Forbidden City

Street-smart and agile, Paris is a huge fan of Liverpool F.C., Doctor Who, and chess. He’s also a survival specialist and the oldest member of the City Spies—a secret team of young agents working for M16, the British Secret Intelligence Service.

When M16 sets out to thwart Umbra’s attempts to recruit a prominent North Korean nuclear physicist for their nefarious purposes, the operation calls for Paris to make a covert connection with the scientist’s chess-prodigy son at a pair of tournaments in Moscow and Beijing. Meanwhile, Sydney is embedded as a junior reporter for a teen lifestyle site as she follows the daughter of a British billionaire on tour with the biggest act of her father’s music label.

The band and the billionaire are somehow connected to the scientist and the recent thefts of nuclear material from an old Soviet missile base, and it’s up to the City Spies to figure out how. The stakes couldn’t be higher, and the team will have to work together in perfect harmony in order to succeed on their most dangerous mission yet.

The third installment of the City Spies Series takes its focus off Brooklyn, and instead, Paris takes center stage. On the current mission, Paris and Mother go undercover. As part of their cover, Paris participates in the Around the World Chess Tournament, which allows Paris’s personality to shine. This also allows Mother to show that he truly wants to be a good father to his adopted children. The new dynamic adds interest and allows the story to focus on the common question: “Who am I?” This question gives Mother the perfect opening to share some of his background which gives the story a more sentimental vibe.

While Paris wrestles with the question, who am I, he also makes a decision that he thinks was a huge mistake. These two story threads dovetail perfectly and highlight the fact that everyone makes mistakes, and while some mistakes have devastating consequences, mistakes should be forgiven. In addition, when it comes to mistakes and consequences, we should not “celebrate people’s misfortunes.”

The mission requires part of the City Spies team to travel to both Russia and China which adds adventure and action. However, the team splits up into three groups and the constant back and forth between groups is at times a little overwhelming. Plus, readers who fell in love with Brooklyn will be disappointed by her absence because she sits out most of the mission.

The City Spies Series doesn’t rely on one plot formula, but instead, each book has a new focus that keeps the story interesting. Despite this, for maximum enjoyment, the series should be read in order. While the team must work together to complete the mission, their relationships—like any family’s—are complicated and have conflicts. These conflicts make the characters more relatable and add an interesting dynamic to the spy story. While the City Spies Series will appeal to readers of all ages, the series is perfect for middle-grade readers who love spy mysteries but want to avoid the violence. The Friday Barnes Mysteries Series has a more humorous tone, but will also appeal to middle-grade readers who love mysteries.

Sexual Content

  • None

Violence

  • While walking down a street, a man says something to two bodyguards, the Sorokins. “In a flash, Sasha grabbed him by the wrist and spun him around, twisting his arm up behind his back as he writhed in pain. . . on the verge of tears, he said something that Sydney assumed was an apology.”
  • When Jin-Sun is kidnapped, the City Spies find where he is being held captive. Sydney puts several smoke bombs down the chimney in the house where Jin-Sun is being held. The man guarding Jin-Sun, Sorokin, comes out of the house and “Sydney jumped on him from above. It was a direct hit, and as he staggered farther into the courtyard, Monty attacks him with a flurry of Jeet Kune Do moves to knock him out cold.”

 Drugs and Alcohol

  • While misleading the China Ministry of State, a spy leads them to an airport where they find her alone on a plane. When they enter the plane, she “took a sip of champagne.”

Language

  • None

Supernatural

  • None

Spiritual Content

  • None

George Washington’s Socks

When five kids take a walk along Lake Levart late one night, a mysterious wooden rowboat beckons them aboard. As if in a trance, they all step inside. But what they don’t realize is that this enchanted boat is headed back in time—to the time of George Washington. And their neighborhood lake has been transformed into the icy Delaware River on the eve of the battle at Trenton. Matthew, Quentin, Hooter, Tony, and Katie experience the American Revolution firsthand and learn the sobering realities of war. But how will they ever find their way home?

