Age Group: Middle Grade
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Adventure (or as I call it "spy fiction)
Publishing Date*: October 11th, 2016 by Simon & Schuster
*Technically the book come out October 5th but the official date is October 11th
Quote of the book: "Erica seemed slightly confused...as it concerned human emotions, but she nodded agreement anyhow. "
Summary: So, in the middle of self-preservation, Ben Ripley finds himself called to the principal's office. He's not in trouble. He's being activated. Jessica Shang is the daughter of Leo Shang, this crazy Chinese billionaire, and she wants to have ski lessons in Colorado. The CIA need Ben and his "gang" to go to Colorado and see what Leo Shang is plotting, in Operation Golden Fist. From the start, things are weird. Not normal Stuart-Gibbs weird. Crazy weird. Like Jessica and her Dad rented out every room in the most luxurious hotel in Vail, just for themselves. Or things such as Erica being bad at skiing. I mean, Erica is never bad at something, so why is she horrible at skiing. Things take a turn for the worse when Mike shows up in Colorado and plans to jeopardize the whole mission.Spy Ski School is action-packed, full of plot thickening middle-school romance and holistically tests the boundaries of middle grade fiction. Exactly why you need to pick up a copy.
What I Liked: (Brace yourself for the longest likes paragraph you've ever seen). Ok, so I'm in between a rock and a hard place. Because I'm "unofficially the official" biggest fan of Stuart Gibbs, I'm going to want to say that everything was amazing (in the book's defense, it was). But on the other hand, I'm a blogger, so I have to be realistic. So here's a partial compromise. First off, this book is completely different from the rest of the books because of the lack of SPYDER (well, sort of, can't explain more without ruining the story), which completely changed the whole plot theme. Why? Because the evil villain is way more normal. A rant on SPYDER has already been out, and a video rant may come out soon, but the change in antagonist was one I loved. I'd also like to take the time to acknowledge how well Jessica Shang was developed. She wasn't a main-side character (don't even ask me what that means, just flow with it) that had some personality traits, but were basic, like bratty or adorable. I could tell that Stuart took enough time to develop her that he could literally write a shoot-off series all from Jessica's view. Everything about her was so put together and you could holistically feel the craftsmanship and effort into formulating an amazing character. Finally, I fell in love with Stuart's writing style because of his ability to finish strong at the end of chapter. A lot of great writers (including this blogger) tend to write these beautiful, well thought out chapters and then throw in a crappy ending to the chapter. Stuart has the ability to gain your focus during the "meaty" part of the chapter and then throw in a curve ball at the end of the chapter that makes you drop your jaw, shake your head, and then turn the page. The best part is that it sometimes isn't even relevant to everything that happened in the chapter, which for some people is a bad thing, but I really love this way of writing.
What I Didn't Like: If I'm going to ever rant about Spy Ski School, it's now. The only thing I'd like to mention is the cringe. Oh boy you bet your life you are going to cringe at the non-action parts. In the book Erica isn't the Ice Queen anymore, she's becoming normal. And you may be like "that's AMAZING!" in my mind I'm just like "no". Why? There was no prelude to this change. It just happened. And now Erica is suddenly flirting with like five different people, and I'm just like what the heck? Even in Evil Spy School, yeah you could see Erica starting to loosen up, but the change from ESS Erica to SSS Erica is night and day. Nonetheless, the cringe was bearable and definitely didn't stop me from enjoying the book.
Rating on 'the scale': 9.99 out of ten.
Why? It was...elegance on paper. Just beautiful. I literally fell in love with the book. And the ending? The ending was just so powerful, a lot was revealed, and Stuart didn't hold back with anything. People wanted advancement, and...well I'll let you read what happens. Also, one last thing: HALF THE PREDICTION WAS RIGHT THE STREAK OF THREE BOOKS PREDICTED IN A ROW IS RIGHT LETS GOOOOOOOOO. Yeah, I'm pretty happy. It means my teenage mind is getting closer to thinking like a literary genius. Swawesome.