Monday, May 13, 2013

Book Review: Spy School by Stuart Gibbs (Spy School #1)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great action mystery that will keeps kids of all ages turning pages
Cons: Only a couple characters really developed, but it's hardly worth mentioning.
The Bottom Line:
Dangers of spy school
Make for entertaining read
Can not wait for more

Go to Spy School.  You'll be Glad You Did

A couple years back, I took a recommendation and read the debut novel from Stuart Gibbs.  It may have been aimed at kids, but I loved it.  I’ve kept an eye on him, and snapped up Spy School as soon as it came out.  This is another fun ride for upper elementary aged kids and beyond.

Ben Ripley is your average 12 year old until one January day when he comes home to find a strange man in his house.  The man is Alexander Hale, and he has great news for Ben.  He’s been selected to join the CIA’s spy school for promising youth.  He’ll get to stay on the campus in nearby DC and learn all kinds of cool stuff.  Naturally, Ben agrees.

Unfortunately, Ben’s life is in danger from the moment he walks in the door – literally.  Just like the school he left, this one has bullies, only they are more knowledgeable in ways to harm him.  And he seems to be part of a plot he has no idea about.  Will he make friends and be able to survive?

If I had one complaint about this book, it’s the fact that many of the characters aren’t developed much.  We get to know some superficial things about them, but that’s it.  Then again, very few characters are around long enough to be developed, so it’s not that surprising.  And the target age won’t care at all.  I know I never did at that age.

This is really Ben’s story, and he’s a very real character.  In fact, since the book is told first person, it helps us get to know him.  There is another major character that gets developed as well.  Those two are enough to make anyone root for a good outcome.

The plot was a fun ride.  I had parts of it figured out early, but there were still some twists that took me by surprise.  Yet everything was laid out logically for us.

Then there’s the humor.  I actually found the book funnier as I went further.  I didn't find it a full out comedy, but some bits made me laugh out loud, something that is hard for books to do.

The writing is smooth and easy to read.  I had no trouble with it at all and am sure that the target audience won’t either.

Spy School is another winner from the keyboard of Stuart Gibbs.  I’ve heard a rumor that a sequel is in the works.  I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Yes, there was a sequel.  In fact, there's an entire series, and here's the Spy School series in order.

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