The first six chapters of George Washington’s Socks are slow, but readers who stick with the book will be glad they did. Matt and his friends time jump and end up in the middle of George Washington’s rebels crossing the Delaware. The rebels are preparing to attack the enemy, in a surprising way. Matt is soon separated from his sister and his friends and marching to battle. Along the way, Matt befriends Isaac, who didn’t join the Army because he believed in the cause, but rather because he needed to help support his younger siblings. While marching with Isaac and the other soldiers, Matt gets firsthand experience with the difficult situations that the rebels faced. Once Matt jumps into the past, he’s in for an action-packed adventure.

George Washington’s Socks gives readers a close look at war; while none of the descriptions are bloody, Matt sees several people whom he considered friends die. During the war, the rebels faced danger, death, and harsh conditions and yet they carried on. Seeing these experiences changes the way Matt views the rebels and the enemy. For example, Matt sees some of George Washington’s rebels being disrespectful to a Hessian soldier that they killed. “Matt suddenly felt sick to his stomach. He hated to see them acting so badly, for these were his rebels. They were the special brave men that he had always dreamed about and suddenly they seemed neither special nor brave.” Because of his experiences, Matt realizes that the line between good guys and bad guys isn’t always clear. Instead, “there’s no such thing as just good guys fighting bad guys. It seems like there’s good and bad on both sides.”

George Washington’s Socks will appeal to history lovers and readers who want a great time travel adventure. Even though the story focuses on colonial America and the Revolutionary War, the story highlights the kindness of others and has pockets of humor. In addition, Matt is a compassionate and relatable protagonist who learns that history books do not tell the whole story. Readers who enjoy historical fiction and want to learn more about the Revolutionary War should read Daniel at the Siege of Boston 1776 by Laurie Calkhoven.

Sexual Content

  • None

Violence

  • Adam Hibbs was supposed to take the kids to safety, but “Adam Hibbs lay bleeding, with his head resting in Hooter Melrose’s lap. It seemed the young corporal had been standing in a boat looking up the shore when he stumbled and fell onto his bayonet. . . Adam Hibbs was not expected to live the night.”
  • Two Indians find Matt alone in the woods. “One raised a tomahawk while the other held a bow with a long arrow pointed directly at Matt’s heart.”
  • When Katie wanders off, Hessian soldiers find her. When Matt and his friends discover the group, “Matt took a deep breath and reached for a musket. Tony and Hooter did the same. At the sound of their footsteps, the Hessians swung around and drew their swords. . . The soldiers waved their swords and shouted until Matt and the boys put their hands over their heads.”
  • A Hessian soldier, Gustav, was helping the kids when there was “the sound of musket fire.” The kids “looked on in horror as Gustav cried out in pain, for a musket ball had ripped through his back. He took a step, then fell forward, toppling to the ground with his face in the snow.”

 Drugs and Alcohol

  • One of the soldiers has “sour rum breath.”
  • A young soldier is eating snow when he says, “I wish we had a small beer to wash it down with.”
  • A soldier’s father “has a likeness for rum. . . He spends most of his day in the tavern.”

Language

  • One of Matt’s friends asks if Matt’s grandfather is “a little bit batty.”
  • Several times the soldiers refer to the enemy mercenaries as “Hessian pigs.” They are also said to be “blood-thirsty.”
  • While traveling to attack the enemy, Colonel Knox says, “We’re hours behind because of this damn storm.”
  • When Matt decides to stay close to his dying friend, a soldier calls Matt a “little fool.”
  • After killing Hessian solider, a man refers to the dead man as “scum.”

Supernatural

  • Matt’s grandfather tells a story about a friend, Adam Hibbs, who disappeared. Adam “was out on the lake in a rowboat, a rowboat my grandpa had never seen before. . . Grandpa ran to the tent to get a lantern. But when he got back to the lake it was too late. Adam Hibbs was gone, disappeared, boat and all, and no one to this day knows what happened to him.”
  • When Matt and his friends see a mysterious rowboat, “he was the first to come under the boat’s spell. It was the same desire to board the boat that he’d felt when he first saw it. . . Smiling, as if in a trance, Matt reached for an oar.”
  • After their adventure, Katie tells the rowboat to take them home. A soldier is surprised when it looks like the kids “disappeared into thin air. . . They were in a boat on the beach and suddenly they started to spin around and then they vanished!” The general thinks the soldier imagined it because of his “harsh whisky breath.”
  • While the kids were gone, no one missed them because, “a person traveling through time can experience days, weeks, and even years, and then return home to find that he’s only been gone a few hours.”

