Spy Ski School

Spy Ski School
Age Range
Release Date
October 11, 2016
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Ben Ripley enrolls in ski school, where the slopes, and the stakes, get really steep in this follow-up to the Edgar Award-nominated Spy School, Spy Camp, and Evil Spy School.

Thirteen-year-old Ben Ripley is not exactly the best student spy school has ever seen--he keeps flunking Advanced Self Preservation. But outside of class, Ben is pretty great at staying alive. His enemies have kidnapped him, shot at him, locked him in a room with a ticking time bomb, and even tried to blow him up with missiles. And he's survived every time.

After all that unexpected success, the CIA has decided to activate Ben for real.

The Mission: Become friends with Jessica Shang, the daughter of a suspected Chinese crime boss, and find out all of her father's secrets. Jessica wants to go to ski school in the Rocky Mountains, so a select few spy school students are going skiing too--under cover, of course.

Ben might not be able to handle a weapon (or a pair of skis), but he can make friends easy peasy. That is, until his best friend from home drops in on the trip and jeopardizes the entire mission...

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What I Loved: The Principal is not happy that Ben gets to come back to school. He is also not happy that as a second-year student he is getting activated on a real mission. Cyrus Hale has become more involved in the stories and Ben is getting put into dangerous situations. Erica is not happy that Ben is the one that is supposed to get close to the target, Jessica Shang, so they can gain access to her criminal father.
Erica is evolving as a character. It chafes her that she is beyond talented as a spy, yet Ben is chosen to be undercover and be friends with Jessica. She almost costs them the mission several times when she tries to break out the terms of her orders and shine. There are starting to be some romantic feelings between them as well. Ben has always had a crush on her that she has known about from day one. However, her hard exterior is exposing that she may just like him too, even if she would never let personal feelings get in the middle of a mission. However, they do share their first kiss when they might be seconds away from death.
His best friend, Mike, also disrupts the mission when he follows him on vacation and attracts the attention of Jessica instead. Ben and Erica have to manipulate them both to get Ben back on track as the friendly love interest to plant listening devices in Jessica’s hotel room.
Ben is so close and very tempted to tell Mike the truth but he sticks to his vows of secrecy. Yet, when Shang’s bodyguards come after them all on the ski slopes with explosives and guns, an avalanche, hold up, and fleeing chase scene Mike kind of figures it out anyways. Ben is unsure whether Cyrus will recruit Mike or terminate him.
Final Verdict: This was the perfect audiobook to listen to on a long car ride. The whole family found it enjoyable. I was not sure what Stuart Gibbs would do with SPYDER after Ben’s interference in their plan last book but he didn’t disappoint. Some patterns are becoming pretty clear in each book. Ben is not going home for winter break like he planned. Mike is growing ever more suspicious that Ben may actually be training as a spy. Ben won’t score well in practice and seems to be a lousy spy yet saves the day on each mission he is on. Also, SPYDER along with Murray Hill is going to end up in the story somewhere. The way all these unfold though is humorous and well done making this the only thing my 10-year-old is willing to read right now.
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