|Spy school.  (Spy school novel)|
Author: Gibbs, Stuart
Twelve-year-old Ben Ripley leaves his public middle school to attend the CIA's highly secretive Espionage Academy, which everyone is told is an elite science school.
Download a Teacher's Guide
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 150928
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.50
Points: 16.0 Quiz: 55549
Common Core Standards
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
School Library Journal (02/01/12)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (04/12)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 02/01/2012 Gr 5–8—Ben Ripley, a 12-year-old math genius, receives a mysterious summons to join the Academy of Espionage, a secret recruitment arm of the CIA. Since his life's ambition is to become a spy, he is thrilled by the offer, but his first day is hardly what he expected. It involves ninjas, flying bullets, and Erica, the most beautiful girl he has ever seen. A fellow student asks him to hack into the computer mainframe for him because the rumor mill says that Ben has great cryptography skills. Later that night another agent breaks into his room to kidnap him. It turns out someone keeps leaking sensitive information, and Ben's recruitment was set up strictly as a ploy to find the mole; he is a perfect target for the organization of rogue double agents that has infiltrated the school. Most of the adults are so inept and clueless that Ben and Erica, with the help of their fellow students, save the school from being destroyed by a giant bomb hidden in a secret passageway. Twists and turns in the plot keep readers guessing until the very end. The story, over-the-top funny, combines Alex Rider's espionage skills with a huge dose of the sarcasm of Artemis Fowl. Subtle digs at the stuffiness of a federal agency and the romance of spying abound. The book ends with a letter, fully redacted of all sensitive information, to the Director of Internal Investigations recommending Ben's continued attendance at the school, leaving room for a sequel or two.—Diana Pierce, Leander High School, TX - Copyright 2012 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 03/15/2012 Ben Ripley has always wanted to escape the ordinariness of his middle-school life and be a spy. But then Alexander Hale appears at his home looking like James Bond, wanting Ben to enroll immediately in the CIA’s top-secret Academy of Espionage, and immediately things begin to happen. There’s a beautiful girl, Erica, and multiple assaults on Ben’s life—including ninjas, assassins in the night, and bombs—and suddenly Ben isn’t so sure that being a spy is all that glamorous. Gibbs takes the familiar boarding-school setting and revamps it in this slightly cheeky, action-packed novel for middle-school readers. While most of the characters are somewhat flat, Ben is well-defined; he is a math nerd, a geek who has never gotten the girl, but he comes into his own when he is under attack. Similar in many ways to the Alex Rider books for an older audience, this romp is a great choice for reluctant readers of either gender. - Copyright 2012 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 04/01/2012 When a suave, dashing man in a tuxedo shows up at Ben Ripley’s house offering him a slot at the CIA’s Academy of Espionage, Ben has his bags packed in a heartbeat. His first moments across the academy’s threshold are a clear tip-off that this will be a challenging educational program: the campus is deserted save for a cadre of terrorists who attack Ben and his guide and nearly kill the boy before he reaches the door of the principal’s office to discover this was only an introductory test. Then things get worse. Ben realizes he’s been selected on the basis of cryptography skills he knows full well he doesn’t have; in fact, he is only being used as bait to flush out a mole who threatens to undermine the academy. Ben’s pride kicks in, and he’s determined to stick out the program and demonstrate his merits, but this will require some skillful counterespionage of his own, convincing his hostile classmates and some staff that he’s the real deal. The plotting here is a little clunky, but there’s plenty of fun to be had in the spy-story archetypes that surround our hapless hero, from the 007 wannabe, to the butt-kicking hottie Ben adores, to the doddering fool of a professor who’s actually a razor-sharp tactician. Many, many kids enter middle school wishing they had a license to kill, but until the CIA comes knocking, this exercise in wishful thinking should keep them mightily entertained. EB - Copyright 2012 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.