Spiritual Content

  • A soldier thinks Matt and the kids are enemy spies. The soldier says, “God forgive the cold Tory heart that would send children out to face the dangers of this night.”
  • General Washington says, “God willing, we’ll all live to remember this night.” Later he says, “God granting, the day will be dark.”
  • When Matt’s friend dies, a man says, “He’s no longer here, but in God’s glorious kingdom.”

 

The Eureka Key

When middle school puzzle master Sam and history wiz Martina win a contest for a summer trip across the U.S., they discover they’ve been drafted into something vastly more extraordinary. Joining another kid on the trip, Theo, a descendant of George Washington himself, they must follow clues to find seven keys left behind by the Founding Fathers.

Together, the keys unlock Benjamin Franklin’s greatest invention – a secret weapon with the intention of defending the country. Each key is hidden in a unique location around the U.S., protected with puzzles, riddles, and traps. This has kept the weapon safe . . . until now! Gideon Arnold, a dangerous descendant of the infamous Benedict Arnold, is on the chase.

Readers of The Eureka Key will enjoy learning about one of America’s founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, in this fast-paced story. The action begins from the very first page and never stops. To find a weapon hidden by the Founding Fathers, Sam, Martina and Theo must find clues and answer the riddles left by Benjamin Franklin. With the villain’s goons just steps behind them, the kids must focus on deciphering the clues. Similar to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, each new clue can also lead to a potentially deadly trap which makes for some very suspenseful moments. The clues are based on Franklin’s real inventions and readers will attempt to figure out the clues along with the characters.

While the action drives the plot, both Sam and Martina are well-developed but imperfect characters. Girl Scouts has taught the nerdy Martina to always be prepared, and her quirks make her very likable. At first, Sam laughs at everything Martina packs and teases her for her encyclopedic knowledge, but Sam soon realizes that without Martina he wouldn’t have survived the journey. Sam begins as a reckless troublemaker, but after the near-death journey, Sam asks himself, “So which Sam Solomon was he? The one who hacked into school computers to change his friend’s grades, or the one who did his best to save the country from treachery that went back more than two hundred years?” In the end, Sam’s character growth and maturity will please and surprise readers.

The Eureka Key will appeal to a wide range of readers. Those who love mystery, puzzles, history, and action will enjoy The Eureka Key. Even though the story has many historical facts, they are integrated into the story, and they never read like a history textbook. Some of the characters are descendants of historical figures and one character is a descendant of Benedict Arnold. While some believe Arnold was a traitor, his descendant reminds readers, “History sometimes forgets the truth.” Readers interested in learning more about Benedict Arnold should read George Washington’s Spies by Claudia Friddell. The characters, mystery, and history combine to make a highly entertaining story that will have readers reaching for the next book in the series, The Eagle’s Quill.

