Evil Spy School: Spy School, Book 3

Book review by
Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media
Evil Spy School: Spy School, Book 3 Book Poster Image
Ben is lured to the dark side in fun, action-packed sequel.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 5 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Strong messages about the value of smarts, problem solving, and loyalty.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Though adults are largely peripheral and usually good or bad, teens Ben and Erica have strong ethics, loyalty, and a clear sense of right and wrong.


Fighting, gunfire, explosions, a fistfight in a cafeteria with blows to the head and neck. Narrowly dodged gunfire, gunfire from police, a near-drowning. Missile explosions send agents flying, and a girl gets punched in the stomach.


Teen boys discuss hot girlfriends; girls play on the beach in bikinis while a teen boy photographs them surreptitiously with a long-lens camera; boy discusses crush on girl; boy and girl hold hands.


Minor insults, such as "jerk," "bozo," "moron, "idiot," and "scumbag."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Evil Spy School is the third book in Stuart Gibbs' teen-spy series, following Spy Camp and Spy School. Here, Ben Ripley continues his mission as an undercover agent, only this time for the dark side. A kid-friendly distillation of the spy genre, it has gunfire, fistfights, explosions, and lots of double crossing. However, it often upends expectations to show that spying is decidedly less glamorous than it looks in the movies and that problem solving and smarts are essential to survival. As the teen spies fight bad guys, crack codes, and uncover secret missions, their biggest mission is learning to trust one another and develop a sense of ethics against the lure of weapons, gadgets, and the promise of lots of money.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byNicolas M. November 14, 2016


Kid, 10 years old February 2, 2021

Spy school

I think that the book evil spy school is a litttle bit too much. It gets a little inapropriate and violent, but that is not my main concern. A lot of it is a lo... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bySt. Dominic Lit 8 April 3, 2019

A very entertaining book, the definition of a must read

This is probably the best Spy School book in the series. This book has it all: explosions, car chases, and of course spies. This book's main theme is abo... Continue reading

What's the story?

Ben Ripley just accidentally blew up the principal's office with a round of live mortar. Now kicked out of school, he's surprised to learn that the enemy operatives at SPYDER have a job for him, offering lots of money. The trouble is, he'll have to betray everyone he's ever cared about at Spy School.

Is it any good?

EVIL SPY SCHOOL carries on the series' tradition of combining jokes, smarts, and action, including typically cinematic fight scenes, explosions, and near-death experiences. Here, Ben Ripley is finally lured to the dark side, and fans of the earlier books will enjoy more of the same wit, suspense, and double-crossing of the earlier books. This book is a little less of a page-turner, as Ben spends much more time getting his bearings with SPYDER than charging into action as in previous books.

The violence is kept to a plot-moving but not-graphic minimum, and Gibbs get points for his commitment to gender balance: Here, two teen girls have extraordinary smarts and power, and one of them even gets to be evil. Mystery fans will enjoy a balanced, fun, suspenseful tale of outsmarting evil that doesn't shortchange anyone in the process.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Evil Spy School's portrayal of intelligence. What type of smarts are valued, and why?

  • How does Evil Spy School portray gender in terms of spy training? Does it feel balanced? Why, or why not? Who's the top spy in the school, and why?

  • Do you think teens could be good spies in real life? Why, or why not? Does Evil Spy School show their limitations and strengths realistically?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love mystery and adventure

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate