City Spies
In this new series James Ponti brings together five kids from all over the world and transforms them into real-life spies.Sara Martinez is a hacker. She recently broke into the New York City foster care system to expose her foster parents as cheats and lawbreakers. However, instead of being hailed as a hero, Sara finds herself facing years in a juvenile detention facility and banned from using computers for the same stretch of time. Enter Mother, a British spy who not only gets Sara released from jail but also offers her a chance to make a home for herself within a secret MI6 agency. Operating out of a base in Scotland, the City Spies are five kids from various parts of the world. When they’re not attending the local boarding school, they’re honing their unique skills, such as sleight of hand, breaking and entering, observation, and explosives. All of these allow them to go places in the world of espionage where adults can’t. Before she knows what she’s doing, Sarah is heading to Paris for an international youth summit, hacking into a rival school’s computer to prevent them from winning a million euros, dangling thirty feet off the side of a building, and trying to stop a villain…all while navigating the complex dynamics of her new team. No one said saving the world was easy…

City Spies Details

TitleCity Spies
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 10th, 2020
PublisherAladdin
ISBN-139781534414914
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Adventure, Mystery, Spy Thriller, Espionage

City Spies Review

  • Stuart
    January 1, 1970
    I love this book. You might know that already, because if you've seen it, it has a blurb on the front cover from me. I called it a 'must-read.' But I figured I'd go into a little more detail. James Ponti writes excellent books. His Framed ! series is wonderful. But here, he has upped his game. He has written a book with fun characters, clever settings, intricate set-pieces, great set-ups and pay-offs, humor and charm. It is so much fun. Jame Ponti writes so well that I'm jealous (but in the best I love this book. You might know that already, because if you've seen it, it has a blurb on the front cover from me. I called it a 'must-read.' But I figured I'd go into a little more detail. James Ponti writes excellent books. His Framed ! series is wonderful. But here, he has upped his game. He has written a book with fun characters, clever settings, intricate set-pieces, great set-ups and pay-offs, humor and charm. It is so much fun. Jame Ponti writes so well that I'm jealous (but in the best way possible). Read this book.
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  • Blinn Sheffield
    January 1, 1970
    Five kids from around the world have been recruited to form a top secret spy team at MI6 (which even most of Mi6 doesn't know about). The story focuses on the most recent recruit, Sara aka Brooklyn, a foster kid from New York with incredible computer and hacking skills. She joins up with Paris, Kat, Rio, and Sydney, who each have their own special (and almost superhuman) talents. Their mission is to infiltrate a global youth environmental summit and stop the next attack from a global criminal Five kids from around the world have been recruited to form a top secret spy team at MI6 (which even most of Mi6 doesn't know about). The story focuses on the most recent recruit, Sara aka Brooklyn, a foster kid from New York with incredible computer and hacking skills. She joins up with Paris, Kat, Rio, and Sydney, who each have their own special (and almost superhuman) talents. Their mission is to infiltrate a global youth environmental summit and stop the next attack from a global criminal organization. The story starts mysteriously, as Sara is swept out of juvenile detention by an MI6 agent posing as a lawyer, slows down a bit as Sara/Brooklyn joins up with the team and experiences the inevitable interpersonal conflicts, and then speeds up to a thrilling conclusion as the team stops a devastating virus from being spread. Kids will cheer for the juvenile spies, who make James Bond look like an amateur.
