Spy School

by Stuart Gibbs

Paperback, 2013

Call number



Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (2013), Edition: Reprint, 320 pages


Twelve-year-old Ben Ripley leaves his public middle school to attend the CIA's highly secretive Espionage Academy, which everyone is told is an elite science school.

User reviews

LibraryThing member cole2
Spy School is the greatest book I have ever read.It has action ,adventure and mystery.this book is about a kid named ben ripley gets accepted at a spy school and while he is there an assassin try's to break into his room and kill him and a surprising twist happens with the assassin and ben. if you
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like spy books I would definitely recommend this book there was nothing I didn't like about this book.
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LibraryThing member meadert
Ben Ripley, age 12
on a mission to fight the bad guys
being used as bait
Excellent book
LibraryThing member krbarton
This was a good book, I think it is aimed a lot more towards boys than girls. The plot was interesting and I liked the ending because I was shocked by who the mole was. I think this would be a good free read but I don't think I would ever use it for the whole class to read. I think the main
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character Ben is very easy to connect to and while reading the book you are always rooting for him to end up on top. Overall good plot I am curious to see if the second book in the series is just as good.
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LibraryThing member kevinl.b4
Ben Ripley is a ordinary kid who lives in Washington D.C. who gets recruited for a spy school.
LibraryThing member EmberShane
Bought this book for my son who is 9 years old and in the 4th grade because I thought it would interest him that Ben, the protagonist, is a 12 year old boy who stumbles into spy school. I will say right off, that there are a few occurrences of words such as "ass" or "damn" in the novel in case that
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matters to you. I rarely notice language when I'm reading for myself, but as I try to provide my son with literature that is closer to his reading level, I definitely notice these things more.

Spy School is full of action and comedy. There were several parts that made me chuckle out loud. The "romance" in this series involves Ben's crush on a girl super spy a couple years older than himself. A handful of times he references her signature scent of being a combination of "lilacs and gunpowder". The interactions are always cute between the two.

Despite the age recommendation for this book being 9-12, I have no problem stating I would be interested in continuing this series on my own if my son hadn't loved it as well. Looking forward to the second one in the series, Spy Camp!
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LibraryThing member Sheila1957
Ben gets a spot in Spy School. He is not sure why but he is in the thick of the action as someone tries to kidnap him and may be out to kill him. What can he do with his limited skills?

This is laugh out loud funny. Ben is a riot. His asides are a scream as is his droll thoughts of what is happening
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to him. As he tries to figure out what is happening with Erica, the tops in her class--maybe even the whole school--things do not look good for Ben to have a long career (or life) as a spy. But Ben turns out to be better than the powers that be gave him credit for. He follows the clues and thwarts one part but did he get them all?

I had a blast with this book and look forward to Spy Camp next.
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LibraryThing member quirkylibrarian
Fast paced if a bit long, this laugh out loud tale of Ben Ripley (age 12) training at an elite CIA school for young spies is a winner for the upper elementary grades. The strictest parent won't like the line about kicking an assassin's ass, but no matter. The high level of vocabulary, well-paced
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storytelling and sheer fun make up for it.
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LibraryThing member AlbaArango
The storyline is really fun. An average 12-year-old boy is selected to go to Spy School, which is pretty cool. And, like all schools, this one has all the great characters you’d expect to meet, bullies and all. But, when his life is suddenly placed in danger, things get crazy and all kinds of
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drama and adventures unfold.

What I liked: Great story line! The characters are intriguing and realistic, especially the main character, who thinks it’d be really cool to be a spy and get the girl, but finds out pretty fast that it comes with a lot of danger as well. And, anytime you have an ordinary kid thrown into extraordinary situations you have a great plot.

What I did not like: This novel would probably get a much higher rating, but one thing really bothered me about the book…it has curse words. I wouldn’t mind as much if they were used in context of heightened emotion (ie–he gets super mad and a curse word slips out), but they are thrown in so casually that they took me by surprise each time, enough to pull me out of the story, and that’s bad. The author could’ve easily told the story without them. That’s fine for YA, but not for middle grade.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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LibraryThing member Robinsonstef
Ben Ripley is at home, minding his own business, when he gets a visit from a man named Alexander Hale from the CIA. He tells Ben that he'll be going to spy school to hone his craft because of his promising skills. Ben can’t quite figure out how the CIA knows anything about him, but he knows he's
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exceptionally good with numbers, so he packs his bags and heads to his new school. Who wouldn’t be excited about attending a special school for the coolest of the cool? As soon as Ben gets there he finds the school being sabotaged by enemies with weapons, and he instantly needs to learn how to protect himself. Thank goodness he runs into Erica, who proves to be an amazing spy trained in more ways than Ben can even imagine. When he finds out Alexander Hale wasn’t completely honest with him and learns that his life is in danger, he'll have some tough decisions to make. Will Ben stay at spy school? Why was he selected for such a special school? Who can he trust? One thing is for sure, life just became a whole lot more dangerous. Read this intriguing book to find out what is going on!

Spy School by Stuart Gibbs was the first book I've read by this author, and I thought it was great. I would recommend this book to kids between the ages of nine and thirteen. It has a few bad words that might be a problem for some people (just a warning). I liked trying to figure out who Ben should trust and who he should stay away from. Lots of clues to piece together! It's always fun to try to solve a mystery! Adventure and action can be found on every page, so it's a wonderful book to keep kids reading. I learned a lot about being a spy and it is way more way work than I realized! I look forward to reading Spy Camp.
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LibraryThing member fionaanne
Little bit too cutesy for my taste although I though the premise was good.


Georgia Children's Book Award (Finalist — 2014)
Nutmeg Book Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 2015)
Volunteer State Book Award (Nominee — Middle School — 2015)
Cocheco Readers' Award (Nominee — 2024)
The Best Children's Books of the Year (Nine to Twelve — 2013)
Idaho Battle of the Books (Elementary — 2022)




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