Cover Image: City Spies

City Spies

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Member Reviews

This was a delightful book. I want to be part of the FARM. Where do I sign up? Fast spaced. The young James Bond's will enjoy this.

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I really enjoyed City Spies by James Ponti. Spy stories are fun to read and this story had many elements that were fun. It was clever to have the young spies have code names that match the cities they were from. This helped me to keep track of the many different personalities in this book. The settings were interesting as well: New York, England, Paris, tunnels, secret passages - you name it. The downside of this book is that it took a long time to set up. I think some younger readers could lose interest. It wasn’t a page-turner for me, but I did have fun reading it. I predict that future books in the series will have more action since the character set-up has already been done. Overall, a great read for young readers with good stamina.

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Sara, a twelve-year-old foster child, has just been arrested for hacking government system in an effort to punish the wrongdoings of her foster parents when she is recruited during her hearing to a special MI6 team by a man she is to call Mother. The team, made of a diverse cast of tweens and teens known only by the name of the city in which they were discovered, is preparing for a mission at a youth environmental summit and needs one more member - an experienced hacker. Sara, now called Brooklyn, joins the team on their mission to Paris where they deal with the twists and turns that happen in all god spy stories.

While it's never really explained why a team of children and young teens exists, the children's talents are generally reasonable for their ages and each team member is nicely characterized without being pigeon-holed into cliches. Flashbacks throughout serve as a way to flesh out characters and their motivations without detracting from the story taking place.

City Spies is an entertaining read, set up perfectly to be a popular series for middle grade readers. The writing is fun and contains enough action to keeps the reader wanting more. I would recommend this title to anyone who enjoys a light action spy story.

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Sara is a hacker, but when she sees herself doing time for her hacking, she lucks out and gets a very quirky lawyer and she finds herself not in juvie but in Scotland, at a school of sorts for people like her. This is when the action starts, Sara finds out she was recruited to be a spy for a particular mission, one in which the last person left, making room for her, but will she ever get along with the other spys and make a place for herself on the team?

This book is filled with action, suspense, and just a whole lot of fun. This is a excellent read for anyone, even the reluctant ones. This is a awesome book with wonderful characters you will cheer for. It is a true spy novel for kids, and adults a like.

This review will appear on my blog on March 10th.

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This was such a treat of a story! I enjoyed the diversity of the characters and the plot which was such a nice mixture of adventure, friendship and finding your family. This will be a nice addition to the kids as spies genre and I am sure that many kids will enjoy spending time with the City Spies.

I loved how the book opened, with Sarah about to go to court and very worried about. Enter ‘Mother’ her new ‘lawyer’ who she decides to trust even when he totally starts to muck things up for her. I loved the energy and the banter between these two. Such a refreshing interaction between a troubled kid and an adult. Sara is also a delight, yes she broke the law, but it was for the right reasons. Also very impressive how she did it as well. Eventually Sarah changed her name to Brooklyn, just like the other kids who adopt names of the cities where they come from.

The other kids in this gang of spies are slowly introduced and we get the background story on many of them. Paris is the oldest and he is the one who can break into just about anywhere. Sydney is the explosives expert and Rio is the magician and the youngest. Kat (Katmandu) was perhaps my favorite after Sarah, she can see patterns in things that no other person sees and she is great at math. Sarah has a tough time making her way into this group that has been together for awhile, but she does so eventually. It is hard for the group to trust and and for her to learn to trust them, but by the end of the book, you can tell that they will become very good friends.

The two main adults, Mother and Monty, are the kids handlers/parents. They are a great set of adults, who really care about the kids and want to protect them as much as they can. We also get the back story on both of them, which made them more real and not just adults supervising in the background. Mother recruited them all and I loved hearing the stories on how he rescued them.

The story itself was pretty typical of this genre, bad guy wants to destroy and take over the world. But the execution of the plot was well done. There were just enough hints for kids to figure out what was going on before the gang does, but it wasn’t always obvious, so I am sure there will be kids who are totally surprised. The pacing was solid with just the right amount of action and down times. The banter between the kids was also good and really lead to some funny moments.

Overall a delightful read that will keep kids entertained. A lighter read compared to the some in this genre, but definitely one to add to your middle grader’s book pile.

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City Spies was fantastic! The adventure was high-energy and suspenseful! The characters made you root for them! The book was hard to put down! I can see many students reacting similarly!

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Five kids from around the world have been recruited to form a top secret spy team at MI6 (which even most of Mi6 doesn't know about). The story focuses on the most recent recruit, Sara aka Brooklyn, a foster kid from New York with incredible computer and hacking skills. She joins up with Paris, Kat, Rio, and Sydney, who each have their own special (and almost superhuman) talents. Their mission is to infiltrate a global youth environmental summit and stop the next attack from a global criminal organization.

The story starts mysteriously, as Sara is swept out of juvenile detention by an MI6 agent posing as a lawyer, slows down a bit as Sara/Brooklyn joins up with the team and experiences the inevitable interpersonal conflicts, and then speeds up to a thrilling conclusion as the team stops a devastating virus from being spread. Kids will cheer for the juvenile spies, who make James Bond look like an amateur.

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This middle grade story is full of action and suspense. It's a fun page-turner that doesn't tie everything up with a neat bow at the end, hinting at more to come, without being an annoying cliffhanger. The premise isn't totally original, with young troublemakers recruited to use their skills for the good of the government. But it's told in a simple and entertaining way that will allow middle grade readers to focus on the fun and not be burdened with unrelated or inconsequential side stories.

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Quick, enjoyable spy thriller setting up a series. Could use some further editing in my opinion, to get rid of a good number of unnecessary adverbs that detract from the flow of the story. But kids will likely respond well to this story of talented kids from different countries teaming up to fight crime. Like the addition of a tragic backstory for Mother, their superspy leader.

