Despite being knee-deep in all things 6th grade, Jack and I discovered a most excellent group of novels with an absolutely unputdownable quality: Robert Muchamore’s CHERUB series.
Muchamore’s books hit on the trifecta of tween interests: spies, international mystery, and, um, adolescent drama. Think of it as James Bond without all the double entendres.
The British Security Service maintains a special branch, known as CHERUB, which only employs highly intelligent youth (who also happen to be orphans)–all of whom must first, of course, undergo some unbelievably creative training before being sent out on intense, could-be-plucked-from-real-life cases (think gang warfare, arms races, and drug trafficking). The CHERUB books bump up against some gritty situations, but, to be honest, the subject matter is no worse than the evening news; however, Muchamore himself notes that more explicit plotlines begin showing up in book 8 (Mad Dogs) and thereafter.
Muchamore is a prolific writer; the original series contains 17 books (!!), with the final book due to be released in June, 2016. He has also written a prequel, the Henderson’s Boys series, which backtracks to CHERUB’s beginnings in WWII and contains 7 more incredible books. Lastly, the Aramov series follows the trials of a different set of characters within the CHERUB organization. We can’t get enough of these stories! By deftly weaving historical fiction with plots containing contemporary issues, the CHERUB series is a slam dunk! We highly recommend Muchamore’s work to anyone with an interest in suspense, global awareness, the power and capability of young people, and–of course–sneaky spying!
The CHERUB series by Robert Muchamore
Laura: 8 (I tend to grow weary after about the 3rd time down the espionage path, but please don’t let that discourage you from leading your YA reader to these novels…)
First published in 2004, some installments in the series are more difficult to track down than others.
The CHERUB Series:
Class A (titled The Dealer in the U.S.)
Mad Dogs (please note: this is Book 8 of the series, and things get a little grittier from here on out, making Books 8 through 12 more appropriate for more mature (13+) readers…)
The Henderson’s Boys Series:
The Aramov Series: