Sunday, May 19, 2013

Book Review: Spy Camp by Stuart Gibbs (Spy School #2)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Action and great main characters
Cons: None for me
The Bottom Line:
Summer camp not safe
At least when you are a spy
So join this fun ride

Spy Camp – It’s What Spy Students Do on Their Summer Vacation

Benjamin Ripley’s life was forever changed when he decided to drop out of his regular middle school and attend spy school.  Within days of arriving, he was uncovering a plot by the evil organization SPYDER and fighting off assassins.  The rest of his first semester was boring - well as boring as it can be when you have ninja attacks as pop quizzes, but the action in his life picks up again in the sequel novel – Spy Camp.

Ben is really looking forward to a restful summer with his family and friends, but evil never sleeps so spies never sleep either.  All his fellow students will be at spy camp and Ben is expected to attend as well.  There, they will get hands on survival training in the wilderness.

Then Ben gets a note from SPYDER announcing they will be coming for him.  Looks like his summer vacation will be anything but restful.

Normally in my plot summaries, I try to give a non-spoiler teaser that gives the basic set up for the story.  Here, I haven’t moved beyond chapter one of the book.  Yes, that’s how quickly things get rolling, and it never really lets up from there.  There are surprises, twists, clues, and close calls leading up to an explosive climax.

But the book is not just a plot driven story – the characters are well developed as well.  Actually, let me amend that – the main characters are well developed.  There are three we spend much time with, and I felt we got to know them better than in the first volume.  The rest of the cast is actually largely absent from the book.  They honestly don’t have much time to develop.  They are different enough we can remember who they are, and that’s all that really matters in their case.

And the book is liberally sprinkled with humor.  I laughed a few times at Ben’s reaction to something or his thoughts in the narration.  I even got a grin out of a few of the wild situations he found himself in.  This tone is perfect and really makes the pages fly by even faster.

The target audience is middle grade readers.  Obviously, I’m a year or two (okay fine, decade or two) beyond that.  I can’t see anything in the story tripping up the target audience.  I know as a kid, I would have eaten this book up and been begging for more.

And as an adult, I’m certainly hoping for more books in the series, too.  I certainly think the book leaves things open for at least a third volume.  If so, I can’t wait to see what Ben is up to after he leaves Spy Camp.

Ben does get more adventures.  Here are the Spy School books in order.

This is my entry in this week's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.  Do check out the rest of them.


  1. thanks! this is on my "read" list.... now I'll definitely get going on it.

    1. Glad I could bump it up for you. This is such a fun book. Enjoy.