Tuesday, September 26, 2006

There are spies EVERYWHERE!

I have recently read Michael Spradlin's SPY GODDESS #1: Live and Let Shop and Ally Carter's I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You, and I am almost finished with Kirsten Miller's Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City. Wow. Spy books for girls! It's funny that all three have come out at the same time, when there probably haven't been three other spy girl titles published in the last three years. Anyhow, I'll be happy to recommend all three, though they all address the issue a little differently and the three might not all satisfy the same reader.

First, Spradlin's Spy Goddess. I might be in the minority, but frankly, I think I enjoyed this one the most. Rachel Buchanan, the protagonist, has a smart mouth (which is one of the many reasons she's in big trouble as the book begins), and it makes her fun to read. Rachel's the daughter of wealthy parents who (stereotypically) don't have the time or interest to pay her any attention. Consequently, Rachel has been upping the ante for a while now, hanging out with kids who are bad news, shoplifting, joyriding, anything to get the attention and the goat of her parents. When Rachel and her friends are caught joyriding (the friends take off), Rachel is sentenced to at least a year at Blackthorn Academy, a private school on the East Coast. If she doesn't stick it out, she'll get a year in Juvie instead. Rachel's pretty sure she's not going to stick around, and when she gets to Blackthorn, she's certain: no Internet? No phone? PE every day?! She's outathere! But her escape attempt is foiled by a sprained ankle (wrist?), confusing woods, and the headmaster, Mr. Kim. Mr. Kim puzzles Rachel. He seems to know everything about her (and even what she's thinking), and nothing she says or does pisses him off, even when she's trying her very hardest. He convinces her to give the school a one month trial. Despite herself, Rachel agrees.

Blackthorn Academy is not like most schools. All the kids have some connection to the justice system, there's a top-secret off-limits floor, and the classes are in things like Code Theory, microelectronics, and the martial arts. Rachel is a little intrigued, and she does make a couple of friends. But still, at the end of the month, she decides she's heading back to California, even if it does mean Juvie. She's on her way down to tell Mr. Kim so when the weirdness gets racheted up a couple of notches. The FBI are in the school, talking to Mr. Kim, who doesn't look happy. Then Mr. Kim disappears. Well, Rachel is not one to let her curiosity go unsatisfied. She's determined to figure out what's going on and what happened to Mr. Kim. This leads her and her friends to a secret passage, a secret room, and the biggest secret of all: somebody named Mithras is out to take over the world, and they've just put a major wrench in his plans. And he doesn't like that one bit. Game on!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I liked the blend of humor and tension. Is it realistic? No. Is the plot a little thin? Yes. Is the villain paper thin and stereotypically whacko? Yes. But I didn't care. Rachel and Mr. Kim are interesting characters I'd like to read more about (Rachel's friends need more development, which I think might be coming in book two). And just when you want to roll your eyes at something Rachel says or does, she does it for you with a snarky comment. All in all, it was a quick and fun read that I happily recommend. I will be ordering the next in the series.

This is really long, so I'll post about the other two books separately.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Agree? Disagree? Something you'd like to say in response? Feedback is welcome! Just keep it on topic, please. And if you found one of my booktalks and used it, I'd love to know how it worked for you.