Spy School (Spy School #1)

by Stuart Gibbs (Author)

Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade
Series: Spy School
Can an undercover nerd become a superstar secret agent? Maybe not, but it'll be fun to watch him try!

Ben Ripley may only be in middle school, but he's already pegged his dream job: C.I.A. or bust. Unfortunately for him, his personality doesn't exactly scream "secret agent." In fact, Ben is so awkward, he can barely get to school and back without a mishap. Because of his innate nerdiness, Ben is not surprised when he is recruited for a magnet school with a focus on science--but he's entirely shocked to discover that the school is actually a front for a junior C.I.A. academy. Could the C.I.A. really want him?

Actually, no. There's been a case of mistaken identity--but that doesn't stop Ben from trying to morph into a supercool undercover agent, the kind that always gets the girl. And through a series of hilarious misadventures, Ben realizes he might actually be a halfway decent spy...if he can survive all the attempts being made on his life!
Select format:
$8.54 $8.99

More books in the series - See All

Other series you might like

Publishers Weekly

In Gibbs's (Belly Up) addition to the "child spy" genre, the CIA is (yet again) secretly recruiting kids, and Ben Ripley is the awkward 12-year-old brought into the academy, in this case under the pretense of attending a science-oriented boarding school in Virginia. The cliches (and plot holes) come as expected, from the ease with which Ben's parents accept his leaving immediately for a school they've never visited, to Ben's early struggles at the school and the presence of a traitor in the program. Depending on the dictates of the plot, the spies shift from hypercompetent (the CIA knows everything about Ben, including the extent of his hidden crush, and secretly inserts questions into standardized tests to assess children nationwide) to ineffectual (they are unable to identify a teenage mole or detect intruders). The supporting cast is occasionally interesting (school bully Chip makes a good early antagonist), but Gibbs doesn't offer much in the way of originality to readers who have seen this plot before. Ages 8-12. Agent: Jennifer Joel, ICM. (Mar.)

Copyright 2012 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Gr 5-8--Ben Ripley, a 12-year-old math genius, receives a mysterious summons to join the Academy of Espionage, a secret recruitment arm of the CIA. Since his life's ambition is to become a spy, he is thrilled by the offer, but his first day is hardly what he expected. It involves ninjas, flying bullets, and Erica, the most beautiful girl he has ever seen. A fellow student asks him to hack into the computer mainframe for him because the rumor mill says that Ben has great cryptography skills. Later that night another agent breaks into his room to kidnap him. It turns out someone keeps leaking sensitive information, and Ben's recruitment was set up strictly as a ploy to find the mole; he is a perfect target for the organization of rogue double agents that has infiltrated the school. Most of the adults are so inept and clueless that Ben and Erica, with the help of their fellow students, save the school from being destroyed by a giant bomb hidden in a secret passageway. Twists and turns in the plot keep readers guessing until the very end. The story, over-the-top funny, combines Alex Rider's espionage skills with a huge dose of the sarcasm of Artemis Fowl. Subtle digs at the stuffiness of a federal agency and the romance of spying abound. The book ends with a letter, fully redacted of all sensitive information, to the Director of Internal Investigations recommending Ben's continued attendance at the school, leaving room for a sequel or two.--Diana Pierce, Leander High School, TX

Copyright 2012 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

This book looks awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love this book

Edit Your Review

It has a great plot and characters.

Stuart Gibbs
Stuart Gibbs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Charlie Thorne series, FunJungle series, Moon Base Alpha series, Once Upon a Tim series, and Spy School series. He has written screenplays, worked on a whole bunch of animated films, developed TV shows, been a newspaper columnist, and researched capybaras (the world's largest rodents). Stuart lives with his family in Los Angeles. You can learn more about what he's up to at StuartGibbs.com.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication date
March 20, 2012
Spy School
BISAC categories
JUV001000 - Juvenile Fiction | Action & Adventure
JUV035000 - Juvenile Fiction | School & Education
JUV028000 - Juvenile Fiction | Mysteries, Espionage, & Detective Stories
Library of Congress categories
Spy stories
Edgar Allan Poe Awards
Nominee 2013 - 2013
Georgia Children's Book Award
Alternate 2014 - 2014
Colorado Children's Book Award
Nominee 2014 - 2014
Volunteer State Book Awards
Nominee 2014 - 2015
South Carolina Childrens, Junior and Young Adult Book Award
Nominee 2014 - 2015
Virginia Readers Choice Award
Nominee 2015 - 2015

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!