Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls by Beth McMullen

  Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls by Beth McMullen, Aladdin, 2017. 9781481490207

Format: ARC

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Genre:  Realistic/adventure fiction

What did you like about the book? Twelve year old Abby, a “chronic user of poor judgement,” is unexpectedly sent to a boarding school by her mom. Unable to quell her natural feistiness, she spies on the headmaster, and finds out that her new school is a cover for a team of teen-aged spies. The headmaster, Mrs. Smith, is the head spy and Abby’s mother, who has gone missing, is one of their best agents. Abby is sent on a mission to lure the bad guys to her, which is supposed to get her mom to come out of hiding, in order to get on the case.  Abby’s voice is humorous and witty, and the fast paced story of adventure and espionage in an elite boarding school and beyond is an enjoyable read.

Anything you didn’t like about it? The bad guy, The Ghost, is a fuzzy amalgam of all possible evil, and lacks a believable identity. It is hard to feel the danger when the description of the villain is so indistinct.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Offer this to kids 9-13 who liked Michael Beil’s The Red Blazer Girls or Stuart Gibbs’ Spy School series.

Who should buy this book? Middle school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Children’s fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: April 23, 2017

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