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This book is awesome! Action! Adventure! Boys and girls who are intelligent, feisty, and fun. I'll be recommending this to our mystery and adventure lovers.

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12-year-old Sara is a computer hacker who is rescued from New York's juvenile justice system by a mysterious stranger who shows up and pretends to be Sara's lawyer. In reality, the "lawyer" is an agent for MI6, the well-known British Secret Intelligence Service. What does MI6 want with Sara? Quite a lot, as she soon finds out when she lands in Scotland to begin her training as a spy. Joining an elite team of talented teens, Sara soon finds herself in the midst of a top secret operation of worldwide importance.

Riveting from the start, this book immediately catapults the reader into an intriguing plot filled with cleverly-crafted characters and unforeseeable twists. As the mission reaches a critical point, Sara is called upon to conquer her fears and use her talents to literally save the world. Fans of Alex Rider and Artemis Fowl will be thrilled with this new series. This book is well worth adding to any middle grade fiction collection.

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A middle grade spy novel along the lines of the <i>Alex Rider</i> series and <i>The Mysterious Benedict Society</i>, we have kids teaming up to take on an international villain. The characters are fun and believable (if you accept the premise that MI6 would actually use kids for their ops) and grow in realistic ways. The mystery is not immediately obvious and the adults aren't clueless.

I enjoyed the flashbacks that told us how the kids came to be spies and the glimpses of places all over the world. This is a great choice for middle grade readers who enjoy some action and mystery, but don't want gore or too much violence. It's not dumbed down or sanitized, but it's clean and fun and easy to follow. I look forward to reading the sequel. Definitely recommended!

Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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City Spies by Jame Ponti is a middle grade novel. The main characters are a group of eccentric youngsters who are found in different cities around the world. The students are offered an opportunity for a new life as a M16 agent. The children are “freed” from different situations and are flown to Scotland.

The students are called the name of the cities they were found in. Sara Martinez was “freed” from the NYC juvenile system and is called Brooklyn. She is a computer hacker and is needed for the next assignment. Along with learning “spy” information, the students also go to school. Each has a different set of strengths.

The book is a fun read that will catch a number of kids' attention. I think it will be an attractive story to kids who enjoy mysteries and thrillers. City Spies is a book that can start a series and would work as a read aloud starting important conversations about saving the earth, hacking computers, and the strength each student has within them. City Spies by Ponti is a good middle grade read.

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I have had the joy of reading this new book by James Ponti. He is a favorite author of Florida school librarians - his books often make our state reading lists, and children across the state enjoy reading about all of his characters adventures.

This book is my favorite of all those I have read by the author. It entwine topics media specialists look for in books we currently want to recommend to our kids - multiculturalism, racial diversity, and other topics, such as child care systems, team work, personal growth, honesty, and resilient strong female characters. More than that, the characters are cast in the world of fantastic adventure. There is much to love about all of these ideas swirled together in one roller coaster ride of a fantastical journey. I cannot wait to share this with my kids - they are sure to love it!

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City Spies is a new mystery kid spy series from James Ponti, the author of the Framed series. When Sara Martinez finds herself arrested for hacking into a computer system, she has no idea that she has earned a spot in a secret kid spy team run by the British Secret Service. Sara, code name Brooklyn, is joined by a group of kids with special spy skills and they are on a mission to save the world from a deadly virus. Kids who love Spy School and other kid spy novels will love this new series.

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City Spies from James Ponti was such a fun book to read. The cover is so eye catching I think most students will pick it up based on that alone. The author does such a great job of getting you invested in these kids and the story that middle grade readers will LOVE the story even more than the cover eye candy. Mr. Ponti’s writing was fabulous and I not only enjoyed the suspense and the mystery of thwarting the bad guy, I really liked how you learn a bit about other cultures as well. I will be having my 13 year old daughter read it l and update my review with her opinion but while I wait, not so patiently, for her to finish and for the next book I have a feeling I will need save up money as my daughter will probably want to go visit Paris after this book too.

I was provided with an electronic ARC through NetGalley and Simon & Shuster Childrens Publishing in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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What a fun ride! I absolutely adored this story, especially Sara and the other characters. Add them to an electric plot and we have a hit. It was also fantastic to see diversity in an exciting action-adventure middle grade story. 12 year old me would've eaten this up! Definitely going to buy this book and its sequels for my younger cousins!

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If you like a twisty, turny, edge of your seat spy story, then read this book. If you like a diverse cast of characters including a Latinx female foster child, then give this book a read. The characters have interesting back stories, think on their feet, go to school, as well as train hard. The adults have their own share of issues. I can't wait to recommend this book to my middle school students who enjoy suspense.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read this arc in exchange for an honest review.

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This is a fast paced and smart story. Brooklyn and the cast of characters are intriguing, full of talent, and have a varied history. I like how Mother (and how Mother is a He!) found each of the characters to bring into the fold as well as his own back story. The spying is clever and full of twists. This is an engaging story that will appeal to many readers.

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4.5 stars

This is a really strong start to what promises to be a great spy/adventure series! In some ways, it reminds me of the Gallagher Girls series, except there is less romance (none so far) and a lot more about the interactions between the different kids as well as the adults who work with them. I also like that this spy school includes both girls and boys. I think this book targets its audience perfectly and I can see many upper elementary/middle school kids eating this up. However, it might feel a tad long for younger kids, but the story is well-written and within the realms of possibility that kids might enjoy reading and imagining themselves in these kids' places. I'm definitely looking forward to future books in the series as some questions are left unanswered at the end of this story (but not in a way that feels like a cliffhanger). I will be recommending this to some of my students!

Thanks to #JamesPonti, #SimonandShusterChildrensPublishing, and #NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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