Monday, January 25, 2016

Review: Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve in Tiger Trouble by Grant Goodman

by Grant Goodman
Middle Grade Fiction 
ages 8+
196 pages


Thirteen year-old Agent Darcy is one of the top students at the Bureau of Sneakery, where there are three rules every agent must follow: never make friends with an outsider, never speak of the Bureau, and never reveal your real name. Lately, Darcy has hit a rough patch: her rival, Agent Serena, keeps outdoing her. If things keep going this way, Darcy is convinced that no one will ever assign her a real mission.

Ninja Steve's city, Ninjastoria, is the home of sword fights, throwing stars, and Tae Kwon Donuts. Unlike his genius older sister, twelve year-old Steve isn't the best ninja student. He'd rather be swinging a sword instead of taking notes in class. Steve, however, is about to learn that being a true ninja means far more than being able to use a sword.

When Darcy is sent to Ninjastoria as an exchange student, it will turn both of their lives upside-down and raise all kinds of questions:

What do the mecha-moles want? Who is the man in the gray mask? What do ninjas eat for lunch? And why is there a menacing tiger on the cover of this book?

Time to read and find out!


The second I read the blurb on this one, I knew I had to read it. Ninjas and secret had to be good! And it was.

This is written in two perspectives, Ninja Steve and Agent Darcy, and starts off with a glance into each of their lives. And it is priceless. This isn't a realistic story but rather runs full tilt into a world of fun. Ninja Steve's family is comprised of. . .(guess this one). . .Ninjas! They walk on the ceiling, flip and spin through the air at will, wear black all of the time and have birthday parties I'd never want to experience. And the agents. . .well, they are as strict and agent centered as is to be expected (I can't get the Mission Impossible music out of my head whenever I think of Darcy.)

I really enjoyed the glance into each ones background before they meet and the plot thickens. Steve and Darcy come from very different worlds, and the expectations placed on them are different as well. By gaining this separate look at both of them, it was very clear why each reacts the way they do when things start running out of control.

The descriptions in this book are fantastic. It's never too much but enough to make it play like an action movie before your eyes. There are little oddities here and there which had me smiling the entire way through. It's an amazing world kids (and even I as an adult) will love to dive into.

Where agents and ninjas are involved, there's going to be tons of action. Even at school, Ninja Steve and Agent Darcy are constantly faced with the unexpected. But that's exactly what one would expect from characters like this. Especially reluctant readers will find it easy to get caught up into the story...and at a length of under 200 pages, they won't be scared away by the size.

Of course, there's also a lot of heart in this story. Friendship plays a huge role as well as learning to work with others. Trust is another big one. Not only do they have to trust each other but also their own skills. These messages are never screamed out, but the relationship between Steve and Darcy naturally brings them to light. It's a great friendship, one I hope to see more of in the future.

Summed up, this is a terrific read for middle graders--girls and boys alike. The characters are simply tons of fun as is the world they live in. There's action, heart-filled moments, tension and humor. Simply said, it's a crazy ninja/agent ride.

And here he is. . .

Grant Goodman teaches middle school English in Montgomery County, Maryland.

He is fueled by Ray Bradbury stories, spicy curry, and 9:30 Club concerts.

Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve in...Tiger Trouble! is his debut novel.

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