Sunday, October 30, 2016

Book Review: Spy Ski School by Stuart Gibbs (Spy School #4)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great story, fun characters, laughs
Cons: All cons frozen in the snow
The Bottom Line:
Learning how to ski
Balanced with espionage
In delightful read

Join Ben for His First Official CIA Mission - Operation Snow Bunny

As anyone who has discovered the wonderful books of Stuart Gibbs know, when you pick up one of his books, you are in for a great story, fun characters, and a few laughs.  It’s why I can’t wait to read each book of his that comes out.  He’s returned to the field of espionage with Spy Ski School, the fourth tale about Ben Ripley, and it’s another great read.

Ben has been activated for his first official CIA mission, and he’s thrilled.  His mission is to learn how to ski.  Okay, so it’s a bit more complicated than that.  Chinese businessman Leo Shang has been on the CIA’s radar for years, but they have never pegged anything on him.  He’s going to be in Colorado so his daughter Jessica can learn to ski.  Ben’s mission is to befriend Jessica, gain her trust, and use that to learn what her father is up to.

Yes, there will be danger, but Ben is enthused by the assignment.  He’s never been skiing, and he’s never been to Colorado.  His friends from spy school are also going on the mission.  It sounds wonderful.  However, when he arrives, he realizes that Jessica is always surrounded by hulking body guards.  Can he get close to her?  Will he learn what Leo’s plans are in time to stop them?

Now, I should probably point out that Stuart’s books are aimed at middle schoolers.  Ben himself is a teenager attending the top secret CIA school for future spies.  So if you have a kid you are hoping to get hooked on a great read, be sure to pick these books up for them.  However, don’t you dare overlook them for yourself.

See, these books start out with a great story.  Oh, we may know that Leo has some evil plan and Ben will wind up stopping it, but the hows and the whys are enough to pull you in right away and keep you turning pages.  I couldn’t read the book fast enough to learn what was going on.  Furthermore, we meet some fantastic complications along the way that make things even harder for Ben and his fellow spies.  Naturally, we have some very suspenseful action scenes before we reach the nail biting climax.  This is far from a boring read, but this is a spy novel, after all.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Meanwhile, there are the characters.  Fans of the series will be glad to know that the regulars are all here and some of them get more page time than normal, which is a good thing.  We also get some surprising character development before things are over.

I know I can count on Stuart Gibbs’s books to give me some laughs along the way, but this had to be the funniest yet.  The laughs came perfectly from the characters and the situations they were in.  I was laughing all the way through the book, but one line in particular caught me so off guard that I couldn’t stop myself from laughing long and loud.

So no matter what your age, if you are looking for a book that in completely entertaining, drop everything and pick up Spy Ski School.  You’ll be happily turning pages and then looking for more books by Stuart Gibbs to enjoy.

Of course, to fully appreciate everything that happens here, it’s best to read the Spy School series in order.  Trust me, that’s no hardship at all.

This review is part of this week's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.


  1. I too enjoy Stuart Gibbs and his great story telling skills. I can't wait to start reading this one. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Based on your review, I just HAD to order this, Mark! I'm sure I'll love it :-) --kate

  3. I fell in love with this book the moment I got my hands on it, and I'm SUPER glad that you enjoyed the book

  4. Hadn't heard of Stuart Gibbs until a few weeks ago. Now that I am familiar with Spy Ski School, I've been noticing it everywhere. Just call me an ostrich. Thanks for the review.

  5. My hubby would love this one, I think. He is all for skiing and loves mystery. A great combo!