An unnamed teen assassin finds himself torn between a girl and his mission.
Zadoff’s 16-year-old protagonist saw the life of his father ripped away by a close friend when he was 12. Since then, he’s been under the employ of “Mother” and “Father,” the heads of an organization that uses children as hired killers. He’s one of the best: He’s professional and always finishes the job smoothly and cleanly without a mess. The killings all have low levels of blood and gore and usually look like accidents so he can escape the scene without any suspicion. When he’s charged with taking out the mayor of New York City, however, things get complicated—especially when he crushes on the mayor’s daughter, who goes to his school. Zadoff’s chapters are short, staccato and to-the-point, mirroring the narrative voice of his protagonist. His paragraphs rarely run over four lines long. His nameless, tough-as-nails lead character has just the right balance of cunning, heart and conscience to win the respect and admiration of many teen readers, even reluctant ones. The plot speeds along seamlessly with plenty of action and drama, and hairpin turns will keep readers guessing; a twist in the end will have them begging for more.
Fast, furious and fun. (Thriller. 14 & up)