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  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    E ARC provided by Edelweiss PlusSara is a hacker who managed to break into the foster care computer system to report her troublesome foster parents; of course, she is the one who got in trouble. When she is getting ready to appear in court, a dapper British man appears and says he is her new lawyer, and proceeds to get her cleared to go to a special school. She has her doubts about this man, but he has said to trust him, and once he helps her lock her foster parents out on the roof of their E ARC provided by Edelweiss PlusSara is a hacker who managed to break into the foster care computer system to report her troublesome foster parents; of course, she is the one who got in trouble. When she is getting ready to appear in court, a dapper British man appears and says he is her new lawyer, and proceeds to get her cleared to go to a special school. She has her doubts about this man, but he has said to trust him, and once he helps her lock her foster parents out on the roof of their house looking for money so that she can retrieve her belongings from her room, she feels that he must have her best interests at heart. Soon, "Mother" (as he is known) is whisking her off to Scotland. There is a weather observation facility serving as a cover for a clandestine MI6 group of orphans from around the globe who all have special skills. Sara, who is now known as Brooklyn (since all of the children are known as the city from which they came), is replacing a girl who quit to help the local school group participate in a global environmental challenge. Brooklyn and the others (Paris, Sydney, Rio, and Kat(hmandu))are going to participate, but only so that they can make sure that the competition isn't attacked. There have been many instances of people being attacked by the Purple Thumb, and MI6 is employing every unit they can to solve the mystery before more agents die. First, of course, Brooklyn has to learn basic spy skills very quickly, and then has to prepare to enter the Stavros Challenge put forth by Stavros Sinclair and his company, Sinclair Scientifica and held during the Youth Summit for the Environment in Paris. One of Brooklyn's jobs is to learn to scale the outside of a building, get inside, and hack into the computer system. When the kids get to Paris and start their spy operation, however, they find that things are more complicated than they expected. They must rely on their skills, Paris' knowledge of the city, and the ever shifting stream of information in order to figure out and stop the forces of evil. Strengths: Spy mysteries such as Horowitz's Alex Rider (2001), Benway's Also Known As (2013), Bradley's Double Vision (2012) Carter's Gallagher Girls (2005), Stuart Gibbs' various series, Monaghan's A Girl Named Digit (2012), and Muchamore's CHERUB are THE most popular type of book in my middle school library, hands down. Ponti's Framed series does well, but students are going to adore the action, adventure, traveling and environmental concerns of City Spies. Weaknesses: I had the same objection to this as I had to Carter's upcoming The Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valor: There seems to be a trend towards having characters who are orphaned, in foster care, and then approached by some sort of secret organization to work. I know that it helps to get parents out of the way so that middle grade characters can have adventures, but since I do have students who are in foster care, I wish that the portrayal of the system were more realistic.What I really think: Probably have to purchase two copies of this, just to keep up with demand!
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  • Darla
    January 1, 1970
    You can take the kid out of the city, but you can't take the city out of the kid. At the heart of this new mystery from James Ponti is an international team of young spies recruited for their skills and named for the city they came from. Their headquarters (FARM) is in Scotland and they work under the supervision of MI-6. It's a little James Bond and a little Oceans 11. We don't get the back story on all five members of the team, so there has to be another book -- or perhaps a trilogy?Thank you You can take the kid out of the city, but you can't take the city out of the kid. At the heart of this new mystery from James Ponti is an international team of young spies recruited for their skills and named for the city they came from. Their headquarters (FARM) is in Scotland and they work under the supervision of MI-6. It's a little James Bond and a little Oceans 11. We don't get the back story on all five members of the team, so there has to be another book -- or perhaps a trilogy?Thank you to Aladdin and Edelweiss for a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
    January 1, 1970
    What kid could resist this story of a group of super-bright kids who have been brought together to stop bad guys from letting loose a dangerous virus at a world conference to solve problems with weather? Each character is distinct and fascinating in this story, the plot is clever with lots of unexpected twists, and the dialogue is snappy and fun. And it's set in the greatest city in the world, Paris. I couldn't stop reading until I got to the last page.
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  • Renee
    January 1, 1970
    This book was received as an ARC in exchanged for an honest review.This one was so, so, so good. Combining the best parts of my favourite movies growing up; a little bit of the Oceans movies, along with Cody Banks and Spy Kids, I just couldn't put it down! Brooklyn is one of my new fave protagonists, and I want to see so much more of this team. They work well together, in an odd sort of way; you can tell there's more here than just people working together, there's a family deep down underneath This book was received as an ARC in exchanged for an honest review.This one was so, so, so good. Combining the best parts of my favourite movies growing up; a little bit of the Oceans movies, along with Cody Banks and Spy Kids, I just couldn't put it down! Brooklyn is one of my new fave protagonists, and I want to see so much more of this team. They work well together, in an odd sort of way; you can tell there's more here than just people working together, there's a family deep down underneath it all. And believe me, I'm an absolute nerd for found family stories, especially in kids media.The story was challenging in a good way. It could've been another one of those generic "save the world from the bad guys" kind of things, but it felt like it fit more to the fact that these are, despite all else, kids. They're not going for life or death here, (view spoiler)[though scaling a building was definitely something I wasn't expecting, (hide spoiler)] the stakes were high but the actual implementation made sense considering the age of the characters. All in all, a great book. I want more from this world and these characters, I hope there's a sequel and if there isn't I at least hope we get more content in general.
