Review Detail

Middle Grade Fiction 989
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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