Should have gone to Kidlitcon! I'm missing Lisa Harkrader. Drat. I adore Airball!
Just didn't work out this year. I did finally register for ALA Midwinter for the first time.
On Monday, we will be jumping right into the Cybils awards! If you haven't nominated, PLEASE go do that. Middle grade fiction only has about 70 titles, and I've read most of them. That's no challenge. Still a lot of good books out there to nominate.
It's very Friday here. Need more sleep. And decongestants. And my robot maid! Why do we have video phones (Skype, FaceTime), but no jet packs, food pills or robot maids?
Gibbs, Stuart. Spy Ski School
October 11th 2016 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Ben has survived SPYDER, Murray Hill, and his crush on Erica Hale in the first three books in this series, and is now assigned a new mission: Leo Chang, a rich Chinese businessman, seems to be up to no good, and it is feared that bad things will happen when he is vacationing in Colorado on a ostensible ski vacation. Since he dotes on his daughter, Jessica, Ben's mission is to befriend her and try to get information about her father's evil doings. Erica is irritated that she is assigned to be Ben's handler, but since a large group of students is going skiing, it's like a big vacation. Cyrus and Alexander go along to supervise, and soon Ben is taking off on the slopes and having hot cocoa before the fire with Jessica. There's also a lot of bugging of hotel rooms, dangerous skiing, and even an adventure in a helicopter. An appearance for Mike is a surprise, and there is a concern that he might be working for SPYDER. The appearance by Murray Hill shouldn't be a surprise, and Ben is able to get the mystery of Leo Chang solved... and might even get the girl.
Strengths: These are great spy fantasy books. A little goofier than Alex Rider, perhaps, but my students can easily imagine that they are living Ben's life. The romance with Erica is fabulous-- I adore that one of the things that makes her attractive to Ben is that she is such an accomplished spy. The skiing details are brilliant, and I'm glad that Mr. Gibbs, an avid skier himself, chose to set this book on the slopes.
Weaknesses: The character of Jessica seemed a bit uneven to me, especially when it came to her use of English idioms. Small quibble; my students won't notice.
What I really think: Mr. Gibbs has just been added to my list of authors who should have meals delivered to their families every day so that they never have to stop writing. Always a good time when I get to read one of his books, and such a relief knowing that he's not going to suddenly throw super sadness into his stories. Love.