Spy School Project X (Spy School #10)

 
4.5 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
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Spy School Project X (Spy School #10)
Author(s)
Age Range
8+
Release Date
September 06, 2022
ISBN
978-1534479494
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In the tenth book in the New York Times bestselling Spy School series, Ben Ripley races against time and across state lines—by car, train, boat, and plane—to avoid his new cyber enemies and track down Murray Hill.

Ben Ripley’s longtime nemesis, Murray Hill, has put a price on Ben’s head and accused him of being at the center of a conspiracy on the internet. Now Ben finds himself in his greatest danger yet, on the run from both assassins and conspiracy theorists.

Ben must find Murray before his machinations catch up to Ben—but with so much at stake, even some of Ben’s most trusted friends might not be at the top of their game, leaving Ben to be tested like never before.

Editor reviews

2 reviews
Is it the end?
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Ben's parents have been relocated to Florida, and he's deep into exams, but when he has a visit with the principal, the principal's office is blown up again. Luckily, Ben is with Professor Crandall, who isn't as doddering as he looks, and he eventually intercepts Sal Minella, who tells the group (which includes Zoe, Erica, and Mike) that Murray Hill has circulated a ridiculous conspiracy theory about Ben and issued a huge reward if anyone will kill him! This opens him up to assassination attempts from all over. It's all they can do to get out of the DC area, get help from another Hale (the fabulous analyst, Mary Hale, Cyrus' wife!), and excape in an RV. Yes, Murray is tired of Ben thwarting him, but saying he's a lizard from outerspace who wants to take over the world is just too much. Murray is sequestered in the Everglades, so Ben heads down that way to get him to call the hit off, but the damage has been done. With his cover blown, Ben will have to go into the Witness Protection Program with his parents or accept a vague offer with no forthcoming details to continue with his spy career. Which direction will he take?
Good Points
This was very different from the the previous books, but was just as action packed. The traveling is more localized and sticks to the East coast, and the cast is slightly smaller. Of course, there is a wide range of assassins who show up only to be defeated. There are plenty of laugh out loud lines, as well as a great shout out to writer James Ponti with the Ponti's First Maxim of Self Defense! The big draw is the ridiculous conspiracy theory that sets everything in motion.

I loved Gibbs' note at the end to students, telling them that they should investigate things they read on the internet and not just blindly believe everything! This is a great example of what could happen. Fans will love this one, enjoy meeting Mary Hale, revel in Ben's continuing romance with Erica, and wonder what on earth is going to happen NEXT!

Readers who finish this series and need something else to read can be appeased with Horowitz's Stormbreaker (which is less humorous), Carter's Gallagher Girls, and Ponti's City Spies.

I'm not sure if this is the end of the series, or just a twist. It could go either way. At any rate, Ben's future adventures will be very different, but will probably include Erica. There will be students who want this on the very first day of school even though it doesn't come out until September!
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Race against the Internet
(Updated: July 10, 2022)
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
What I liked: In true Gibbs fashion the beginning starts with the principal having a very rough day when he finally gets a new desk and it is blown up along with all of the spy school! The fast-paced events will keep the whole family turning the pages to find out if Ben can undo the damage that Murray Hill created when he activated project X.
I appreciate that Gibbs has taken this fun series and started to raise awareness of real-life issues. There are so many people who believe if it is on the internet, it must be true. Ben finds himself in a terrible position. Murray has gone to conspiracy websites and claimed that Ben is a traitor to the nation and the people took it from there, morphing it into that Ben is a lizard alien from another planet here to take over the world. With millions of people getting sucked into the conspiracy acting as the eyes and ears for Ben’s location no place is safe. By posting his location on the internet real assassins can easily track him and try to kill him for the twenty-million-dollar reward that Murray advertised.
While this particular conspiracy is all in fun it really does show the hypothetical rabbit hole people go down when they don’t take the time to question what they are shown and check the facts. They are too easily sucked into the herd mentality. While so much good information can be found there is a lot of disinformation as well and as children learn to navigate the web at an early age it is important for them to grasp the dangers of believing everything. I really like the point it makes too that the internet allows you to get support from like-minded individuals and can exclude exposure to conflicting viewpoints which makes you erroneously believe at times that most other people think the way you do. None of these points are done in a preachy way but weaved into the fabric of Ben’s struggles as he faces these people willing to hurt him because of these outlandish claims that have convicted him without proof.
Even when Zoe and Murray try to tell the truth the wave of lies sucks them under. It is the first time that while there is some resolution to the events, the internet conspiracy has a life of its own. Ben and each of his friends must face a decision at the end that will change the course of the series.
Final Verdict: This is another great addition to the Spy School series. It is humorous and relevant to the challenges we face in real life. With no spy school to return to, it is anybody’s guess how our young heroes will proceed. It has been great to see Ben and his friend’s characters evolve as the series progresses as well. While Ben has a lot going on, so does Erica. She is finally willing to be in a relationship with Ben but it makes her afraid that she will fail to protect him. This anxiety is messing with her near-superhuman abilities as an awesome spy. She has a lot of growth potential as she learns to trust others and deal with her fear. I enjoy seeing the personal aspects of our characters evolve as they zoom around saving the world once again.

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