Spy School (paperback)
by Stuart Gibbs
AR Level 5.3, 9 points
I was so excited to read this book, because I’d stalked it in Barnes & Noble for months and months and months. I had a bunch of pictures of the cover in my phone. Did I ever mention that I take pictures of the books that I want to read, and then when I’m feeling unmotivated, I go and buy one of them? Yes, I do that. Part of my nerdiness. So I had been taking pictures of it for months. Then, at the USC Festival of Books, Stuart Gibbs was sitting there at a table, signing books! I was so excited, I bought a bunch of his books. All except for this one, the first in the series. Face palm. Anyway, I ordered it using my Scholastic points and finished it. Short story long.
This is the story of a boy who was hand-selected to attend a special school for future spies, run by the CIA. It turns out it is very poorly run, and Ben wasn’t exactly hand-selected, nor did he qualify. He is an awkward middle school boy who has a crush on a cute girl. He isn’t particularly skilled at anything (except math), but he learns quickly that he has to learn the ropes or fail at being a real spy, his dream job.
What I liked about this book was that it was written comically. We see the CIA as a mysterious, powerful entity. We common folk will probably never deal directly with the CIA or spies in general, but we don’t exactly see them as being goofy, incompetent, or pompous fools. It actually reminded me a lot of a normal school, with powerful people not so powerful, and the students being given a lot less credit than they deserve.
What I didn’t like about this book was that it got a little complicated in parts. I actually lost track of character names. That could have been my fault, but it wasn’t a “can’t put it down” kind of book. Good, but not as engaging as others I’ve read.
Now, I need my niece to finish reading Spy Camp so I can get started on the sequel! There is a third book (Evil Spy School), but it is hardcover, so I’ll wait for it to come out in paperback. There is also another series, and I bought two of those books. I enjoyed meeting Stuart Gibbs, because I liked putting an actual person to the stories I read.
Book 6 of 40 (year 2)