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Book Club December 2011 – People’s Republic

The second book for December Book Club is


Book: People’s Republic

Series: Cherub, Aramov Trilogy

Author: Robert Muchamore

Genre: Adventure, Crime

Synopsis

Ryan is twelve, just out of basic training and desperate for his first mission. he finally gets the chance and heads to California to befriend Ethan Aramov. Ethan’s mother is estranged from her family, his grandmother is the matriarch of a billion dollar criminal empire. The thing with CHERUB missions is you can’t always plan for every contingency. It becomes more than they originally planned and Ryan is confronted with more than he bargained for.

Fu Ning hates school, rules and getting up in the morning. Still she finds it odd that her adoptive mother turns up at school and drags her out of it. They end up on the run and when she finds out exactly what her father was her life will never be the same again. On the run, working illegally and just trying to survive.

Initial Thoughts

Fans of the CHERUB series may have wondered how the series would survive without James and all the old familiar characters, well I’d have to say it does it very well. These stories have always held elements of dark due simply to the nature of the organisation, children who infiltrate criminal circles of various levels. This is perhaps one of the darkest as it delves into the realm of people smuggling and the illegal sex trade, the latter is not mentioned in explicit detail.

Ryan is a solid replacement for James; tough, trained, and untried, he makes mistakes but has a core of compassion. It will be interesting to see his character develop through this three story arc. Fu Ning is tough and full of attitude, she needs to be to survive what she comes against and if some of those senarios don’t cause you to pause and think for a moment then I will be surprised.

Did I Like It?

This story is tough, even brutal and definitely not for younger readers. Muchamore has delivered a story with gritty realism and terrible truth at it’s core. As always the CHERUB books are full of action and move along at a fair pace. I am a fan of the series and that remains true. This was a solid addition to a series that appeals to even non-readers but I feel I have to add a word of caution – these topics are very real, and may be considered confronting.

 Honestly I think I prefer Ryan to James for reasons I’m not really sure I can put my finger on, probably to do more with the way James treats the girls around him, even though most of them can kick his ass.
Why Choose This?
Well without question these books are huge sellers internationally. I think they are great and as a book seller they are something I recommend all the time. There are people out there who would say these don’t belong on the reality side of the book club equation. I have had people tell me they consider them to be genre fiction. However for me, the fact that they are set solidly in the now puts them into general fiction as opposed to genre fiction. For me the thing that really interests me is how putting these topics into a YA book brings them to the attention of young adults. That is something I will look at later on.
So do you agree that this series and this book is popular fiction or do you think it fits more appropriately into the category of genre fiction?

All These Things I’ve Done

This book was sent to me by the publisher.

By: Gabrielle Zevin

Anya Balanchine hasn’t had the easiest of lives. At 16 she is the one responsible for her family – her brother, her younger sister; their parents are dead and their grandmother is desperately ill, dying. Anya also admits she has bad taste in boys, until Win comes along. Added to all that, is the fact she is the child of an organised crime family. She tries to keep things separate from the ‘family’, until she gets arrested for attempted murder. The new ADA takes a particular interest in Anya’s case and in Anya, he is Win’s father after all and the son of a DA dating the daughter of a crime boss really doesn’t look like a good idea, especially in the long term.

Anya just wants to protect her family and tries to break it off with Win even though she loves him. It turns out there is much more going on than she realises and pulling herself out of the family business may not be the best course of action.

Will she decide for love or loyalty? Whatever chooses will have shattering consequences.

Anya is a refreshing young adult heroine. She is pragmatic instead of romantic, protective even if a little misguided at times. She is the lynchpin of her family and runs her decisions through that lens. Her best friend is a good foil for her and Win an appealing love interest, stubborn and charming. Her immediate family are wonderfully developed, each with an unique style, written in a way that wraps them together even as little things and big things try to pull them apart.

Zevin has done a remarkable job of painting a futuristic prohibition society. (One I would struggle to stay on the right side of the law in, as chocolate is illegal). The way she has put it all together it makes sense. This is a story that reads well, is very entertaining and does a good job at keeping the reader engaged. At a time where there are getting to be a good many futuristic/dystopian titles on the young adult shelves, this one stands out.

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

Published: 1st September 2011

Format: Paperback 352 pages

Categories: Dystopian Crime

ISBN 13: 9780330537896

Purchase: here or use Booktopia logo on side of page

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