Spy School|Stuart Gibbs
Spy School
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"Combines Alex Rider's espionage skills with a huge dose of the sarcasm of Artemis Fowl." --School Library Journal

Can an undercover nerd become a superstar agent? In the first book in the New York Times bestselling Spy School series, Ben Ripley sure hopes so--and his life may depend on it

Ben Ripley may only be in middle school, but he's already pegged his dream job: CIA or bust. Unfortunately for him, his personality doesn't exactly scream "secret agent." In fact, Ben is so awkward, he can barely get to school and back without a mishap. Because of his innate nerdiness, Ben is not surprised when he is recruited for a magnet school with a focus on science--but he's entirely shocked to discover that the school is actually a front for a junior CIA academy. Could the CIA really want him?


  • ISBN-13: 9781442421820
  • ISBN-10: 1442421827
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
  • Publish Date: March 2012
  • Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.85 pounds
  • Page Count: 304
  • Reading Level: Ages 8-12

A spy kid with a long way to go

It was a typical first day at a new school for Ben Ripley. First, he was dragged out of his house by a James Bond lookalike, and no one was allowed to know where he was going. Then he was shot at as he ran for his life up to the front door. Next, he was met by the most beautiful girl in the world, who saved his life at least twice and sent him to make a call from the emergency radio beacon. Finally, he backed his way into what was certainly a trap, and most likely his sudden death, only to be confronted by the principal of the school, telling Ben he had just scored a D-minus on his first test at Spy School. Wait, that’s not what your first day of school was like?

In Spy School, the new novel by Stuart Gibbs, Ben finds out quickly that this school will be nothing like the boring classes he has taken for most of his life. For example, at the CIA’s top secret Academy of Espionage, classes like Geometry and Social Studies are replaced with Introduction to Self-Preservation and Chemistry 102: Poisons and Explosives. Also, in a regular school, you don’t often find out you were admitted as an unqualified, and extremely expendable, decoy in order to draw out a mole in the operation. Ben really likes the change in coursework; he doesn’t much care for the fact that he was brought there to die!

Spy School pulls together the best of middle grade writing—action, adventure, awkward romance, plot twists and turns, and of course, unrelenting humor. Gibbs does an excellent job of never quite letting you figure out what is going to happen next, and keeping you on your toes. Ben is a perfect bumbling hero—never quite knowing what to do, but somehow getting things done. Perfect for fans of mysteries, humor or Harry Potter (it does take place in a special school for gifted students, after all), Spy School will keep young readers engrossed from cover to cover.