The perilous intricacies of espionage run deeper than ever in this high-octane sequel.
After a harrowing and nearly fatal start to junior year, Nadia Riley returns along with her team of fellow teens, Jack, Libby, Alan, and brazen new student Simon, for their second semester at Desert Mountain Academy. No sooner do things get back to normal— “normal” being relative in a CIA black ops training program—than the threats and the traitor, Damon Moore, from the start of the year return. Damon is desperate for Nadia’s help—so desperate that he is willing to share information about impending dangers and truths that will shatter the world as Nadia knows it. Stone (Desert Dark, 2016) holds true to her diverse cast of teens (Irish-Lebanese-American Nadia, dark-skinned Damon, Israeli-American Alan, and neurodivergent Libby are joined by out-and-audacious Simon). The alternating third-person narration is used to explore the individual plot intrigues surrounding each team member, not only showcasing fascinating and lethal minutiae of intelligence operations, but also exploring the complex web of secrets that intertwines each individual with their family and each other. Character development and beyond-stereotype representations are sacrificed for hairpin plot twists and heart-stopping tension as the narrative barrels toward a conclusion that reveals explosive secrets. While a strong spy narrative, the inclusion of diverse identities here is not well-crafted, unfortunately reinforcing negative representation.
A jaw-dropping second installment ready for a third. (Thriller. 12-16)