Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Action and laughs
Cons: Nothing worth dwelling on
The Bottom Line:
Filled with action, laughs, danger
Fun for all readers
Homework Assignment: Save the President
One of my favorite authors is Stuart Gibbs. Yes, he writes for middle graders. But he writes such delightful books for middle graders that everyone should read them. Spy School Secret Service is his latest, and it’s filled with his usual adventure and laughs.
This series features Ben Riley. Just over a year ago, he was recruited to the CIA’s spy training school. Since then, he’s found himself on some pretty serious missions fighting SPYDER, a top secret evil organization. How top secret is it? Not everyone at the CIA knows they even exist.
Unfortunately, SPYDER just keeps coming back, and the latest chatter is that they are plotting to kill the President of the United States. Cyrus Hale decides that Ben is the perfect person to go undercover and figure out who SPYDER has on the inside of the White House. His cover is that he is the new friend of the President’s son. However, to say the two don’t hit it off is an understatement. And the number of people in the White House is overwhelming. Will Ben be able to narrow the suspects down in time?
This is just the set up for this book. Trust me, from here it shoots off and becomes another wild ride. There are some pretty spectacular action scenes that had me turning pages quickly. All the twists and turns lead us to a completely believable climax. Okay, a believable climax for a world where a twelve-year-old regularly saves the world, but that’s exactly what we are expecting when we pick up this book.
Peppered into this world of action and intrigue are quite a few laughs. I was lucky no one caught me laughing at this book in the break room at work, in fact. There are so many moments that just caught me off guard, and I loved it.
The characters are good. Oh, they could be a little stronger, especially the supporting characters, but they are strong enough to make us care about the outcome of the story. We do get to learn a bit more about Erica Hale, Cyrus’s granddaughter who is a couple years older than Ben. With the emphasis on action, kids will get caught up in the story and travel along with Ben. Heck, as an adult, I do, too, so really, this is worth noting only in passing.
I’m always disappointed when I reach the final page of a Stuart Gibbs novel because I’m not ready to leave the story behind yet. Fans of the Spy School series will feel the same way when they reach the end of Spy School Secret Service. If you haven’t started the series yet, I highly recommend you do. You’ll find yourself waiting anxiously for the next in the series before you know it.
Since one adventure is never enough, be sure to check out the rest of the Spy School series.
This review is part of this week's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.