Cover Image: Mission Manhattan

Mission Manhattan

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City Spies is one of my favorite series. They are engaging and fun. Very easy to recommend to students. This is another great addition

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I really enjoyed this book. It was different than anything else I've read recently. I couldn't put it down! I will keep an eye out for this author's future work!

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You can not go wrong with a City Spies book!

Seriously! I'm still behind on the series... read the last two, but need to catch up on the beginning ones... but I'm still RIGHT THERE with them! For those that don't know, the City Spies are a group of fantastically amazing kids that all have different talents, strengths, and smarts. Separate, they are remarkable, but together, they are a force! Here, the kids work as a unit while navigating their way through the big city streets (and beyond!) of New York, and while their last mission was tre exotic, you better believe you won't look at the city the same way again!

I won't spoil it for you because being there for the twists and turns, following the case one on one, uncovering the bigger bad as well as the potential leaks within, is all a part of the experience. I, for one, loved the touch of familiar with the story coming stateside because it gave it that much more a chance of readers connecting with it, exploring places mentioned, seeing if some of the secrets revealed are true. You gotta love a story that sparks further investigation, am I right?

A great pick for Children's Fiction fans, young and young at heart, and a fab addition to this excellent series!

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This is a nice addition to the series. The setting is Manhattan so the thrill of the landscape of many landmarks is always fun to read. It does build on the other in the series and best to read in order. Great to read the first one as a read a loud in class to build students interest in the series to continue to read the rest. Great for problem solving, predicting and inference development.

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This is my first introduction to this series and what a treat it was! I absolutely love when a series for middle grade readers packs in a wealth of knowledge in the midst of action-packed, flawless writing. From Venice, Italy to Washington DC and Manhattan in the United States, readers are treated to endless adventures with the City Spies! A perfect blend of thrilling action, historical facts, and endearing child humor (spoiler alert: the author said “wedge” 🤣). City Spies: Mission Manhattan is a wonderful read, allowing kids to stretch their imagination and see themselves as the heroes.
Jack, age 11 loved: The costumes at the beginning, the sneakiness of some of the characters, and the action!

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This is my favorite kid spy book series. People compare it to Spy School, but I find the ensemble of this series to be way more likable, and their back stories can even get me invested emotionally. Not just laughs, but there's some of the universal quest for identity, belonging, and purpose woven into these books. Love!

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I'm a huge James Ponti fan. I feel like he writes kids well and writes for kids even better. City Spies, the series in general, offers the best of friendships, espionage, found family, travel, and good character arcs. His latest installment, Mission Manhattan, was a prime example of all those things. I loved getting to know Rio better, learning about the various places they traveled, and the cliffhanger at the end. These are a pleasure for both adults and kids.

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Some might say this is the best in the series, even though we all have a favorite character and our favorite book might be the one dedicated to them. Unputdownable as the others, if you ask me, and can be read as a standalone!

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The best adventure with the City Spies yet! Through friendship, these kids venture out in full action as agents. In this story, they follow one teen as the adults get themselves into trouble. Relationships continue to grow and new characters are introduced. Not everything is sunshine and roses, as they face agony and struggles too. Even though the series is fiction, the author does a fabulous job of addressing real life situations that kids face. Once again, I’m impressed by the City Spies and hope the series never ends!

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The fact that Mission Manhattan is five books deep into the City Spies series won't stop new readers from being able to jump right in. Our heroes are the young members of a secret branch of MI6: highly talented teens, trained to take on spy missions where an adult presence. They're also a family, led both parentally and professionally by their mutually adoptive father (nicknamed "Mother"). And, just as the City Spies themselves are from (and codenamed after) locations around the world, their latest mission takes them all around the globe.

What starts as an undercover mission at a youth environmental rally turns into an investigation into a potential murder plot. As young spy Rio takes the lead, the team travels to Manhattan to find out who's truly behind the attempted killing. But there's trouble within the City Spies as a difficult family tie could compromise the mission.

I'm a big believer that a book being accessible to younger readers doesn't mean it's dumbed down. This entry in the City Spies series definitely fits that bill. Alongside being a good fit for middle readers, it's an excellent first step into the genre. Young readers learn the basis of spycraft, and thus spy fiction, alongside the City Spies. Plus, with its unflinching view of the ups and downs of family, it's an excellent choice for families to read together.

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"Mission Manhattan" by James Ponti is an exhilarating addition to the series, offering readers another high-stakes adventure with the City Spies. In this fifth installment, Ponti masterfully combines espionage, suspense, and the vibrant backdrop of New York City to create a thrilling narrative that keeps readers hooked from start to finish.

