Spy Camp by Stuart Gibbs

spycamp_stuartgibbsStuart Gibbs wrote Spy Camp as a sequel to his first espionage novel, Spy School.  Ben Ripley, a.k.a. Agent Smokescreen, is no “regular” kid for his age. He is a spy in training for the CIA and spent the last year learning and preparing to be a spy while his friends back home think he is at a dumb science school.  That’s how secretive the CIA is.  Even his parents think that he has a scholarship to this school. However, the school year is over now.  Ben is getting ready to come home for the summer when the principal notifies him that he and all of his other classmates are going to a spy camp.  Ben has never been to camp before.  He is a little nervous, but then he receives a contract from the enemy group, SPYDER, with a death threat.  This reminded me of the song, Camp Granada, by Allan Sherman.  In the song, the young camper details all the horrible circumstances he has to endure.

Ben is put under “extra extra protection” from SPYDER.  Despite these precautions, when his special training starts in the woods, his group is ambushed.  Ben only has his friend Erica, an amazing spy, to help him.  It is very unlikely he will come out of this situation alive.  For he is wanted DEAD OR ALIVE! It was at this point when I remembered the song “Double Agent” by Rush because both Ben and the song lyrics desire to be “anywhere but here”. Ben is scared and feels as though he is useless to solving the problem at hand. To make matters worse, nobody from his family and none of his friends know how dire the state he is in.

I would recommend this book to any young spies out there or anyone who read the first book. A big thumbs up to Stuart Gibbs for Spy Camp.

-Maya S.

Spy Camp is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library

Book Review: Spy Camp by Stuart Gibbs

spy_campHaving recently completed his first semester at spy school, spy-in-training Ben Ripley is planning to enjoy his summer break hanging out with friends at home.  All of this changes, however, when he is informed of a mandatory spy summer camp.  As bad as spy school was, Ben now must face a death threat, an incompetent super spy, and an evil organization seeking nothing other than Ben’s recruitment.  As long forgotten secrets rise and old enemies appear at every corner, Ben must find out who is behind the SPYDER organization and stop them before it’s too late, or pay the ultimate price.

An inspiring sequel to Spy School (see my review), this novel -contains all of the same heart stopping action and witty retorts that we’ve all come to expect from Stuart Gibbs.  Be warned, this book is highly classified and, should it fall into the wrong hands, the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) would have a big problem on their hands.  Most people think that spies live an exciting life of amazing missions, but that’s all tourist stuff.  Real spying is hard work, and this book shows just how hard it can be.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a good mystery from time to time.  It’s always exciting when you can guess the ending before the characters do (I had solved the mystery by chapter 12, see if you can beat that record).  The author makes you believe one thing, then a revelation makes you believe something else, and then finally the author reveals that it was the first thing the whole time.  This is my third Stuart Gibbs novel and this one does not disappoint.

-Evan G, 6th grade

Book Review and Music Pairing: Space Case by Stuart Gibbs

space_case“This is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”  ~Neil Armstrong

Tick-tock.  Fast forward to the future.  Man is now living on the moon.  The human race has made a huge advance in technology.  At Moon Base Alpha, or MBA, as referred to by the lunarnauts, life is very different from home on Earth.  This may sound like a pretty cool place to live but not until you get the scoop from Dash Gibson.  While being one of the most famous kids on Earth for living on the moon, he is bored out of his mind.

He tells his readers that all of those Sci-Fi movies are wrong.  Have you ever seen anybody go to the bathroom in space?  Nope, they never thought about how hard it is to make a toilet that functions in low gravity.  And the food is never fresh and tastes nasty.  But of course, the moonies, or the lunarnauts, as they are called, are not allowed to talk about the horrible conditions they are enduring, for NASA invested a lot of money on this expedition.  For the children living on the moon, it is worse because they don’t have work to do like their scientist parents.  Kids aren’t allowed on the actual surface of the moon, for safety reasons.  So, there isn’t much to do besides attending school and playing video games.  Basically, Dash feels like a sardine trapped in an empty can.

After reading all of this, I thought of the song Time Keeps on Slipping into the Future  (Fly Like an Eagle) by the Steve Miller Band.  Not only because of the futuristic aspect of the song, but also due to the other lyrics, I thought it fit quite well.  When the ‘fly like an eagle’ refrain is sung, I thought of how the advancements in technology soared in the decade(s) that had passed to the time period of this book.  (It was not specified throughout the course of the novel.)

One night, Dash was out of his sleeping pod and in the bathroom–which was very inconveniently placed at the other side of the base with the work offices rather than the dwellings–when he overheard a very exciting conversation. One of the scientists, Dr. Holtz, seemed to be discussing a new discovery over the phone.  Once Dash was finally back in his bed, he could not sleep, in anticipation of information to be released on Dr. Holtz’s discovery scheduled for later that morning.  But, that did not occur.  Apparently, Dr. Holtz stepped out of the air lock, solo, and died.

This sci-fi story is about Dash’s mission to solve the case of Dr. Holtz’s sudden death.  The circumstances seemed suspicious to him.  In addition, he was eager to uncover Dr. Holtz’s discovery.  His death-defying investigations got him in trouble.  As the adults and kids were fighting, however, I was reminded of the song, Bohemian Rhapsody, by Queen.  Of the many parts and styles of this song, the “Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, let me go” snippet struck me, and I made many connections between the song lyrics and the falling action in the book.

I would rate Space Case a 10/10 for its captivating storyline and science fiction aspects.  I consumed this book in a single day!

-Maya S., 7th grade

Book Review: Spy School by Stuart Gibbs

spy_schoolThings are not always what they seem.  This certainly describes the “science school” which is actually an undercover CIA training base.  Ben Ripley, a twelve-year old math prodigy, aka “Smokescreen,” gets an invitation to attend the spy school for the second semester of 6th grade as a mysterious spot opens up and because of his amazing math skills and the strange project linked to him known as “Pinwheel.”  He trains to become a CIA agent for one school semester although he may not live that long.  As if spy school wasn’t hard enough, Ben must survive an assassin, find a mysterious mole, and make sure he looks good while doing it.  However, he’s not alone. He finds friends in other students, Erica AKA “Ice Queen,” Murray AKA “Washout,” Zoe, and Warren.

I recommend this book to fans of Alex Rider, Percy Jackson and Artemis Fowl because of the humor and action.  The way the story is written make you second guess everything as it unfolds in this suspenseful mystery novel.  Be warned, this book is not for the easily frightened or timid population as it contains confidential, top secret government secrets. Buy it at your local bookstore or rent it at your nearest library and you won’t be disappointed. Although, don’t expect any James Bond or anything, spying is a dangerous job, and is only accomplished by the best of the best, the cream of the crop, you get the idea. Spy school has all of the same things as normal school: bullies, boring teachers, bad cafeteria food, and occasionally someone tries to kill you.

This message will self destruct in ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one…

-Evan G., 6th grade