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  • Marti
    January 1, 1970
    City Spies by James Ponti is a middle grade novel. The main characters are a group of eccentric youngsters who are found in different cities around the world. The students are offered an opportunity for a new life as a M16 agent. The children are freed from different situations and are flown to Scotland. The students are called the name of the cities they were found in. Sara Martinez was freed from the NYC juvenile system and is called Brooklyn. She is a computer hacker and is needed for the City Spies by James Ponti is a middle grade novel. The main characters are a group of eccentric youngsters who are found in different cities around the world. The students are offered an opportunity for a new life as a M16 agent. The children are “freed” from different situations and are flown to Scotland. The students are called the name of the cities they were found in. Sara Martinez was “freed” from the NYC juvenile system and is called Brooklyn. She is a computer hacker and is needed for the next assignment. Along with learning “spy” information, the students also go to school. Each has a different set of strengths.The book is a fun read that will catch a number of kids' attention. I think it will be an attractive story to kids who enjoy mysteries and thrillers. City Spies is a book that can start a series and would work as a read aloud starting important conversations about saving the earth, hacking computers, and the strength each student has within them. City Spies by James Ponti is a good middle grade read.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    A middle grade spy novel along the lines of the Alex Rider series and The Mysterious Benedict Society, we have kids teaming up to take on an international villain. The characters are fun and believable (if you accept the premise that MI6 would actually use kids for their ops) and grow in realistic ways. The mystery is not immediately obvious and the adults aren't clueless. I enjoyed the flashbacks that told us how the kids came to be spies and the glimpses of places all over the world. This is a A middle grade spy novel along the lines of the Alex Rider series and The Mysterious Benedict Society, we have kids teaming up to take on an international villain. The characters are fun and believable (if you accept the premise that MI6 would actually use kids for their ops) and grow in realistic ways. The mystery is not immediately obvious and the adults aren't clueless. I enjoyed the flashbacks that told us how the kids came to be spies and the glimpses of places all over the world. This is a great choice for middle grade readers who enjoy some action and mystery, but don't want gore or too much violence. It's not dumbed down or sanitized, but it's clean and fun and easy to follow. I look forward to reading the sequel. Definitely recommended!Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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  • Tonja Drecker
    January 1, 1970
    Spy fans will love being drawn into the international world of danger, espionage and evil villains...while dreaming they could really jump in and help the team.After hacking into the files of the social system, Sarah finds herself about to face two and a half years in detention without computer access. As far as she's concerned, her life is over. Until a perky man steps in claiming to be her lawyer and manages to free her from the system and fly her to Scotland. The catchhe wants her to join a Spy fans will love being drawn into the international world of danger, espionage and evil villains...while dreaming they could really jump in and help the team.After hacking into the files of the social system, Sarah finds herself about to face two and a half years in detention without computer access. As far as she's concerned, her life is over. Until a perky man steps in claiming to be her lawyer and manages to free her from the system and fly her to Scotland. The catch—he wants her to join a team of young spies and stop the evil villain while learning all sorts of wonderful skills.This book grabs from the very beginning, and it was hard not to like Sarah from that very first page. But then, every character springs from the paper with zest, personality and tons of fun quirks. Especially 'Mother' (a male head of the spy group) demands attention with his slick and yet humorous ways. Each team member is a gem, making it hard, as a reader, not to wish one could really join in.The writing is quick-paced, not too descriptive, and flows so wonderfully along. Little nips of humor sprinkle in the adventure to create a fun mix. Throw in Scotland and Paris and a villain, who is fun to dislike, and there isn't much not to like. The author even throws in the history of each member through flashbacks, which add to the depth and story. The only thing which made me frown just a tad-tiny bit is the length. Still, it's more than a ton of fun to read, and I definitely can't wait to see where the series goes next.I received an ARC copy and enjoyed this one quite a bit (the writing is lovely!). So, I'm leaving my honest thoughts.
