Parents' Guide to

Spy School, Book 1

By Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Clever, fast-paced mystery mixes spy thrills and teen drama.

Book Stuart Gibbs Mystery 2012
Spy School, Book 1 Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 10 parent reviews

age 13+


The author does a great job of generating page-turning suspense and interest, but the references to girls and their "hotness" was so SO incessant. By about 20% of the way in to the story, Ben's friend calls him on his cellphone to brag that he got ice cream with Ben's crush, to which Ben says there's a girl at his new school who's hotter anyway and he'll take a picture of her the next time he sees her and text it to his friend as proof. There's so much ickiness just in this exchange that I gave up on the book there and returned it. (And there is a weird amount of swearing that makes it hard to tell what age this is even supposed to be for.)

This title has:

Too much swearing
3 people found this helpful.
age 9+

Disturbed my daughter with the cursing

Three chapters into the book my daughter had come across several curse words which were totally unnecessary . She was enjoying the book so it was unfortunate that this interrupted her reading and made her feel uneasy to continue.

This title has:

Too much swearing
2 people found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (10 ):
Kids say (39 ):

SPY SCHOOL's a fun, fast-paced read for middle schoolers up to teens. Author Stuart Gibbs manages to drop in the kind of allusions to old-school spy films and TV shows from James Bond to Mission Impossible, while believably inhabiting the real-world concerns of teens: fitting in, being attractive to the opposite pants, not being mortified in front of your peers every five seconds.

It traffics in the tropes of the genre -- weapons, danger, fisticuffs -- but Gibbs does it with such humor, nonchalance, and smarts that the reader feels in on the joke. Kids who identify as nerds or brainiacs will enjoy a book where being smart and quick-witted are an asset worthy of instant popularity, and the author doesn't talk down to them or shy away from using a sophisticated vocabulary (word of the day: soporific). Parents can appreciate the positive messages about intelligence, and a strong female heroine in Erica, who outfoxes everyone she comes into contact with.

Book Details

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