 Sexual Content

  • None

Violence

  • A man who Sam calls “Aloha” kidnaps Sam, Martina, and Theo. Sam tries to leave clues for others to follow. “A second later, the loudest sound he’d ever heard nearly split his eardrums open. He yelped, and Martina jumped about a foot. . . Aloha was standing behind them with his gun pointed at Sam’s hat, which lay on the ground with a smoking hole through the brim.”
  • Several times someone points a gun at the kids to force them to comply with orders.
  • To find the eureka key, the kids must answer riddles. If they answer incorrectly, a deadly trap awaits them. While trying to figure out a clue, the kids make a mistake and, “The light around them seemed to flare, and Sam stumbled back, blinking madly. . . Then a scream filled the air. It came from Aloha. . .The orange flowers on Aloha’s shirt burst into red flames. He howled in pain, staggering across the plateau, as the fires took hold.”
  • As Aloha is flailing, “Aloha was still holding his gun; it swung toward Theo as the man twisted and wailed. Theo dodged to the side as a bullet cracked in the air, and at the same moment Aloha’s left heel vanished off the edge of the cliff. He toppled and was gone, his screams lengthening.” Aloha dies.
  • The villain, Flintlock, pulls a gun on the kids. When the kids open a secret door, “Theo snapped upright, driving a fistful of rocks into the man’s stomach.” Theo and Martina run, but someone has a hold on Sam. Then, “Something whizzed past Sam’s face, and then Martina’s flashlight cracked his captor right on the bridge of his nose. The hand around Sam’s arm loosened as the man howled.” The kids escape.
  • To escape a trap, Martina connects an electrical circuit to herself. “Martina’s body shook as if she were a puppet with a madman yanking at the strings. . . Martina dropped to the floor as if the puppeteer had tossed her away and lay there—still as death.”
  • The bad guys and the kids are in a room that has a lot of keys hanging from the ceiling. One of the bad guys, Jed, “grabs a key. Sam was sure he could hear electricity leaping from the key to Jed’s hand. The instant his huge fist closed around the key, he was flung across the room, so quickly he didn’t have time to cry out. He crashed to the floor and lay still.”
  • Sam tries to sneak away from the bad guys. Sam “took two steps toward the way out, only to have a bullet blast into the wooden floor in front of him.”
  • A man falls into a mine shaft. “There was a sharp, panicked yell that started loud and got softer and softer. . . until it stopped.” The man dies.
  • During the revolution, Benedict Arnold left one of his contacts to be hanged.
  • One of the villains slaps “Theo across the face. . . Theo stood as solidly as a deeply rooted tree and didn’t make a sound.”
  • To get Sam to comply, one of the thugs grabs Martina. “He grabbed hold of her arm, clamping his other hand over her mouth and nose. He grinned as she made a startled, choking sound.”
  • When Sam makes a smart-aleck remark, “the back of Arnold’s hand smacked into the side of his face.”

Drugs and Alcohol

  • None

Language

  • Oh my God and Oh, Lord are each used as an exclamation once.
  • Sam thinks someone is a jerk.
  • A man calls someone a pinhead.
  • Martina calls Sam a moron.
  • Heck is used once.

Supernatural

  • None

Spiritual Content

  • Martina tells Sam about Benjamin Franklin. “Franklin said people should try to ‘be like Jesus and Socrates . . . Sacrificing themselves for the common good.’”

Mac Cracks the Code

The Queen of England calls on Mac B. once again! This time, Mac must crack a secret code that has been recovered from a double agent. A series of clues leads Mac to France, to Japan where he comes face-to-face with his arch-nemesis the KGB Man, and to the world headquarters of Nintendo! Is the KGB Man secretly behind all of this? Are Mac’s video game skills good enough to face down his enemy at the Video Game World Championships?

Even though the events in Mac Cracks the Code are at times ridiculous, the story incorporates historical and language lessons into the events. The story teaches spy terminology such as cytologist, as well as portmanteau words. There are also world maps that show Mac’s travel routes, which helps readers understand where countries are in relation to each other. Readers will also be eager to try to figure out the clues to the mystery.

Mac Cracks the Case will entertain even the most reluctant readers with its fast pace and hilarious events. Short sentences, humorous illustrations, and simple vocabulary will help readers build confidence. Video games play a part in the story’s plot, which adds interest for those who like video games. Because several of the characters appear in the previous books, readers will get maximum enjoyment if they read the series in order.

In Mac Cracks the Code, Mac tells his own story with humor and puts a spotlight on the absurd. The conclusion will have readers cheering for Max and groaning when the Queen of England gives Max a gift. The Max B. Kid Spy Series continuously gives readers engaging stories that will have readers laughing out loud. Any reader who enjoys intrigue will want to add the Max B. Kid Spy Series to their reading list.

Sexual Content

  • None

Violence

  • None

Drugs and Alcohol

  • None

Language

  • The KGB man tells Mac, “You look like a doofus!” Mac uses the same words to describe the KGB man.

Supernatural

  • None

Spiritual Content

  • None

#Prettyboy Must Die

After his first failed mission, Peter Smith goes undercover at an exclusive school in Colorado. Peter is supposed to be keeping a low profile. When Peter goes out for a late-night run, a classmate snaps a picture of him and posts the caption “See Prettyboy run.” When the picture becomes a viral sensation, Peter knows he’s in trouble. Before the end of the day, Peter’s school is under attack as a terrorist wants revenge. This former-foster-kid turned CIA operative will have to use all of his skills and training to stay alive.