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  • Karen Arendt
    January 1, 1970
    This is a fast paced and smart story. Brooklyn and the cast of characters are intriguing, full of talent, and have a varied history. I like how Mother (and how Mother is a He!) found each of the characters to bring into the fold as well as his own back story. The spying is clever and full of twists. This is an engaging story that will appeal to many readers.
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  • Aeicha
    January 1, 1970
    Five kids from different parts of the world, with five very different tragic backstories, all have one thing in common: they each possess very special, useful skills. The kind of skills that make for great spies...enter Mother, a MI6 agent, who isnt really a mother, but actually a father. Mother has recruited these five kids, each known for the city they were found in (Paris, Sydney, Rio, Kat, and Brooklyn), to be trained as spies. Prep school students by day- computer hacking, mission going, Five kids from different parts of the world, with five very different tragic backstories, all have one thing in common: they each possess very special, useful skills. The kind of skills that make for great spies...enter Mother, a MI6 agent, who isn’t really a mother, but actually a father. Mother has recruited these five kids, each known for the city they were found in (Paris, Sydney, Rio, Kat, and Brooklyn), to be trained as spies. Prep school students by day- computer hacking, mission going, butt kicking spies by night- these five young spies must train to be ready for anything...which is good since they’re about to embark on their most dangerous and potentially deadly mission ever. James Ponti has once again crafted an unputdownable middle-grade thrill ride! Wickedly clever, excitingly fast-paced, and full of engaging characters, City Spies will keep young readers enthralled from beginning to end. I’m always impressed with Ponti’s masterful storytelling, and City Spies is no exception. Full of cool spy tools and terms, thrilling action, compelling mysteries and smart twists, captivating settings, and fun characters, City Spies is bursting with middle-grade goodness! From the streets of New York to Scotland, Australia, and Paris, readers are in for a whirlwind adventure. Readers will have a blast joining the five young, capable protagonists as they train to be spies, go on breathtaking missions, deal with relatable teen angst, and, of course, save the day. Thrilling, engrossing, awesomely clever, with edge-of-your-seat excitement, City Spies is a spy-tacular must read! I can’t wait for book two!
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  • Joy Smith
    January 1, 1970
    Sara, aka Brooklyn (a new life and a new name), is trapped in the foster care system. When she uses her computer hacking skills to expose her current foster parents, she ends up arrested--instead of them--and is recruited by Mother (an oldie but goodie) and joins a team made up of four other young recruits from around the world. The secret M16 base/school is in Scotland, and she learns new skills there; the courses teach spying techniques. She's a replacement and must also learn to fit in. Sara, aka Brooklyn (a new life and a new name), is trapped in the foster care system. When she uses her computer hacking skills to expose her current foster parents, she ends up arrested--instead of them--and is recruited by Mother (an oldie but goodie) and joins a team made up of four other young recruits from around the world. The secret M16 base/school is in Scotland, and she learns new skills there; the courses teach spying techniques. She's a replacement and must also learn to fit in. They'll be spies in places where adults would stand out. Brooklyn will do more hacking--easier than climbing those high walls--and trying to win an important contest. Well. actually, not quite winning is the goal. And she and her team (Rio, Kat, Sydney, and Paris) must break into buildings and then rooms with complicated security--and figure out who's who. I like all the members of the team, though Sydney may be my favorite--and Monty. I enjoyed this fast-paced book.
