The Cherub series was published in England and is now being released with new covers in the U.S. We have some of these books (the paperbacks released before these new ones) in our school library.
I picked up the new hardcover of Mission 1: The Recruit the other day because I had heard lots of kids (especially boys) had really liked the series.
James Choke is living in London with his Mom, half-sister, and step dad. His step dad is a complete idiot, and while he loves his mom, she's not up to the most good herself. Enormously fat, she stays in their apartment organizing her "people" who work for her stealing electronic goods and such. She changes her cell phone every few days so as not to get caught. She resells the stuff to others. She drinks too much, and James and Lauren often have to take care of themselves.
One day, though, she doesn't wake up from drinking too much, and James' life changes forever. He's separated from Lauren and thrown into a group home. He hangs out with the bad kids and doesn't want to be there forever. Then mysteriously he wakes up in a clean room one morning and has no idea how he got there.
He finds out he is at the Cherub campus. Cherub agents for all practical purposes don't even really exist. They are kids that work with British MI5 agents to help bring down terrorists and criminals. The kids are used in cases where the adult agents would be obvious. No one suspects kids of being spies, so that's when the Cherub agents take over and help out. Before you can become a Cherub agent, however, you must go through a insanely-hard-makes-you-want-to-die-and-cry-for-you-mommy kind of basic training. So, can James make it through training? How hard will these hundred days be? Will he ever see his sister Lauren again? Will he get his first Cherub mission? Read on to find out what the training is like and to follow James on his first Cherub adventure.
I think lots of kids will like this book. I have never read any of the Alex Rider books, but I assume it's a similar feel. Although in these, the agents don't rely on crazy gadgets like in Alex Rider...but it's still adventurous all the same.