Pearce (Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures) spins a thoroughly enjoyable story about a secret spy agency, the Sub Rosa Society, where agents are trained from birth in subjects like Body Language Analysis and Emergency Undercover Ops. Hale Jordan, the chubby 12-year-old son of “The Team”—two of SRS’s most decorated agents—wants desperately to follow in his parents’ footsteps, but he can’t pass the physical exam to become a junior agent. After his parents go missing, Hale’s spy skills are tested in the real world, where villains don’t always look like villains. Pearce’s spy gadgetry and scenes of agent training are clever and fun, but it’s the always-underestimated Hale, with his systematic—and unconventional—approach to every challenge (“Mission: Get sent on Friday’s mission. Step 1: Wait for chili day”), who makes this such an entertaining and memorable story. Fans of the spy-thriller genre may anticipate some of the twists, but Hale’s pursuit of the truth is no less exciting for it. Pearce sets the stage for what could easily become a favorite series. Ages 8–12. Agent: Josh Adams, Adams Literary. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/04/2015 Release date: 07/14/2015 Genre: Children's
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