CHERUB is a top-secret branch of British intelligence; only the most senior officials in MI5 (along with the Prime Minister) are aware of its existence. This is because CHERUB agents -- highly-trained, extremely capable spies -- are children. These children are ranked in terms of their achievements by shirt colour, red to black, and one of the most well-respected black shirts is sixteen-year-old James Adams.
James is a fairly likeable boy and makes friends easily. He can come across as quite brash, tending to cause trouble wherever he goes; more often than not, it's this character flaw that helps him infiltrate criminal gangs or families with ease to gather information from the best possible vantage point. But even when undercover and lying about his identity -- not to mention a hundred other details -- he comes across as very honest, something that helps him to gain the trust of almost anyone who isn't also trained in espionage. This was a particularly effective quality when he was young and appeared to be nothing more than an innocent -- if loud and mildly insolent -- child. These days, it's more often his good looks that get him where he wants, and he's not at all reluctant to use this to his advantage and flirt with anything female ... sometimes forgetting that he's supposed to be doing a job and isn't just on the pull.
He often finds himself on the wrong side of adults (and authority), both on and off the CHERUB campus. Sometimes, this is due to an ill-timed remark, or a lack of completed homework: though James is a mathematical genius, fluent in Russian, and fairly skilled at computer hacking, his essay-writing skills and attention span leave a lot to be desired. Anything that requires a lot of thinking is likely to be shunned in favour of video games. He's just as lazy when it comes to physical training, and when he's away from campus (and its compulsory daily runs and sparring sessions), he doesn't put much effort into keeping active and eating healthily. This combined with his natural stocky build means he can become quite unfit after a long mission, landing him a month or so in an emergency fitness regime upon his return.
But the main reason he gets in trouble -- or rather, the reason he gets in the worst of it -- is that he has a terrible temper. If something sets him off, makes him angry, he'll lash out, and not always at the thing or person frustrating him. (He once punched a little red shirt after his girlfriend broke up with him; oddly enough, this is not, in fact, the worst trouble he's been in on campus.) He's gotten a lot better at controlling himself, partly because he's realised that violence isn't always the answer, and partly because of pressure from his more sensible friends -- and from those in charge at CHERUB. After all, the last thing he wants is to get kicked out. CHERUB is the best thing that's ever happened to him, and there's not one thing he'd change about it.
Except maybe to have them recruit more pretty girls.