July 22, 2013

Spy School - by Stuart Gibbs

Ben, a 12-year-old boy is invited to go to a secret school for spies.  He doesn't really fit in, but by the end of his first year, he has not only proven that he belongs at the school, but has managed to save the school (and the country) from destruction by the enemy, but has become friends with the school's most beautiful (and talented and deadly) girl.  It sounds like a story I've read time and time again, but the author keeps it interesting with a number of twists and turns and some excellent spy-speak.

There are a lot of references to spy agencies, which may prove distracting for readers who are less familiar with that lingo, but which will appeal to fans of James Bond, Alex Rider, and the like.  This is a nice coming-of-age story with an unlikely hero, and it is a tight plot.  We don't get a lot of background or in-depth character description, but that keeps the book short enough to hold the attention of the boy readers, who are clearly the target audience.  However, the most compelling character is definitely Erica, a ninja-like girl who steals the show, and Ben's heart.
For a book that seems a lot like so many others I've read, this still stands out for its quick pace, surprising outcomes, and good writing.

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