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SPY FORCE by Deborah Abela


Mission: Spy Force Revealed

by Deborah Abela & illustrated by George O'Connor

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-689-87358-1
Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Falling off considerably from the promise of its previous episode (p. 729), this second “Spy Kid”–style mission focuses less on subjecting Max and her mooning sidekicks Ella and Linden to any credible threat or danger than on heaping preteen miseries onto its surly, klutzy, humorless heroine. Still not bothering to explain how Max’s invented counter-espionage agency “Spy Force” could really exist, Abela introduces the Force’s newest recruits to a warren of secret labs inhabited by quirky staff, then sends them once again to battle the sinister Mr. Blue, who has this time turned into a sort of Willy Wonka gone bad. But to get to the adventure part, readers will have to wade through chapters of issues, from Max’s feelings of neglect and outrage as her clueless Mom takes to simpering over a brassy new boyfriend, to trying to cope with vicious, relentless bullying at school and with flares of jealousy as Linden dotes on a disgustingly nice, capable female colleague. Not even Max’s propensity to fall into various kinds of disgusting ick—a running joke in the first volume that the author milks to the point of tedium here—adds any life to this whiny escapade. (Fiction. 10-12)