Spy Camp: Spy School, Book 2

Book review by
Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media
Spy Camp: Spy School, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Smart teen spy sequel ups the action and explosions.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 8+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids will learn a bit about survival in the wilderness, such as the usefulness of duct tape and solid critical thinking skills.

Positive Messages

Spy Camp portrays intelligence, quick thinking, and resourcefulness in a positive light. It imparts valuable lessons about self-confidence, viewing others compassionately in spite of their limitations, and the importance of putting differences aside to work as a team, particularly in a crisis. It also conveys the notion that people are not always what they appear, and should be given greater consideration.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Teen characters are realistically concerned with appearances, popularity, members of the opposite sex, and fitting in. Adults are often present and caring. Characters who are flawed are often portrayed as having some genuine motive, and therefore not entirely simply good or bad. In one instance, characters steal items without consequence. There's excellent gender parity, with female characters shown as capable and intelligent as the boys, if not more so.


There's sustained peril and frequent violence. A pond with Koi fish in it is electrocuted, killing the fish. There are multiple instances of explosions, such as blowing up a mine and destroying a mountain. A man is sedated with an injection. A character dies in an explosion, but it's not described graphically.


Boys often discuss girls in terms of their "hotness." There's frequent discussion of a crush a boy has on a girl, with the boy often imagining the two on dates.


Frequent name-calling typical of teens, with put-downs such as "wuss," "dork," and "whack-job."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A stolen drug is used to inject a man with a sedative.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Spy Camp, the sequel to Spy School, is a mystery about a summer camp that trains teens to be future spies and is full of the sustained peril and weapons-obsessed mayhem typical of the spy genre. In this series, the violence is more cartoonish than realistic and often plays for humor. A character dies in an explosion, but it's not graphic, and there's no bloodshed. The book also has a few instances of stealing to aid a character, for which there are no consequences. There's no swearing but frequent name-calling typical of teens, such as "wuss," "dork," and "whack-job."

User Reviews

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  • Kids say

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Kid, 12 years old June 16, 2014


An amazing book; had me gripped right to the end. I wouldn’t recommend it for younger children as it has quite a lot of violence in it. Age 10 and upwards, I t... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old March 16, 2019

Spy Camp: A Really Good Book!

Spy Camp is book two in the spy school series. You should start with the first of the series if you want to read it! In this book, Ben must go to the Spy Summer... Continue reading

What's the story?

In this high-octane sequel to Spy School, Ben Ripley is off to summer camp to endure hands-on wilderness survival training from the best the CIA has to offer -- or so he thinks. Soon, international evil organization SPYDER is hot on his trail again, this time, ready to make good on the threats they never quite pulled off in the previous installment. Does Ben harbor secret talents he's never managed to tap into, or is he still just classic spy-bait?

Is it any good?

As a sequel, Spy Camp ups the ante in terms of action sequences and thrilling moments. It's written near-cinematically in terms of pacing and visual thrills, so it's no surprise that author Stuart Gibbs has also written for film and television.

Kids who loved Spy School will find Ben more confident as he travels deeper into the labyrinth of the covert operations underworld here, but the familiar nods to history, nerdy endeavors, and dorky humor will still entertain. Parents can appreciate that this sequel continues to set a high bar for marrying the guilty pleasure of blockbuster spy movies with an affection for big words, history, and an admiration for experience and wisdom, and also gets gender parity right.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Familes can talk about depictions of spies in television or films vs. how they're portrayed in Spy Camp. How are they similar? How are they different? 

  • Critical thinking comes in handy in escaping many dangerous situations in Spy Camp. When has critical thinking helped in your life? What was the outcome?

  • Ben Ripley wonders if he has secret skills he doesn't know about. Have you ever discovered a secret talent you didn't know you had? What was it? How did you discover it?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love mystery and adventure

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