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  • Shella
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster for an ARC of City Spies for an honest review. This is the first in a series about phenomenal children gathered around the world to spy for the British Intelligence agency. Each spy has a special talent and as a result this story provides a model of team work. The settings are facinating and as with all spy novels- far- fetched, but in an entertaing and believable way. The main strength is the characters. It is a true ensemble that you as the reader Thank you to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster for an ARC of City Spies for an honest review. This is the first in a series about phenomenal children gathered around the world to spy for the British Intelligence agency. Each spy has a special talent and as a result this story provides a model of team work. The settings are facinating and as with all spy novels- far- fetched, but in an entertaing and believable way. The main strength is the characters. It is a true ensemble that you as the reader want to be part of experiencing. Readers will find themselves on the edge of their seats- cheering on the good guys. Even if your reader has read other kid spy novels- they will want to add this series to their repertoire. I highly recommend this series for upper elementary to middle school readers.
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  • Pam Page
    January 1, 1970
    What an exciting first book in the City Spies series! With a recommendation from Stuart Gibbs I knew I had to read this and enjoyed it from the cover (great cover by the way) to the conclusion! If you have read Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation (by Gibbs) you will probably make comparisons as the two books have similarities yet they are each unique stories that kids will eat up. I loved reading how each of the kids in this book were recruited to the organization and what each of them held as What an exciting first book in the City Spies series! With a recommendation from Stuart Gibbs I knew I had to read this and enjoyed it from the cover (great cover by the way) to the conclusion! If you have read Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation (by Gibbs) you will probably make comparisons as the two books have similarities yet they are each unique stories that kids will eat up. I loved reading how each of the kids in this book were recruited to the organization and what each of them held as talents to the group. Looking forward to more City Spies stories!
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  • Allison
    January 1, 1970
    CITY SPIES is perfect for people looking for action and mystery. Readers will enjoy being part of this team of talented young people from around the world. It's funny and fast-paced with smart, interesting characters, and a twisty plot. I love all of James Ponti's books, but this might be my new favorite!
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  • Yapha
    January 1, 1970
    This was a super fun international spy adventure! A crack team of young teenagers each with their own special skills is recruited to work with the British spy agency. Give this to fans of Stuart Gibbs Spy School and other spy books. I hope that it is the first in a series! Highly recommended for grades 4 & up.eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss
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  • Marisa Groom
    January 1, 1970
    4 1/2?!! I loved this book to pieces. I couldn't put it down. I was only wishing it were a tad shorter. I teach third grade and I'm not sure they'd all get this book but I truly enjoyed reading about the kid spies. It didn't seem too off base that 13 year olds could save the world.
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  • Sarah Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    Well this is just great, and I cant wait for the movie. Well this is just great, and I can’t wait for the movie.
  • LibraryLaur
    January 1, 1970
    This was a fun, fast middle-grade read perfect for fans of kid spy lit.*Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for providing an e-galley in exchange for an honest review!
  • Kari (momfluester) Instagram
    January 1, 1970
    CITY SPIESBy James PontiWow! What an amazing book! Let me say that knowing this was a kids book, I did forget this several times and as an adult I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline, writing and characters of this genius story. It was from the beginning a real page turner and kept me interested, intrigued and wanting more and more. This book is wonderful for middle grade, young adults and adults alike. I promise you will love it.It begins with a 12 year old, Sara in a foster home, who is seen more CITY SPIESBy James PontiWow! What an amazing book! Let me say that knowing this was a kids book, I did forget this several times and as an adult I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline, writing and characters of this genius story. It was from the beginning a real page turner and kept me interested, intrigued and wanting more and more. This book is wonderful for middle grade, young adults and adults alike. I promise you will love it.It begins with a 12 year old, Sara in a foster home, who is seen more as a dollar sign that the foster parents receive from the Government than an actual child. They treat her and another child particularly bad and go out of their way to enforce unjust punishment. One day while in court for using her intelligence to break into some computers, an unknown man comes in to rescue Sara from going away to Juvenile Detention and saving her from the doom she would have faced.Now Sara gets a brief explanation of who he is and where he is from and that she is needed for an important mission. He knows all about her because he is in fact a spy working with a group that was handpicked to work for the British Secret Intelligence Service.She leaves America and finds herself among other kids that have remarkable skills to pull off this mission. They must get to know each other, train together and pull off this Emergency Mission.What happens in between and after will keep you glued to your book until the very last page. A very well deserved 5⭐️ without a doubt!I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