The story unfolds as the City Spies, under the leadership of Rio, embark on a mission to protect a young climate activist facing a credible threat. The timely and relevant premise adds a layer of social awareness to the plot, making it not only an entertaining read but also one that addresses contemporary issues. The inclusion of a new member to the team injects fresh dynamics into the group, keeping the narrative dynamic and engaging.

Ponti's writing style is fast-paced and well-suited for the target audience, capturing the attention of young readers who enjoy the spy genre. The author skillfully balances action sequences with moments of camaraderie and humor, creating a narrative that is both exciting and lighthearted. The use of New York City as the setting adds an extra layer of intrigue, with the characters navigating iconic locations and even exploring hidden spaces beneath the New York Public Library.

The plot's twists and turns keep readers on the edge of their seats, and the inclusion of various locations, from the outer boroughs to the UN Headquarters, adds a sense of adventure and discovery. The narrative unfolds seamlessly, with well-integrated clues and challenges that allow readers to follow the characters' investigation while maintaining an element of surprise.

One of the strengths of "Mission Manhattan" lies in its ability to provide a satisfying continuation of the series while introducing new elements to keep the story fresh. The characters continue to evolve, and their interactions remain a highlight, showcasing the importance of teamwork and friendship. The combination of espionage, technology, and the unique skills of each spy adds depth to the narrative.

In conclusion, "Mission Manhattan" is a five-star success that delivers another exciting mission for the City Spies. James Ponti's ability to create a compelling and relevant storyline, combined with a well-crafted setting and dynamic characters, makes this installment a must-read for fans of the series and young readers who enjoy thrilling adventures. Whether you're a fan of spy novels or simply looking for an action-packed and entertaining read, "Mission Manhattan" delivers on all fronts.

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Quick Summary: A high stakes action/adventure YA read

My Review: Mission Manhattan by James Ponti is book five in the City Spies series.

About the Book: Plots and plans, codes and clues, gadgets and guts, secrets and truths exist in plain sight. As the team works to protect a young activist, they become even more aware of what they are up against. At the same time, they deal with the challenges and struggles that come from life, family, and friendships.

My Final Say: Who is the real enemy? What threat awaits? Is anything what it seems? What's up with that cliffhanger? Can you tell I'm well and truly hooked??? 🤓 Each installment gets better and better.

Rating: 5/5
Recommend: Yes
Audience: MG/YA
Series: Yes
Status/Level: ⭐👍💬

Appreciation is extended to the author, to the publisher (Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing, Aladdin), and to NetGalley. Thank you for the opportunity to review this exciting work of fiction. The words I have voluntarily shared are my own.

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This one is the best in the series so far! I just love how this series is so engaging - impossible to set down and how much kids learn while reading it. Each reader can see themselves in one of these characters.

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4.5 stars
This is one of my favorite books in this series so far! This book followed the recipe of the others, we are immediately thrown into the middle of a mission at the very beginning, we got back to the FARM to regroup, then continue on with the mission in a different way.
In this one, the group is tasked to keep watch over a youth environmental protest in Venice, Italy. The main speaker, Beatriz is a possible target. As she is on her way by boat to speak to members of the UN, Rio who has been invited to tag along, spots a bomb and heroically gets everyone off the boat and no one is harmed. With the plan thwarted, the team thinks the bombers will try again when Beatriz speaks in Washington DC.
This one was very exciting. Parts of the others dragged a little bit, but I felt like this one had more action and plots and excitement. The team worked so well together despite what seemed like endless snags in their plans and they continued to learn from each other and their surroundings. Everything that went into this mission was so well thought out and intricate. There was a lot to it, the parts that went as they were supposed to, and the parts that didn't go the way they had hoped.
The very last paragraph made me so intrigued to read the next book even though this one isn't even out yet!

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City Spies Mission Manhattan was an exciting adventure. Young spies in a fun mysterious place protecting and helping people along the way. This goes along with the series perfectly, but with just a bit more adventure. A five out of five stars!

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The resourceful young agents of James Ponti’s terrific middle grade series City Spies are back for their fifth adventure, this time protecting a young environmentalist from forces who will stop at nothing to silence her powerful voice for change.

Teenager Beatriz Santos is a rock star in the global protest movement, with dedicated followers who call her Queen Bea and themselves The Swarm. Her fame and persuasive power, however, have made her a target for factions unhappy with how her outspoken defense of the planet has cut into their own profits. The City Spies have thus been assigned to covertly protect her while she’s speaking at a demonstration against global warming in Venice, Italy. Their youth makes it easier for them to blend in with the crowd while they search for the very credible threat against her life.

Rio, whose codename is derived from the city where he was recruited, has been given the task of personally guarding her. Helped by their shared background as Brazilians, he and Beatriz quickly bond. The rest of the team – kids and their two adult handlers included – split into different groups in order to figure out who’s targeting her. Mother, the codename for the MI6 agent who’s basically adopted each orphaned kid and turned them all into a family, is given instructions by their computer whiz Brooklyn as he’s attempting to finesse Italian security:

“Okay, I’m at a computer,” he relayed to Brooklyn. “What do you want me to do? Hack the motherboard? Override the password?”

