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“I love bees because they are a constant reminder that even if you’re very little, you can still be very important,” Beatriz. Mission Manhattan

Mission Manhattan

City Spies #5

by James Ponti
AR Test, Diverse Characters

At A Glance
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Thirteen-year-old Rio—known by his cover name, Rafael Rocha—is a skilled street magician who loves all things food and has the ability to charm almost everyone who crosses his path. Such is the case when the City Spies travel to Venice to protect a young environmental activist named Beatriz. Thrilled to meet a fellow Brazilian, Beatriz invites Rafael to her appearance at a nearby United Nations conference. When Rafael spots a bomb on their boat, his quick thinking helps get everyone evacuated safely. Rafael is hailed as a hero and thrust into the spotlight—which is the last thing any spy would ever want. 

With the activist still in danger, the City Spies follow her first to Washington, DC, and then to New York City as she continues to speak out for her cause. Thanks to Rio’s heroic efforts, they have to work extra hard to maintain their cover. And when unforeseen circumstances take both adults, Mother and Monty, out of commission, the spies’ skills are put to the ultimate test. Can they succeed in one of their most complex missions to date, without the adults’ help?   

The fifth installment of the City Spies Series is another fast-paced mystery that will keep readers entertained until the very end. Mission Manhattan and the other books in the series must be read to understand the City Spies’ background and dynamics. In Mission Manhattan, the kids break into two groups. One group must keep Beatriz safe until she speaks to the delegates of the United Nations. The second group must find Mother, who was kidnapped. During the City Spies’ complex mission, they rely on a host of people to assist them. The large cast of characters and the complicated plot add interest, but may be difficult for some readers to follow.  

The City Spies’ job is to keep Beatriz, a young environmental activist, safe. Despite this, Beatriz and her cause are not the main focus. Instead, the City Spies spend much of their time trying to discover who wants to stop Beatriz from speaking to the United Nations. Nevertheless, Beatriz’s message is clear: to protect the environment, young people must speak up. Beatriz says, “The temperature is rising. The oceans are rising. But the young people of the world are rising too. We are rising to our feet to demand action from our leaders.” While the story doesn’t give examples of how readers can help the environment, readers will be inspired by Beatriz, who is determined to make an impact on the world.  

Mission Manhattan highlights the importance of teamwork and the importance of trusting yourself. The book’s conclusion shows the City Spies becoming an even closer family who now fully trust their newest member, Cairo. But be warned! The book ends on a cliffhanger that will leave readers wondering if Cairo’s mother will be the next big threat to the City Spies.  

Sexual Content 

  • None


  • Rio and other climate change activists are on a boat, heading to speak to world leaders. Rio finds a bomb and everyone jumps out. “BOOM! Rio was frantically swimming away from the boat, so he didn’t see the explosion. . . a plume of smoke coming from the stern indicated that there was now a fire where they’d been standing moments before.” No one is injured. 
  • After being poisoned, Mother wakes up with “something pinching his wrists and ankles and realized that he was tied to a chair.” His captors had used zip ties, duct tape, and rope. Later, “Mother couldn’t feel his fingertips, and that was troubling. Not only had he been poisoned by Ferreira, but the others had also injected him on two separate occasions with some sort of drugs that knocked him unconscious for a couple of hours.”  
  • Cairo finds Mother and starts to cut him loose. A bad guy, nicknamed Jelly, “raced into the room and tackled Cairo. Cairo and Jelly wrestled on the floor for a moment, yelling and screaming while they did. And then, suddenly Jelly went limp.” Mother had injected Jelly with the poison. 
  • After Jelly is drugged, the City Spies bind and gag him. Then, they take Jelly to the Italian embassy, where he is arrested. 
  • To warn Beatriz of danger, the City Spies must talk to Beatriz alone. To do so, the City Spies purchase tickets to a gala that Beatriz is speaking at. Then, Brooklyn “accidentally” spills tea on Beatriz and they go to the restroom to clean up the mess. When Rio steps out of a bathroom stall, Beatriz “looked like she was about to shriek, but Sydney put a hand over her mouth. . . She went to yell anyway, so Sydney clamped harder, and Beatriz tried to break free.” After a few minutes of struggling, Beatriz decides to trust the City Spies and leaves the gala. 

Drugs and Alcohol 

  • One of the bad guys, Ferreira, poisons Mother’s tea. Mother’s “speech began to slur, and his vision turned blurry. One of the last things he saw was the empty vial in Ferreira’s hand as the poison took effect.” When Mother wakes up, “there was a throbbing pain in his head and a bitter taste on his tongue. He felt like he was in a fog.” Later, Mother is taken to the hospital to make sure the poison doesn’t have long-lasting effects. 


  • None 


  • None 

Spiritual Content 

  • None 
Other books by James Ponti
Other books you may enjoy

“I love bees because they are a constant reminder that even if you’re very little, you can still be very important,” Beatriz. Mission Manhattan

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