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  • michelle
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to #NetGalley for a review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.What a fabulous start to a new series! I adored this book and can't wait to read more of their adventures. This was definitely one of those books that I didn't want to put down.The story starts by introducing the reader to Sara Martinez. She is on trial for hacking into the NYC Foster care system to show that her current foster parents are scamming the system and are horrible to the kids. Fast forward a bit and Thank you to #NetGalley for a review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.What a fabulous start to a new series! I adored this book and can't wait to read more of their adventures. This was definitely one of those books that I didn't want to put down.The story starts by introducing the reader to Sara Martinez. She is on trial for hacking into the NYC Foster care system to show that her current foster parents are scamming the system and are horrible to the kids. Fast forward a bit and Mother shows up, gets her out of jail, and whisks her off to Scotland to be a part of a secret MI6 spy group of kids.She becomes a part of a special team made up of 4 other kids from various backgrounds with codenames of where they are from - Paris, Rio, Sydney, and Kat. Their individual talents work together perfectly to make them a team, once they learn how to get along with and trust each other. Together they are working on a mission to participate in a youth science summit in order to protect the sponsor from a villain. Things never go as planned, but this team of course wins the day.In addition to it being a fun mystery and spy adventure, the book is also about respecting your own personal talents, being a part of a team, and finding ways to get past your insecurities. It is also about the power of using your talents for the good of all rather than to just make yourself richer. A great start that I can't wait to read more of!
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  • Heidi
    January 1, 1970
    As with his other series, City Spies takes the reader on an exciting ride. The story starts with a bang as Sara Martinez sits in a room at the courthouse waiting for her turn in court. She isn't happy when her public defender tells her that her efforts to achieve justice are likely to get her stuck in juvie for years. Things take a sudden turn when a strange man shows up and pretends to be her new lawyer. With some rather amusing (and unlikely) maneuvering in the courtroom, Sara finds herself on As with his other series, City Spies takes the reader on an exciting ride. The story starts with a bang as Sara Martinez sits in a room at the courthouse waiting for her turn in court. She isn't happy when her public defender tells her that her efforts to achieve justice are likely to get her stuck in juvie for years. Things take a sudden turn when a strange man shows up and pretends to be her new lawyer. With some rather amusing (and unlikely) maneuvering in the courtroom, Sara finds herself on her way to a made up juvenile facility (think Matilda by Roald Dahl). The facility turns out to be a house full of young spies disguised as a weather station. Before she knows it Sara, now called Brooklyn, after her home city, is now training to use her hacking skills in a rapidly approaching spy mission. But Brooklyn gets off to a poor start with some of her fellow spies and may be faced with challenges she just isn't ready to face. But the mission's success is dependent on all five young people learning to work together. I enjoyed reading about Brooklyn and her adjustment to life as a spy. She adjusts surprisingly well, but as a talented hacker, she already had quite a few spy tendencies. Though not entirely believable, the book is highly entertaining and intriguing. The back stories of each of the characters are fascinating as is the way they all come together through the man called Mother. For young readers who enjoy stories of kids doing amazing things and fooling many of the adults around them, this book is a winning option. I look forward to reading the next volume in the series to see what happens to these characters next.
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  • Jacquelyn Yu
    January 1, 1970
    Sara, a twelve-year-old foster child, has just been arrested for hacking government system in an effort to punish the wrongdoings of her foster parents when she is recruited during her hearing to a special MI6 team by a man she is to call Mother. The team, made of a diverse cast of tweens and teens known only by the name of the city in which they were discovered, is preparing for a mission at a youth environmental summit and needs one more member - an experienced hacker. Sara, now called Sara, a twelve-year-old foster child, has just been arrested for hacking government system in an effort to punish the wrongdoings of her foster parents when she is recruited during her hearing to a special MI6 team by a man she is to call Mother. The team, made of a diverse cast of tweens and teens known only by the name of the city in which they were discovered, is preparing for a mission at a youth environmental summit and needs one more member - an experienced hacker. Sara, now called Brooklyn, joins the team on their mission to Paris where they deal with the twists and turns that happen in all god spy stories. While it's never really explained why a team of children and young teens exists, the children's talents are generally reasonable for their ages and each team member is nicely characterized without being pigeon-holed into cliches. Flashbacks throughout serve as a way to flesh out characters and their motivations without detracting from the story taking place. City Spies is an entertaining read, set up perfectly to be a popular series for middle grade readers. The writing is fun and contains enough action to keeps the reader wanting more. I would recommend this title to anyone who enjoys a light action spy story.
