Pepe by Robby Charters is a young adult action/suspense story.

The Republic of Cardovia's government was overthrown by General Don Juan Clemente ten years ago leaving the lower class in dire straits. The rich became richer leaving the working class to fend for themselves. On the surface, the new government appears to support their people, but the underclass knows another story. Pepe cleans windshields to get enough money for him and his sister Po. The work is difficult, but what else could a young child do except join a gang, but that has its own problems. While Pepe was cleaning an old Asian man's Atsuko's window the police arrive, but he is saved when Atsuko tells him to get in his car. Later the man tells Pepe to come to him if he has any problems. Things were quiet for a year until Pepe and Po barely escaped from their home, but their grandmother was never found, leaving them homeless.

Atsuko and Rosa Maria, his daughter, have been looking for Pepe ever since the fire, but he is no where to be found. Atsuko goes to visit Carlo Primavera, a friend and high ranking member of the government. Atsuko tries to get him to take another look at what is going on in Cardovia, but Carlo remains loyal to the core. Rosa Maria visits with Raul, Carlo's son, who is into computers and robotics. Atsuko tells Rose Maria they had to go before Raul makes a big discovery. Father Antonio runs a home called Mercy house that takes in street children, and is having difficulties from his superiors who don't agree with the way he runs the home. Pepe knows of Mercy House, but refuses to trust anyone until fate takes a hand and Atsuko comes to the rescue again. Who is Atsuko and how is it that he is always there when Pepe needs him? Who will stand up for the downtrodden of Cardovia?

Mr. Charters has created a futuristic society very much like our own. The class system that separates the well-to-do from the poor is very sad. Raul's father Carlo is like many people who only see what they want until they are forced to see the truth. Pepe may have a difficult life, but he loves his sister very much and tries to take care of her as best as he can. It was scary to see how the children on the streets had to not only fend for themselves, but hide from others who would exploit them. The mystery surrounding Atsuko brings a whole new dimension and excitement to the story line. I was fascinated by how Atsuko seemed to know what was about to happen, but to say anything more would give away the surprise to this story. This is the first book by Mr. Charters I have, read and it won't be the last!

Reviewed by: Teresa