Son of the Mob is my second Korman novel and it couldn't be more different from Schooled. The fact that Schooled hippie Capricorn and Son's mob prince Vince Luca are so fundamentally different, yet so realistic, inspired me to create a new unit. I'd love to teach units where students read a variety of texts written by masters of each aspect of author's craft. For voice, I would definitely choose Gordon Korman.
Vince Luca's father is a criminal kingpin, which means Vince can have anything he wants: fancy cars, pretty girls, tons of money. The family business doesn't appeal to him, so Vince drives a busted Mazda and has no social life. Staying crime-free is a noble goal, but it becomes impossible when he meets Kendra, the daughter of the FBI agent who is investigating Vince's dad.
Korman's version of Romeo and Juliet is pure fun. Both Vince and Kendra are fairly typical; aside from their bizarre circumstances, they could be any teenager on the street. This relatability makes it easier to imagine yourself in Vince's situation, unable to play football because no one wants to tackle you, unable to run for homecoming king because it would draw attention to your family. Korman's gift is that he can take insane situations and make them totally believable.
I thought this book skewed a bit mature for my sixth grade students; it references call girls and hitmen, plus features lots of making out. I was surprised to have two of my students see me reading the book and telling me how much they had loved it. So there you go. It includes nothing that isn't on television at 8:00 and is good enough that fairly quiet boys get excited when I mention there is a sequel. I'll be reading that, and plenty more of Gordon Korman's works.