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  • Lenoire
    January 1, 1970
    Sara Martinez is a hacker who hacked into the foster care system to expose the crimes of her foster parents. Instead of being thanked for exposing the fraud, she finds herself spending time in a juvenile detention facility along with being banned from using the computer. Mother is a British spy that offers Sara a haven to practice her hacking skills by working with the M16 agency.The five kids who were recruited from across the globe are now based at the M16 in Scotland. When they are not in Sara Martinez is a hacker who hacked into the foster care system to expose the crimes of her foster parents. Instead of being thanked for exposing the fraud, she finds herself spending time in a juvenile detention facility along with being banned from using the computer. Mother is a British spy that offers Sara a haven to practice her hacking skills by working with the M16 agency.The five kids who were recruited from across the globe are now based at the M16 in Scotland. When they are not in school, they are working on developing their unique skills such as hacking, sleight of hand and explosives. This will help them become better spies in the world of espionage. Sara was bought into the team before she was able to be trained. Along with her four teammates, Sara will need to stop a villain along with managing the complex dynamics of her team.I thought the book was a fun read. I like that the author included a diverse cast of characters. I enjoyed reading the background on each character and how they overcame difficult situations. Young readers will enjoy following along with the characters as they solve crimes while learning about themselves.
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  • Mary Sanchez
    January 1, 1970
    Sara Martinez hacks the computer in the juvenile court system to expose her money hungry foster parents, but is almost jailed herself because of her actions, until a spy named Mother, posing as a lawyer, takes her case and gets her released. Sara goes with Mother to Scotland and meets other misfit youth from around the world, who have similar life situations and unique skills too. They become part of a spy network who train so that they can stop villains and in particular, the villain who wants Sara Martinez hacks the computer in the juvenile court system to expose her money hungry foster parents, but is almost jailed herself because of her actions, until a spy named Mother, posing as a lawyer, takes her case and gets her released. Sara goes with Mother to Scotland and meets other misfit youth from around the world, who have similar life situations and unique skills too. They become part of a spy network who train so that they can stop villains and in particular, the villain who wants to introduce a virus at a youth conference in Paris. The idea that the young spies were named for cities around the world where they were discovered by Mother was very creative. Thus Sara became Brooklyn because Mother discovered her in New York City. What an eye opener to read about a virus at the same time the world is reeling because of a virus causing a pandemic. Although each young spy has a special talent, I know I would enjoy seeing them come together as a spy family in future books.
