McGee, Ron. Ryan Quinn and the Rebel's Escape
October 25th 2016 by HarperCollins Children's Books
ARC from Young Adult Books Central
Ryan's family has moved around all over the world, so he's glad to be settled in New York City, even if it means attending school for diplomat's children. He has a good friend, Danny, and a crush on a girl named Kasey whose brother is less than friendly towards him. All of those problems seem insignificant when a strange man follows him and later shows up at his mother's rare instrument store and kidnaps her. The man wants information about Ryan's father, who is on a "business trip" and hasn't been heard from in a while. Shaken, Ryan investigates his father's office and finds out that his father has been working all over the globe, and when a coworker, Tasha, shows up to help, Ryan is determined to somehow get to Andakar to rescue his father. Tasha tells Ryan that his parents are both agents in an organization that works to help people in danger, but this organization doesn't exactly have the blessings of the CIA. Once in Andakar, Ryan manages to break into the ASI headquarters, find prisoners, and get information about where his father might be. His father was helping a rebel named Myat Kaw, and soon Ryan meets up with this person-- who turns out to be the niece of an ASI leader, and about Ryan's age. Ryan's father is badly wounded, so he and the niece, Lan, develop a plan to get themselves out of the country and somehow rescue Ryan's mother. This plan eventually leads them back to New York City, where Danny, Kasey, and Kasey's brother are all instrumental in taking down the bad guys. At the end of the book, however, Ryan's father is still missing, which makes waiting for the next two books in the trilogy very hard!
Strengths: This was a fantastic spy adventure book, filled with death defying plunges into rivers and off buildings, evil villains in exotic foreign countries, and a great group of friends who help each other out. There's even a nice romance. I love that it's going to be a trilogy-- I wanted more story, but not ten more books. Can't wait to have this one to hand to students.
Weaknesses: There's a fairly high body count for middle grade literature, but it's not too gruesome. While most of the technical aspects of traveling alone were explained adequately, I couldn't quite believe that Ryan's cell phone worked in Andakar! (Isn't that silly of me?)
What I really think: This is a really worthy entry into the world of middle grade spy adventures. I will definitely be looking forward to the next one!