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March 6, 2020

City Spies by James Ponti ~ a Review

by MK French

Sarah Martinez hacked into the New York City foster care system to expose her foster parents as cheats and lawbreakers, but she was the one that would be punished. Mother, the man collecting troubled tweens and teens with extraordinary skills that can be useful for MI6, recruited her right out of the courtroom. Operating out of Scotland, Mother and his team have to use their unique skills to get Sarah up to speed in joining them on their next mission. The group has to go to Paris for an international youth summit, protecting the summit’s sponsor and try to stop the terrorists attacking similar meetings.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

March 2020; Aladdin; 978-1534414914
audio, ebook, print (384 pages); children's
The premise for City Spies is fascinating, and it’s the start of a new series. Kids always feel that they know things that adults don’t, but these are kids that actually do. Sarah is a talented hacker, and she also has keen observation skills honed by years in the foster system. When she’s recruited into the organization, she takes on the name Brooklyn, as the kids use names based on cities they’re from to hide their actual identities. The others are gifted at various skills and had similar hardscrabble origins. That doesn’t stop them from being teenagers, with some difficulty handling new kids, secrets, and being seen for their talents. These issues are larger than those most tweens would have, but that feeling is universal and one that they will be able to commiserate with.

The adults in the book, for the most part, are understanding and supportive, treating the kids like adults where they can and like children at other times. It’s a hard balance to strike with kids, but Mother and the others that usually work with the kids manage it well. The spy aspect is introduced to the reader as Sarah is introduced to the group, and the kids all get their time to showcase their talents before the big summit. It’s only because of their different skills and backgrounds that they’re even able to uncover ways to approach the mission, as well as the actual culprit.

This is a wonderfully self-contained story that wraps up the immediate story it wants to tell. The plot hooks are there for the rest of the series, however. Mysteries abound with Umbra, Mother’s ex and his hidden children, as well as the other City Spies. They might get along well and enjoy each others’ company, but that doesn’t mean their stories are complete. I really look forward to future novels in this series.

Buy City Spies at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband and three young children.

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  1. i'm nor surprised kids know more than we think they do, whether in a novel or real live. sometimes we forget they are around, always listening. :-)
    sherry @ fundinmental