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  • Sarah Tondra
    January 1, 1970
    City Spies from James Ponti was such a fun book to read. The cover is so eye catching I think most students will pick it up based on that alone. The author does such a great job of getting you invested in these kids and the story that middle grade readers will LOVE the story even more than the cover eye candy. Mr. Pontis writing was fabulous and I not only enjoyed the suspense and the mystery of thwarting the bad guy, I really liked how you learn a bit about other cultures as well. I will be City Spies from James Ponti was such a fun book to read. The cover is so eye catching I think most students will pick it up based on that alone. The author does such a great job of getting you invested in these kids and the story that middle grade readers will LOVE the story even more than the cover eye candy. Mr. Ponti’s writing was fabulous and I not only enjoyed the suspense and the mystery of thwarting the bad guy, I really liked how you learn a bit about other cultures as well. I will be having my 13 year old daughter read it l and update my review with her opinion but while I wait, not so patiently, for her to finish and for the next book I have a feeling I will need save up money as my daughter will probably want to go visit Paris after this book too. I was provided with an electronic ARC through NetGalley and Simon & Shuster Childrens Publishing in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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  • Lonna Pierce
    January 1, 1970
    Nick-named for the cities in which they were found/rescued by "Mother," (code name for a male M16 British agent,) Paris, Rio, Sydney, Kat (Kathmandu, Nepal,) and Brooklyn make an awesome and diverse team of middle school-aged spies that become a family. Training & working together to thwart a nefarious mass virus poisoning by Umbra, a treacherous criminal band that is the nemesis of the CIA and M16; they use their various unique skill sets (cyber hacker, mathematical patterns analyst, Nick-named for the cities in which they were found/rescued by "Mother," (code name for a male M16 British agent,) Paris, Rio, Sydney, Kat (Kathmandu, Nepal,) and Brooklyn make an awesome and diverse team of middle school-aged spies that become a family. Training & working together to thwart a nefarious mass virus poisoning by Umbra, a treacherous criminal band that is the nemesis of the CIA and M16; they use their various unique skill sets (cyber hacker, mathematical patterns analyst, magician, survivor, eco-warrior) to solve the crime. Ponti is also the author of the "Framed" series, and knows how to write adventure with plenty of suspense, red herrings, and likeable characters who are ALWAYS underestimated by adults.
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  • Cherie
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed City Spies by James Ponti. Spy stories are fun to read and this story had many elements that were fun. It was clever to have the young spies have code names that match the cities they were from. This helped me to keep track of the many different personalities in this book. The settings were interesting as well: New York, England, Paris, tunnels, secret passages - you name it. The downside of this book is that it took a long time to set up. I think some younger readers could lose I really enjoyed City Spies by James Ponti. Spy stories are fun to read and this story had many elements that were fun. It was clever to have the young spies have code names that match the cities they were from. This helped me to keep track of the many different personalities in this book. The settings were interesting as well: New York, England, Paris, tunnels, secret passages - you name it. The downside of this book is that it took a long time to set up. I think some younger readers could lose interest. It wasn’t a page-turner for me, but I did have fun reading it. I predict that future books in the series will have more action since the character set-up has already been done. Overall, a great read for young readers with good stamina.
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  • Trisha Perry
    January 1, 1970
    Sara is a hacker, but when she sees herself doing time for her hacking, she lucks out and gets a very quirky lawyer and she finds herself not in juvie but in Scotland, at a school of sorts for people like her. This is when the action starts, Sara finds out she was recruited to be a spy for a particular mission, one in which the last person left, making room for her, but will she ever get along with the other spys and make a place for herself on the team?This book is filled with action, suspense, Sara is a hacker, but when she sees herself doing time for her hacking, she lucks out and gets a very quirky lawyer and she finds herself not in juvie but in Scotland, at a school of sorts for people like her. This is when the action starts, Sara finds out she was recruited to be a spy for a particular mission, one in which the last person left, making room for her, but will she ever get along with the other spys and make a place for herself on the team?This book is filled with action, suspense, and just a whole lot of fun. This is a excellent read for anyone, even the reluctant ones. This is a awesome book with wonderful characters you will cheer for. It is a true spy novel for kids, and adults a like.
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  • Kelly Farnsworth
    January 1, 1970
    Just finished James Pontis newest release, City Spies! It took me on a fabulous ride from the first page to the end. Lots of action, mystery, and suspense as a group of 5 kids are individually chosen to be part of an M16 team of spy agents. Great background on each of the characters chosen to be part of the spy team. They have their first mystery and mission to solve together. Great writing and e story flowed so smoothly. Looking forward to reading the next books in this new series by James Just finished James Ponti’s newest release, City Spies! It took me on a fabulous ride from the first page to the end. Lots of action, mystery, and suspense as a group of 5 kids are individually chosen to be part of an M16 team of spy agents. Great background on each of the characters chosen to be part of the spy team. They have their first mystery and mission to solve together. Great writing and e story flowed so smoothly. Looking forward to reading the next books in this new series by James Ponti.
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