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Paperback, Simon & Schuster, 2010, ISBN13 9781442413603, ISBN10 1442413603
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THE RECRUIT  Publishers Weekly,The first book in Muchamore's CHERUB series, a bestselling line in the U.K. since 2004, offers an enjoyable mix of action and teen drama, while avoiding some of the wackiness that can plague teen spy novels. When 11-year-old James is orphaned after his petty criminal mother dies, he comes to the attention of CHERUB, a spy agency that only uses minors as agents, because kids make such unlikely suspects. Much of the novel is standard spy training stuff, including a grueling boot camp (complete with a relentlessly tough and sadistic instructor), bonding sequences with his fellow recruits, and a first mission that goes awry. In this case, that mission involves infiltrating a camp of ex-hippies who are planning to attack oil company executives. If the plot is predictable, Muchamore presents both the spies and the dangers they face realistically, avoiding over-the-top gadgets sand slapstick. Well-fleshed out minor characters-including James's training partner/crush, as well as his sister-help elevate the story above the standard fare. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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