Book Review: Playing With Fire

Book Review: Playing With FirePlaying with Fire by Bruce Hale
Series: School for S.P.I.E.S. #1
on June 25th 2013
Pages: 320
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Max Segredo, tossed out by yet another foster family, has finally come to the end of the line. After being wrongly accused of setting a fire, he is sent to the Merry Sunshine Orphanage — on his thirteenth birthday, no less. 

But what kind of group home offers classes in surveillance techniques, lock picking, and mixed martial arts? When the staff announces a “field trip” that involves breaking and entering, Max knows this is no ordinary orphanage. 

Yet Max has something more important on his mind. Someone has slipped him a message stating that his father is still alive. Max is eager to find Simon Segredo, even though it might mean betraying everyone at Merry Sunshine. Because when it comes to family, blood is what counts. Right?

Max just wants to have his own family, but cannot seem to even stay in a foster home for long. His lastest family's house caught fire and he was blamed for it and ends up in the Merry Sunshine Orphanage. This orphanage is not what it seems and soon Max is in classes to become a spy. As interesting as the orphanage is, Max doesn't want to stay, because he's been receiving coded messages that his father may still be alive. He takes every chance he can get to slip away to find out more about his father's whereabouts. 

The character of Max has a bit of awkward humor which often does not go over well. It shows a bit of what his life has been like going from one foster home to another that he doesn't always want to make connections. Max is untrusting at best, a great trait for a spy, but not so much when trying to create relationships. Throughout the book, he is caught on searching for his father and having the family back that he never did. 

The intriguing codes and characters in this book create quite an environment for Max to explore. I love the disguises and different ways they went about spying in the book. I really enjoyed the different aspect of the books, which kept me reading until the end. 

Final Verdict: A solid spy novel and fantastic start to a new action series for kids. 

Kristen

Kristen is the co-blog owner of The Book Monsters. Kristen is an Elementary School Library Media Specialist in the Chicago suburbs who loves reading. Why else would she be a librarian?

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