Sunday, June 6, 2021

Evil Spy School

Evil Spy School
by Stuart Gibbs
Recommended Ages: 11+

One the first day of his second year at the CIA's Academy of Espionage, 13-year-old trainee spy Ben Ripley blows up the principal's office. Naturally, he is immediately expelled from spy school – even though he has already saved the U.S. intelligence community from two dastardly plots by a chaos-sowing covert organization known as SPYDER. So when SPYDER offers him a free ride at their evil spy school, Ben takes it. It's not that he's thinking about turning evil or anything. It's just that he thinks, or maybe hopes, that his expulsion was a cover for inserting him into the enemy's headquarters.

Evil spy school doesn't look at all like Ben thought it would. It doesn't even look like a school, really. He shares a house in a gated subdivision with two other students – the only two – and is kept so busy doing math problems, trying to improve his marksmanship, and working out at the rec center that he doesn't have time to find out what SPYDER is plotting. He just knows that it's happening soon. And maybe it has something to do with a place on the Jersey shore called Sandy Hook, where Ben's nemesis since his earliest days in the spy game takes the evil spy kids for a day off. By the time Ben realizes that he may have already, unwittingly, given SPYDER the means to carry out a fiendish attack on New York City, it may be too late to stop it.

Like the two books before it, Ben's adventure in Evil Spy School is packed with mystery, suspense, action, and laughs, with just a hint of teen romance and some family drama to round out the entertainment. Ben makes new frenemies whose paths will cross his again, including a video gaming addict named Nefarious Jones (not as bad as he sounds) and a perky, word-coining, gymnastics princess named Ashley, who might be more dangerous than meets the eye. And of course it features many more characters readers will love, hate, or (most likely) chuckle at in a series that consistently earns high marks in Smart Sense of Humor 101.

This is the third "Spy School" book by the author of the "Moon Base Alpha," "Last Musketeer" and "Charlie Thorne" series. The next book on deck is Spy Ski School.

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