Son of the Mob

Korman, Gordon. (2002). New York: Hyperion. ISBN: 0786807695.

Vince Luca is a nice New York high school kid. His dad is in what calls “the, uh, vending machine business”. Vince wants no part of the mobster life, but it always seems to want a part of him, as when he goes out on a date and finds an unconscious Italian guy in his trunk. Then he meets Kendra Bightly so very romantically when she accidentally infects him with headlice at a frat party, and soon they are in love. That’s nice, except Kendra’s dad is an FBI agent who’s bugging Vince’s house. A complicated plot involving a kitty cat website, a Karaoke machine, and Mafia double-crossing ensures that the course of true love ain’t gonna run smooth. There’s a surprise twist solution to an old mob murder investigation at the end.

Reader’s Annotation
Vince Luca just wants to be a regular teen, but when your dad is the biggest mobster in the New York area, that isn’t easy. Just to complicate the situation, Vince has just fallen in love with Kendra, whose dad, known to Vince’s dad as Agent “Bite Me”.
is an FBI agent who’s bugging the Luca House. Hey, remember what happened to Romeo and Juliet? They were Italian too!

This book is witty, fun, fast-paced and smart. It manages to walk a tiny line between acknowledging the violence of the Mob life and keeping the story in the realm of comedy. Vince’s first-person narration is a great mixture of real emotion and comic effect; the crime subplot, though a little confusing in places, has clever twists and turns.

About the author
Gordon Korman has written more than 50 YA books. He lives on Long Island, like the Corleones.

YA Romance (Genreflecting)

Curriculum Ties

Booktalking Ideas
Is Alex’s behavior realistic?
Discuss Mrs. Luca’ personality
Will Vince stay out of the vending machine business?

Reading Level/Interest Age
Middle school-high school (Genreflecting)

Challenge Issues
Very mild sexual discussion and drinking

Best to gather teen reviews

Be knowledgeable about the book and prepared to discuss it calmly. Provide complaint form per board policy; Other positve reviews available on Amazon:

Why Included?
I was looking for a high interest book for my reluctant-reader boys, and though the dialogue and narrative are seem too complex for many intermediate language-learners, some have enjoyed persevering for the humor and excitement of the plot.

Selection Tools
Best Books Young Adults, YALSA

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