Told from Peter’s point of view, #Prettyboy Must Die starts out with action and intrigue. However, right from the start the plot is over the top and unrealistic. The action continues throughout the story, but there are too many scenes where Peter and his friends unrealistically knock out an adult, professional, or mobster.

Having the story told from Peter’s point of view did not necessarily improve the story’s appeal as he is arrogant and doesn’t believe that others can be an asset. Peter doesn’t think girls can be accomplished and smart, which is shown several times, including when he thinks the hacker cannot be a girl because she is pretty. Girls are portrayed in a negative light once again when a group of girls don’t worry about the danger they face; they just want a picture of #prettyboy.

#Prettyboy Must Die is not a serious spy book, but it is a fast-paced story that leaves the reader wondering who can be trusted. For those looking for an easy-to-read, fun story, #Prettyboy Must Die is a good choice. Even though the violence is not described in detail and is appropriate for younger readers, there is a wide range of profanity that is used often. If you loved Aly Carter’s Gallagher Girls series, you may want to leave #Prettyboy Must Die on the shelf.

Sexual Content

  • Katie changes her clothing in front of Peter. He thinks, “It takes me a second to realize I probably shouldn’t be staring like I’ve just seen the promised land . . . But I can’t help but comment because, you know, Katie. Half-naked. ‘Hey girl, as much as I’d like to, this probably isn’t a good time.’”
  • Peter thinks about a date with Katie, “. . . I remember our one date, our first kiss, and I want to kiss her again. . .” Later in the story, he asks Katie, “Are you sure you didn’t know who I was when I asked you out? Because the way you kissed me. . . I mean, after the movie, in your car—”
  • When Katie sees a black SUV and realizes it has come to pick her up, she kisses Peter. “. . . I damn near forget about Sveta, Rogers, and the entire universe. I hold her like it will be the last time. She kisses me again like it’s only a preview of more to come.”

Violence

  • The CIA raids an arms dealer’s hideout and a man is killed. “Marchuk Sr. is now on the floor three feet inside the house, knocked that far back by the shot that has to have killed him instantly.” The raid is described over four pages. During the raid, Peter is shot.
  • When a classroom is taken hostage, the chemistry teacher tries to tackle Bad Guy #2. The bad guy puts the teacher in a “choke hold. Before I can even process what’s happening, the bad guy is already done with Mr. Valaquez, who he lets slump to the floor, unconscious. Or worse.”
  • Someone kicks one of the bad guys. “It doesn’t take a genius to figure out where, considering all the moaning.”
  • A bad guy hits a school employee and Peter hears “the sound of a fist hitting bone.” Later in the story, Peter sees a teacher who is hiding, and “I throw a left hook across his face and knock him the hell out. . . I’m pissed he’s in here hiding out instead of heading back to his class. . .”
  • When Peter tricks a bad guy into coming into a classroom. “That’s when I land the steel baton against his pterion, the weakest point on the skull, immediately incapacitating him. Or possibly killing him.” He takes out two other bad guys in the same way.
  • Katie is captured and a bad guy beats her. “. . . Officer Andrews is holding Katie by one arm, or more like holding her up.” Peter is tied to a chair and when he struggles “he hauls off and lands a right cross that feels like a sledgehammer against my face.” Later, as the bad guy is talking to Peter, he hits him in the face. Katie saves the day with, “A brutal kick to his junk . . . she hooks her foot around his ankle, sweeps his legs out from under him, then straddles his back. I’m certain it’s an image I won’t soon forget—girl of my dreams on top of the guy who wants to kill me.”
  • When the bad guy begins to recover from “the ball-kick she (Katie) gave him and is starting to squirm . . . she grabs Marchuk’s hair and slams his face into the floor, knocking him out.”
  • Peter attacks a bad guy. “. . . I land my fist against the side of his head. . .and kick him in the jewels. That brings him to his knees, but I know it won’t be for long.”
  • Peter and Katie go after a bad guy and he threatens to shoot them, but Peter shoots first. “When the bullet hits his left knee, he goes down before he can get off a single round. I hear the sound of metal against bone. Maglite against skull.”
  • Someone tries to use a drone to kill Peter and Katie. “Just as Katie takes off running, I hear a car come over the ridge, followed by a loud thump. I turn back in time to see Sveta on the car’s hood, her phone flying through the air. . . The car screeches to a stop and Sveta slides off and onto the ground, moaning. For a brief moment, I regret that she’s still alive.”

