Life is hard as an uncared for foster kid bouncing from home to home. Just when twelve-year-old Sara Martinez thinks that her hacker skills have doomed her to a life in trouble with the law, she discovers the exciting world of international spying. Soon she is recruited into a secret spy organization as their computer expert.

With little time to train, she is trust onto a team with an important mission. But will it be too much to handle? Explore the hidden world of kid spies in this laugh-out-loud story that will excite young readers on every page.

City Spies by James Ponti

Cities Spies

Author: James Ponti

Age Range: 8 – 12

Grade Level: 3 – 7

Paperback: 384 pages

Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook

The story begins with Sara sitting with her public defender in a waiting room in family court in Brooklyn, New York. She had been caught for hacking in the juvenile justice database. It didn’t matter that she did it for a good reason. No one cared that it was to protect a fellow foster kid from their abusive foster parents. She was still facing two years in juvenile detention and no more access to computers.

That is when a fancy dressed, British lawyer walked in to change her life. Turns out he was a spy for MI6, leading a crack team of kid spies. He helps her escape and recruits her to come to Scotland and join the team. They are in desperate need for a skilled hacker to for an upcoming mission. Since each of the kid spies were nicknamed after the cities they came from, Sara’s new name became Brooklyn. She starts out with a handful of tests and training exercises to learn the spy game and get to know her teammates.

Then the orders came in for Operation Willy Wonka. Their job was to infiltrate an international scientific competition at the Global Youth Summit on the Environment. The sponsor was a lone, eccentric billionaire who rarely comes out in public. He is in danger of attack or being kidnapped by other organizations or the mysterious Purple Thumb.

Their plan is to place between sixth and tenth to ensure they can stay close to him to protect him without catching the scrutinizing eyes of the media if they win. But this is complicated by an old spy teammate of theirs leading another team in the competition. Action ensures and secrets will be revealed in this hilarious middle grade, spy thriller.

This is a fabulous book with fun, interesting characters. It is fast paced and full of fun humor that made me laugh out loud over and over. I especially loved the spy lingo and playful banter of the team and they worked together on missions.

Young readers will delight in this exciting book. It’s a great introduction to spy novels.