Author: James Ponti
Release Date: March 10, 2020
After discovering James Ponti’s Framed series (which I loved) I was excited to discover his first book in his new series City Spies. Action packed with smart characters with a sense of humour, kids are going to want to know how they can join the ranks and become one of the City Spies.
From the opening chapter, readers meet Sara who is currently talking to a lawyer as she is heading into court for hacking into the juvenile system to report her foster parents. When her public defender lawyer is interrupted by a smartly dressed lawyer saying he has been replaced, Sara is baffled. Even more baffled when after the public defender leaves the new lawyer asks her to hack into the system again!. Not sure what is going on, the lawyer using a fake name asks her to trust him. The next thing she knows he has convinced the judge to relinquish her into his custody and she is being whisked off to Scotland to train as a young spy – that is if she can pass the tests and be an asset on the team.
Upon arrival in Scotland, she meets four other young tweens/teenagers who go by their names from where they are from around the world (Rio, Sydney, Paris, Kat (Katmandhu). Sara will now be known as Brooklyn and the fake lawyer who recruited her is a master spy known as Mother. Under the guise of a local weather observation station, the group is part of a clandestine operation of MI6 and Brooklyn has been recruited quickly because of her hacking skills as a mission was already in place when their hacker left the team to join another local team. Their mission is to infiltrate a local global environmental summit and prevent The Purple Thumb a criminal organization from attacking.
I loved how there are several layers to the plot including Mother’s search for his kids and the many back stories to all of the five spies learning about their unique skill sets that they bring to the team. Although the story focuses on Brooklyn, the supporting characters are well developed and can see future books allowing them to be more of a focus. Mr. Ponti has set it up so there can be many ways this series can grow and engage readers.
Fast paced, filled with humour and a mystery to solve, this one won’t stay on the shelf long and the sequel City Spies Golden Gate is set to be released March 16/21 so you may as well order it at the same time! Move over Alex Rider – there are some new spies in town…
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Grade 5+