Untraceable

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4.2 (2)
 
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Untraceable
Author(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
October 10, 2023
ISBN
978-1536223750
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With gripping results, this companion novel to Undercover Latina returns to the high-stakes world of the Factory—an international organization of spies protecting people of color.

Fifteen-year-old Amani Kendall’s biggest problem is being the only plus-size Black girl at a white private school—until her house burns down and her family is unexpectedly on the run. Suddenly, she’s reeling from the news that her formerly boring mom is being pursued by an ex-boyfriend turned stalker, and her scientist dad has gone MIA. At the same time, she has to navigate an underfunded school in the city, suffering the cultural whiplash of being surrounded by other Black students, including the cute boy who’s an old family friend. How much danger is their family really in, and how untraceable are they trying to be? Her mom offers only half-answers and roundabout lies, so Amani starts to investigate. But her sleuthing has unexpected consequences, uncovering secret family legacies that will change their lives forever. A revealing prequel to Underground Latina for existing fans, Untraceable also serves as a thrilling introduction to the world of the Factory for readers encountering this fast-paced spy series for the first time.

Editor reviews

2 reviews
Untraceable
(Updated: November 09, 2023)
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Fifteen-and-a-half-year-old Amani lives with her mother and feels out of place as the only plus-sized Black girl at her prominently white private school. Her father is a researcher and often is out on assignments. Then Amani sees a strange man stalking their home. After their home in L.A. is destroyed by fire, her doctor mother, has them move in with a friend and signs Amani up to attend the local high school. Things then get worse when Amani's mother confesses the truth: they work as undercover agents and their cell has been compromised. This means that Amani and her mother flee underground to Mexico and then Cuba. Seems a mole has lied about her missing father, saying he's part of ISIS. Amani finds herself in the middle of something right out of a spy novel. Only in this case, her whole family is being targeted.

What worked: Satisfying companion novel to UNDERCOVER LATINA. In this story, we're introduced to fifteen-year-old Amani. She knows something's off with her mother, who only gives vague answers to Amani's many questions.

Amani is strong, loyal, and determined to help her father. She struggles after her mother finally tells the truth that she's an operative in a rogue undercover group.

Love diversity novels and this one is no exception! I really liked having a Black teen. After she finds out her parents are spies, Amani is willing to help out in any way she can.

There's also a sweet hint of a possible romance with a cute boy named Dexter, who she later finds is in fact a handler.

This adventure has Amani traveling to Cancun, Mexico to Cuba, and then back to San Francisco in the hopes of redeeming her father. Along the way, she learns that the code games her father taught her as a child come in handy.

Fast-paced engaging tale with a Black teen who finds out her parents are in fact, spies. Totally recommend.
Good Points
1. Engaging Black teen with spy parents
2. Fast-paced action
3. Satisfying companion novel to UNDERCOVER LATINA
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What happened before Undercover Latina?
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
In this prequel to Undercover Latina, we meet Amani, who lives with her mother, who is a doctor, and her father who is a research scientist who frequently is gone on longer projects. Amani goes to a private school where she often feels belittled by her white classmates, who often give her a hard time because she is full figured, but her mother wants her to have the best education she can get. When a creepy man appears near her house several times in a menacing fashion, Amani reluctantly calls the police. Both she and her mother are wary of the police for several good reasons, including the fact that the mother believes the stalker might be a former boyfriend who is in law enforcement. When their house is set on fire, Amani's mother pulls her from school and they go to a different part of town to stay with Niema, a family friend who was her Harambee class teacher. Niema helps Amani get settled at Roosevelt High School (going by the name Imani), which is a culture shock for her. For the first time, she is with people who share her ethnic background but have a different socioeconomic one. Her curves get a different type of unwanted attention, this time from boys, who make rude and unwelcome comments. She does meet Ella and her brother Dexter, who are very instrumental in getting her to adjust to her new environment, but there are lots of things going on in Amani's life. Her father has gone dark, and her mother reveals some family secrets that tie into the spy organization The Factory from Undercover Latina. Her father has run afoul of a drug cartel, and when there is an incident at a school dance, Amani and her mother find themselves on the run to Cancun. Will they be able to remain safe? And will Amani be recruited to work for The Factory?
Good Points
Amani is a strong character who occasionally struggles with the sheer number of micro and macroaggressions aimed at facets of her body that she can't change. Her mother has tried to make sure she has coping mechanisms, and is very body positive, but it's hard to keep up the fight when the attacks are so constant. Ella, who shares many of Amani's traits but is also gay, is much more vocal, and she encourages Amani to speak up for herself. It's good to see that Dexter gives Amani appropriate attentions, and there is a sweet romance between the two.

It took me a while to remember that Amani appears in Undercover Latina as an agent who helps Andréa learn to play cards for a Triángulo tournaments, but it was interesting to see another perspective of how a teen becomes an agent for the spy group.

While Amani is fifteen, this reads very much like a middle grade book, although it does have enough action and adventure, as well as social commentary, to be enjoyed by older readers as well. Spy stories are always popular with teens and tweens, but many of the older spy books like Carter's Gallagher Girls or Benway's Also Known As, have characters that read mainly as white. It's great to see a wider variety of cultural backgrounds represented in the spy world, and to see timely cultural touchpoints addressed in this genre.
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