“Those aren’t even things,” Brooklyn replied. “Do you know what any of those words actually mean?”

“No, but you can walk me through it,” Mother said. “Just do it fast, because if anyone catches me, I could get in big trouble.”

“Check the desktop,” Brooklyn said.

“Sure thing. Which icon do you want me to click”

“Not the computer desktop. The actual desktop that the computer is sitting on. Is there a business card?”

“Yes,” Mother replied, confused. “Why?”

“I need the email address of whoever works on the computer,” she explained. “Take a picture and send it to me.”

When a terrorist attack disrupts the event despite the team’s best efforts, Rio’s success in saving Beatriz’ life has him hailed as a hero. The City Spies are certain, however, that the assassins won’t stop at this near miss. Their investigations lead them to Washington DC, where catastrophe strikes, forcing the team to split up. As half the team goes to protect their mission, will the other half be able to recover someone they dearly love?

Fast-paced, funny and rooted strongly in the realistic, Mission Manhattan has been my favorite book of this series so far. I love Brooklyn’s emphasis on social engineering being just as important as any other aspect of hacking, as well as the marvelous attention to detail when it comes to describing my favorite city. This last poignantly informs Rio’s own questioning of where he’s from and where he truly belongs, as an embassy attache points out how his quandary is surprisingly Churchillian:

“How am I <i>like</i> a statue of Winston Churchill?” Rio asked, perplexed.

“Look at his feet,” he said. “He’s not standing; he’s in midstride, and the statue was built right atop the embassy’s boundary. That means he has one foot in the United Kingdom and the other in the United States. He connects the two. Like you with Brazil and the UK.”

“I like that,” Rio replied. “One foot in each country.”

“Come look at my favorite part.” He motioned for Rio and Monty to move behind Churchill. “Across the street there’s a statue of Nelson Mandela in front of the South African embassy. He’s raising a fist in triumph, and if you stand right here behind Sir Winston, it looks like they’re waving at each other and saying hello.”

This installment also explores the storyline with the team’s newest agent, codenamed Cairo, that was brought to the fore in the last book, 2023’s <a href=””>City Of The Dead</i>. His integration with the rest of the team, even as he battles his conflicting loyalties, is both heartwarming and suspenseful. It’s also great to read more of Rio’s background and recruitment in addition to his concerns regarding his identity. As a third culture kid myself, I could absolutely identify with his dilemma, and love that readers growing up today will have such an excellent role model in terms of loving and appreciating all the parts of who you are, no matter where you’re from or where you live now.

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Thank you to NetGalley, author James Ponti, and Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing: Aladdin for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for my honest opinion!

Anytime a new City Spies installment comes out, it is an immediate read for me! I first discovered City Spies through the Lone Star Award list that came out right after I was hired as a children's librarian. It was my favorite read off of the list, and thankfully each subsequent book has lived up to the first. I really enjoyed getting to see more of Cairo in this book and watching his relationship grow with the kids was sweet. There were a lot of great heists and scheming in this book and definitely no lack of action. The book ended on a big cliff hanger that already has me excited to see where the team goes in book 6!

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As with each previous Spy kids novel, this one jumps right into the action and keeps you hooked until the end. I thoroughly enjoyed the environmental aspect of this story as well as the multi-layered family/friends story that the author has continued through each novel. It's interesting to see each individual character grow a little bit in each book and this one was especially nice to see. Rio is in the spot light through out this story. For me, he has blended in to the back ground of the other books a little and it's nice to see his personality shine through as he faces diverse situations. It was also great to see that the Kids and Adults in these novels are not perfect and make mistakes just like normal people, even though they are top secrete spy's!

I highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys adventures around the world,a lot of high tech spy craft & international intrigue.

I received a free E-ARC from Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing, Aladdin and Netgalley for my honest review.

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City Spies: Mission Manhattan by James Ponti is book 5 in this exciting series. My son and I have read all of the previous books in this series and could not wait for this latest installment. While you could read this book as a standalone novel, it is so much better read in sequence. All of the books in this series are exciting but this book was the best yet. I’m not sure which of us enjoyed the book more— myself or my son! This series is absolutely captivating with just enough suspense to keep kids (and parents) hooked. This book’s ending left us questioning everything yet again. We cannot wait for book 6! I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher with no obligations. These opinions are entirely my own.

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This series does not disappoint! Full of adventure, new foods and places the City Spies are exploring. I love the relationships that the kids have built and how genuine and real the emotions they feel are portrayed. I have shared these books with my own kids and look forward to many more in the series!

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