Who hasn’t been curious about the world of spies? And how cool would it be if you found out that the boarding school you’ve been sent to is actually a secret spy school? Some kids want to go to school to be witches and wizards, some are more intrigued by the notion of being a secret agent a la Mission Impossible or my recent fun read, Etiquette & Espionage. In Beth McMullen’s middle grade series Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls, they get a look at a school created just for modern day spies.
I was able to get an early read of Power Play (July 3, 2018 by Aladdin), the second book in this series, thanks to the Kid Lit Exchange. All opinions are my own.
Power Play was a really fun book and you didn’t have to read book #1 for it to make complete sense. The book centers around Abby Hunter and her friends. They are all students at a special spy school and they are also obsessed with an online game called Monster Mayhem. Abby is a bit of a wild card, unwilling to obey rules and not always thinking things through before moving forward. The word “plan” doesn’t seem to be in her vocabulary. When her best friend Todd’s father, who also happens to be the inventor of Monster Mayhem, gets kidnapped from the school, Abby and her friends, Izumi and Charlotte, are on the case. The usual missteps and mess-ups happen as 12 year olds try to save Drexel Caine without telling any adults what they are doing.
One of the neat things about this book is that Abby keeps messing up. She isn’t actually in spy school yet. Her school is a front for a spy school and the girls haven’t yet started spy training. She means well, but finds that she doesn’t always think things through perfectly and gets herself and her friends into some sticky situations. But even when she struggles, she doesn’t give up and admits that she still has a lot to learn. The other part that I appreciated was how much she both realized and acknowledged that she needed her friends and that they worked better as a team than as individuals. They each had special talents that together made them stronger.
This is a fun series that gives us strong female characters, highlights bravery but reminds you not to jump into things without thinking things through, and is in its heart a story of friendship. I kind of want to go back and read book one (if only I had time!) but I see this as a series that a lot of 8-12 year old girls are going to get into.