Drugs and Alcohol

  • A character said, “My layabout son takes nothing seriously, is only concerned about spending my money on women and drink.”
  • Peter gives the principal tickets to the game. After the game, the principal tells Peter, “I damn near went broke on stadium beer, but that’s what I get for celebrating a little too hard.” Later in the story, he tells Peter, “I’d been sick all morning, hungover. . .”
  • When Peter overhears someone say bank robbers are in the school, he thinks, “the average bank robber does so on impulse and out of desperation, usually some loser meth-head needing a hit.”
  • Katie injects several bad guys with carfentanil, a drug that is “ten thousand times stronger than morphine, so it acts quickly, and it only takes a drop or two.”
  • Peter and his friend are captured, and “then the crazy chick starts singing a kid’s chant to figure out which one of us she will shoot first.” Before she can shoot them, “Katie falls through the ceiling and onto the psycho’s back.”
  • When a bad guy crushes a boy’s hand, Katie fires her gun, but the bullet accidently hits Peter. Peter wants to know why he isn’t dead and Katie tells him, “It doesn’t shoot bullets. It was supposed to shoot nerve gas. . .”

Language

  • Profanity is used often and includes: ass, asshole, damn, dickhead, fucking, goddamn, hell, and pissed off.
  • When a teacher sees three incapacitated bad guys, he said, “Jesus H. Christ—are those terrorists?” Then he asks Peter, “Who the hell are you?”
  • “Oh My God” is used as an exclamation several times. For example, a girl says, “Oh my God. I sit two rows over from him in calculus. . . How did I not notice how hot he is?”
  • Peter sees a classmate and thinks, “I see Carlisle’s resident douche.”
  • When a teacher is looking for a bug, Peter thinks, “Despite the crazy that is happening all around us, watching The Douche have a near breakdown is fucking hilarious.”

Supernatural

  • None

Spiritual Content

  • None

I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You

Cammie doesn’t just feel invisible, she is trained to be invisible. When a girl goes to spy school, blending into a crowd is an art as well as a talent, but when Cammie catches the eye of a gorgeous guy—a normal, not-spy guy—being invisible isn’t an option anymore. Cammie quickly discovers that romance and relationships are much harder than learning fourteen different languages and advanced encryption at school.

Cammie puts all her spy skills to the test as she sneaks around, trying to keep her true identity hidden from her boyfriend and her boyfriend a secret from her spy school.  After all, she will never be able to reveal that the Gallagher Academy, which most people think is a school for rich snobs, is really a school for spies.

Although Cammie and her friends are geniuses when it comes to chemical warfare in science class and breaking CIA codes in computer class, they are completely clueless when it comes to boys.  The author adds a new roommate, a new teacher, and a covert operation class, which leads to laugh-out-loud situations that are simultaneously filled with suspense. Through first-person narration, Carter creates a fun, sweet story and a unique setting in which to explore the well-known troubles teens have in understanding the opposite sex.

Carter successfully creates a believable world where girls can accomplish just about anything. The characters are completely loveable while still being grounded in reality. Additionally, the story is full of action and explores teen romance in a way that is perfect for younger readers.

 Sexual Content

  • When talking about an attractive teacher’s tone of voice, the narrator said, “We all heard, I think you’re the most beautiful woman in the world, and I’d be honored if you’d bear my children.”
  • A CIA member, “once sweet-talked a Russian dignitary into dressing in drag and carrying a beach ball full of liquid nitrogen under his shirt like a pregnant lady.”
  • The girls wonder if the gorgeous guy is a “honey pot” and then struggle to explain what a honey pot is.
  • A friend asks the narrator if she has, “been to second base yet?”
  • The narrator receives her first kiss, and then later kisses her boyfriend so he will stop talking.
  • A boy talks about mooning the girls at the Gallagher Academy.

