and down on what his father does for a living. When one's dad is the leader of organized crime in New York, living an independent life is a challenge. Although Vince is determined to stay completely separate from the family business, it somehow interferes with every aspect of his senior year, from playing football to homework projects. When Vince falls for Kendra, the daughter of the FBI agent gathering evidence against his father, their relationship seems doomed from the start. Several questions keep the reader hooked. Will Kendra find out why Vince avoids meeting her parents? Will their parents catch them together? What happens if her father succeeds? Is there an FBI mole in the Luca operations? Who ordered the shooting of Mr. Luca's rival? What makes the story work is the hip, young voice of the protagonist. Vince is well aware of the absurdity of his situation and has a wonderfully dry sense of humor. His genuine struggle to find his own way in the face of family influences is appealing and grounds the story. Although this book will be most popular with the junior high crowd, older students who appreciate humorous writing will enjoy the clever twist on a Romeo-and-Juliet relationship. The popularity of HBO's The Sopranos should also serve to increase its audience. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2002, Hyperion/Disney, 272p,
— Angela Carstensen
To quote from the review of the audiobook in KLIATT, March 2003: And you think you've got problems? Vince Luca is just an ordinary horny high school guy looking to score with chicks. But when he gets a willing girl as far as the beach, Vince opens the trunk of his car to find not a blanket but the beaten-up body of Jimmy the Rat. This dampens the romantic urge. He takes the girl home and lets Jimmy out of the trunk, advising him to avoid Vince's brother Tommy in the future. See, Tommy is in the family business with "Honest Abe" Luca, one of the biggest mob bosses in the East. Vince hates the whole idea of a life of crime with his "uncles"—Uncle NoNose, Uncle Puke, Uncle Shank. You get the idea. And what is worse, when Vince does meet the perfect girl, she is the daughter of the FBI man who has the Luca house bugged. So Vince has problems: how to keep the girl he loves and keep his dad out of federal prison—and how to keep himself out of the mob. Korman's deft handling of the story line is professional; it should be after more than 30 novels for YAs. The pace is fast, the dialog sassy, and Vince is a winner. KLIATT Codes: S*—Exceptional book, recommended for senior high school students. 2002, Hyperion, 262p., Ages 15 to 18.
—Janet Julian
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Vince Luca, 17, has always been concerned, embarrassed, and fearful about his crime-family background, though he has sworn never to become involved or to let it keep him from upstanding behavior. During his senior year, all he wants is romance, friendship, and to get through school, just like any normal guy, but things don't go as planned. His new girlfriend turns out to be the daughter of the FBI agent who is bugging his house; his older brother has figured out how to use his New Media class Web-page project for a bookmaking scheme; and he decides to save two lowlifes who owe big bucks to his father from the pains of mob revenge. The novel's quick pace and Korman's recognizable, upbeat style balance the contrived and predictable elements that infiltrate the story. Vince is a believable character; there are moments when he realizes that his name gives him power and he has to remind himself that he has chosen a different path. Susan Beth Pfeffer's Most Precious Blood (Bantam, 1991; o.p.) deals with a teenage girl whose father belongs to a crime family, but it is more serious. Readers who perceive the frightening meaning of organized-crime activity will best appreciate the tension and edgy humor that permeate this book, and will cheer when Vince finally stands up to his father.-Diane P. Tuccillo, City of Mesa Library, AZ
Kirkus Reviews
As if life as a high-school senior isn't hard enough, what with sports, SATs, college applications, and girls (or rather, the lack thereof), Vince Luca has to cope with the special complications of his father's involvement in the vending-machine business-the family euphemism for organized crime. Case in point: Vince gets a date with the oh-so-hot Angela O'Bannon, but when he goes to get a make-out blanket from the trunk, he discovers the unconscious body of Jimmy the Rat, who's just been worked over by his older brother. Poor Vince: his family just keeps getting in his way. After the debacle with Angela, Vince begins a real romance with the cute and spunky daughter of the FBI agent who has been assigned to bring the Lucas down; the bugs he has planted in the house force all vending-machine business-and heart-to-heart parent-son conversations-into the basement. Korman (No More Dead Dogs, 2000, etc.) can reliably be counted on to deliver a hilarious story; he delivers in spades here, as Vince desperately tries to hold out as the only legitimate member of the family while at the same time inadvertently getting himself deeper and deeper in the family business when he tries to get Jimmy the Rat off the hook. Maintaining the balance between situational humor and the real violence and ugliness of organized crime is no easy matter, but Korman pulls it off in fine manner, managing to create genuinely sympathetic characters in Vince's family-people who love him and want the best for him, but who can at the same time call out a hit on someone as casually as ordering a pizza. Laced with running gags-the hijacking of Vince's class-project Web site by his brother is priceless-here's a laugh-out-loudaddition to the ranks of dreary teen fiction. (Fiction. YA)

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Product Details

Listening Library, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 6.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Gordon Korman is one of the most popular young adult and middle grade authors writing today. He published his first book at the young age of fourteen and has been going strong ever since. A tireless self-promoter, Gordon is constantly traveling across the country to visit different schools. He and his wife, a teacher, live on Long Island with their three children.

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