Sons of the 613

Author: Michael Rubens
Pages: 320
Publisher: Clarion Books
Format: Hardcover (ARC)
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Isaac's parents have abandoned him for a trip to Italy in the final days before his bar mitzvah. And even worse, his hotheaded older brother, Josh, has been left in charge. An undefeated wrestler, MMA fighter, and bar brawler, Josh claims to be a "Son of the 613"—a man obedient to the six hundred and thirteen commandments in the Tanakh—and he has the tattoo to prove it. When Josh declares that there is more to becoming a man than memorization, the mad "quest" begins for Isaac. From jumping off cliffs and riding motorcycles, to standing-up to school bullies and surviving the potentially fatal Final Challenge, Josh puts Isaac through a punishing gauntlet that only an older brother could dream up. But when Isaac begins to fall for Josh's girlfriend, Leslie, the challenges escalate from bad to worse in this uproarious coming-of-age comedy.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

My Summary: Isaac and his brother Josh don't exactly see eye-to-eye on a lot of things. Ever since Josh became a "Son of the 613", things have been a little... weird, to say the least. And when their parents decide to go on a last minute trip to Italy - leaving Isaac in the care of his brother just days before his bar mitzvah - things take a turn for the worse. And when Josh notices his brother's feelings for his girlfriend, he decides that Isaac is in need of some 'training' before he can truly be called a man... and Isaac learns just what it means to cross a Son of the 613.

My Thoughts: This book was hilarious. Josh's 'training' of his brother (let's just call it torture for now) was totally reminiscent of Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid. I found myself chuckling just trying to imagine what Josh's next 'lesson' for Isaac would be.

Although the characters were quirky and fun, I had a little bit of trouble relating to the main character - of course, this could be due to the fact that I am not and never have been a thirteen year old boy. So no worries there! (My little brother snagged my copy after I was done with it, and he loved everything about the book. It has received the seal of approval).

I also really liked the way Rubens dealt with religion in this novel. A lot of books lately seem to dance around the idea of their main character having a belief or strong faith, and I feel as if the author handled it really well.

Final Thoughts: I recommend this to any boys (and girls) who enjoy YA. Isaac's story will definitely keep you laughing.

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