Violence

  • A teacher throws a letter opener at another teacher’s head, which they stop with a book.
  • In a fit of anger, a student grabs a classmate’s arm, puts it behind her back, and rips out her diamond nose ring.
  • During a mission debriefing, a student is shown a picture of her friend’s bloody and swollen face. The teacher explains that during torture, what hurts most is, “listening to her friend scream…she will be screaming for about six hours, until she becomes so dehydrated she can’t form sounds.” After the lesson, her friend walks in unharmed.
  • As part of a final test in the covert class, Cammie is “kidnapped” and a fight ensues. She is locked in a room, blindfolded, and tied to a chair.
  • When the narrator meets a girl who she thinks might be her competition, the narrator thinks about her ability, “to kill you in your sleep and make it look like an accident, you silly vapid, two bit. . .”

Drugs and Alcohol

  • It is mentioned that as part of an interrogation tactics class, the students are, “under the influence of sodium pentothal,” and Cammie mentions being a wiz at poison-concocting.
  • A student smokes a cigarette.
  • When her friend announces she has bad news about Cammie’s crush, the narrator wonders if the bad news is that, “he’s taking drugs that will prepare him for a sex change operation.”
  • A student wonders if her first covert mission is going to be, “busting up a drug cartel that’s operating out of a night club.”

Language

  • A class is described as, “damn hard.”
  • When getting assigned a mission, the narrator said it’s like getting, “a gold-freaking-star.”
  • A student uses the phrase, “bloody hell.”
  • A student calls another student a “b—” and mentions the “B word.”  The B word is implied but never spoken.

Supernatural

  • None

Spiritual Content

  • Although religion isn’t discussed directly, Cammie pretends to be homeschooled for religious reasons. Cammie also wears a cross and carries a What Would Jesus Do? ink pen in her bag because it helps her cover story.
  • There is a conversation about how the Bible says people have free will, but a character doesn’t feel like that applies to his life because of his parents’ expectations.

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy

Spies are the ultimate actors. After the Blackthorn boys move to the Gallaher Academy, Cammie and her friends must find out if cute, spy-boy Zach can be trusted.

When the Blackthorn boys move into the school, Cammie and her friends discover that the only thing harder than spy school is girl stuff—how to fix your hair, how to apply make-up, and how to dress for a dance. After all, the Gallagher Academy may have taught them covert operations, but it has not taught them anything about the opposite sex.

Cross My Heart Hope to Spy has less action than the first book; however, it is still an entertaining story. The story focuses on Cammie’s confusion about boys, especially the confusion on how to deal with a break-up. Even though the story lacks the action of book one, the same loveable characters are in book two and they help drive the story. Cross My Heart Hope to Spy has the perfect blend of romance and intrigue for all age groups.

Sexual Content

  • Cammie is trying to get over her ex-boyfriend. While she is in town, she thinks about her first kiss.
  • While Cammie is getting ready for a date, the girls talk about if there will be kissing. One of the girls says, “You can have dating without kissing, but kissing without dating is entirely different.”
  • Cammie is reminded that she needs to be casual because, “Guys are like dogs—they can always tell when you’re needy.”
  • One of Cammie’s friends insist she wear a push-up bra on her date because, “push-up bras were invented for honeypot situations.”
  • While on a date, Zach tells Cammie that he is going to kiss her. They are interrupted by someone that Cammie knows. Then Cammie notices her ex-boyfriend is near, and she wonders if Zach was only going to kiss her because her ex-boyfriend was near.

 

Violence

  • According to rumor, Mr. Solomon, “once strangled a Yugoslavian arms dealer with a pair of control-top panty hose.”
  • When men steal the list of the Gallagher Academy alumni, the girls try to get it back. “Bex jumped from the roof, flattening one guard, then swept a leg out and knocked a second one off his feet in one smooth motion.” No one is seriously hurt.

 

Drugs and Alcohol

  • None

 

Language

  • None

 

Supernatural

  • None

 

Spiritual Content

  • None

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