Thursday, January 17, 2013

Al Capone's Birthday: Books about the Mob

It's Al Capone's birthday! He'd be 114 if he were still alive. Capone was a gangster during Prohibition, so check out yesterday's list as many of the books also feature Prohibition-era gangsters. But, for today, here are some teen books about the Mob.


Son of the Mob by Gordon Korman. In Vince's family, private conversations take place in a concrete room in the basement--it's the only place in the house the FBI hasn't bugged. His father's upset that he won't go into the family "vending machine" business. And then, he finds a girl, a girl he likes. A girl who's father is the head of the investigation to bring his father down. A hilarious book, you'll want to read the sequel, Hollywood Hustle.

For Money and Love by Todd Strasser. On Christmas Eve, Kate's boyfriend dumps her when she won't put out and then she returns home to find her mother moving out. In addition to her family falling apart, her mother is the brain's behind the family business. So now, in addition to keeping up her grades and dealing with regular high school drama, she's running the mob. The book ends rather suddenly, so definitely have Stolen Kisses, Secrets, and Lies on hand.

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin. Anya's parents are dead (murdered) and she's defacto guardian of her siblings. But, her extended family wants her to fill her father's shoes as head of their crime family--they're the main supplier of chocolate, an illegal substance in this futuristic world. Accused of poisoning the supply, Anya has to clear her name and figure out her relationship with Win, the DA's son. The sequel, Because It Is My Blood is out now.


Tunnel Vision by Susan Shaw. When Liza's mother is murdered, it turns out that Liza was the target. Unsure of why someone wants her dead so very badly, she and her father join the witness protection program, but that's not going to stop these people.

I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier. In this psychological thriller, Adam recounts his life to a psychologist, but only remembers or tells parts of it. Many parts are hazy, due to Adam's family constantly being on the run as part of a Witness Protection-like program.

A Kid from Southie by John "Red" Shea and Michael Harmon. Aiden's father is long gone and his mother can't keep a job long enough to make ends meet. He thinks he's found a way to help his family when he joins the Irish mob, but soon learns that once you're in, there's no going back. Based on Shea's life story, older readers might enjoy his biography, Rat Bastards: The South Boston Irish Mobster Who Took the Rap When Everyone Else Ran.


Arcadia Awakens by Kai Meyer, translated from the German by Anthea Bell. Rosa has gone to her family's homeland of Sicily, where she quickly learns some dark family secrets. They're a mob family, the guy she likes is in a rival family, and everything's about to take a paranormal and mythological twist. A different take on two classic types of story, it's the first in a trilogy. The second installment, Arcadia Burns, is out next month.

Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn. Violet's father is an artist with a client in Kyoto, so that's where she's spending the summer. However, once there, her father's client is robbed by the Yakuza, and they didn't get everything they wanted. Until the Yamada's can produce what the Yakuza wants, everyone's in danger. Violet's boring summer just got a lot more interesting as she tries to solve the mystery.

Samurai Girl: The Book of the Sword by Carrie Asai. The only survivor of a deadly plane crash, Heaven was adopted by a wealthy family. But when people get murdered at her wedding, Heaven comes to face some hard facts about her mob father and runs away. The only way she'll survive is if she has the skills to fight for her life. The first in a series, the next one is The Book of the Shadow.

What are your favorite mob stories?

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