Monday, March 2, 2020

Review: City Spies by James Ponti

by James Ponti
Middle Grade Adventure
384 pages
age 8 to 12

MARCH 10th!!!

In this new series James Ponti brings together five kids from all over the world and transforms them into real-life spies.

Sara Martinez is a hacker. She recently broke into the New York City foster care system to expose her foster parents as cheats and lawbreakers. However, instead of being hailed as a hero, Sara finds herself facing years in a juvenile detention facility and banned from using computers for the same stretch of time. Enter Mother, a British spy who not only gets Sara released from jail but also offers her a chance to make a home for herself within a secret MI6 agency.

Operating out of a base in Scotland, the City Spies are five kids from various parts of the world. When they’re not attending the local boarding school, they’re honing their unique skills, such as sleight of hand, breaking and entering, observation, and explosives. All of these allow them to go places in the world of espionage where adults can’t.

Before she knows what she’s doing, Sarah is heading to Paris for an international youth summit, hacking into a rival school’s computer to prevent them from winning a million euros, dangling thirty feet off the side of a building, and trying to stop a villain…all while navigating the complex dynamics of her new team.

No one said saving the world was easy…



Spy fans will love being drawn into the international world of danger, espionage and evil villains...while dreaming they could really jump in and help the team.

After hacking into the files of the social system, Sarah finds herself about to face two and a half years in detention without computer access. As far as she's concerned, her life is over. Until a perky man steps in claiming to be her lawyer and manages to free her from the system and fly her to Scotland. The catch—he wants her to join a team of young spies and stop the evil villain while learning all sorts of wonderful skills.

This book grabs from the very beginning, and it was hard not to like Sarah from that very first page. But then, every character springs from the paper with zest, personality and tons of fun quirks. Especially 'Mother' (a male head of the spy group) demands attention with his slick and yet humorous ways. Each team member is a gem, making it hard, as a reader, not to wish one could really join in.

The writing is quick-paced, not too descriptive, and flows so wonderfully along. Little nips of humor sprinkle in the adventure to create a fun mix. Throw in Scotland and Paris and a villain, who is fun to dislike, and there isn't much not to like. The author even throws in the history of each member through flashbacks, which add to the depth and story. The only thing which made me frown just a tad-tiny bit is the length. Still, it's more than a ton of fun to read, and I definitely can't wait to see where the series goes next.

And here he is...

James Ponti was born in Italy, raised in Florida, and went to college in California. After receiving a degree in screenwriting from the USC Film School, he began a career writing and producing television shows for the likes of Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, PBS, Spike TV, History Channel, and Golf Channel. James loves writing, travel, and the Boston Red Sox. He lives with his family in Maitland, Florida.

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