Review / Spy School at Sea

20211218ma_4062Book: Spy School at Sea (2021)
Author: Stuart Gibbs
Genre: MG, Espionage
Series: Spy School

Opening lines from the book …
The principal was acting stranger than usual. In my sixteen months at the CIA’s Academy of Espionage, I had seen the principal display many aspects of his personality, none of which were good. He had been angry, bitter, paranoid, churlish, jealous, contemptuous, ornery, disdainful, mercurial, obnoxious, flummoxed, confused, passive-aggressive, and just plain mean.


1) As with all the Spy School books, we know we’re in for a big adventure. This one takes place on a cruise ship. Lots of fun possibilities, including falling (or being thrown) overboard!

2) Lots of great teamwork between Erica, Ben, and Mike. They all have their weaknesses and strengths. And I like that Catherine and Alexander Hale are in this one again. Although, come to think of it, I missed Cyrus (Erica’s grandfather).

3) And of course, there’s Ben’s nemesis: Murray Hill. I love how these books are so kid-centric!

4) It was nice to meet Jessica Shang again (from Spy Ski School). I do love how various characters pop up every now and then from the older books. 


1) In this story, Ben, Erica, and Mike are posing as siblings with parents: Alexander and Catherine. Of course, they all have assumed names, but they rarely USE these names. While on board, they continue to call each other (mostly) by their real names. I would have liked them to use their fictional names a little more often!

2) The scene at the very end. I won’t spoil it, and I know that the whole series has kind of been leading up to this, but I didn’t think the book did a good job leading up to this moment. It almost seemed tacked on. It’s nothing horrible, just not handled as masterfully as it could have been.


Overall, I thought this was another good installment of the Spy School series! I’m looking forward to the next one, ’cause you know there’s going to be a next one, right?


Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

9 thoughts on “Review / Spy School at Sea

  1. This sounds like a great adventure for young readers, especially since it occurs on a cruise ship. (My favorite vacations.) Will have to get a copy. I appreciate your thoughtful comments. I’m sure there will be more sequels. Kids love this series.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t read any of the Spy School books, which is kind of egregious, but this one sounds like an excellent read with quite a bit of fun adventures! It’s a shame that the scene at the end wasn’t executed as well as you know it could have been, though, but this one definitely still sounds like it’s worth a read. Thanks so much for the great review, Maria!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, you don’t often see churlish, mercurial, and passive-aggressive in the same sentence! I’m not a big fan of kids as spies, but I do think kids would really like this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


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