The Spy School series by Stuart Gibbs is an action-packed, thrilling series that follows the adventures of young spy-in-training Ben Ripley. He’s in middle school. Nothing stands out about him except for one thing. He is good with numbers. For example, he could tell you how many seconds have passed since 1982. He loves to do it. So he comes home from school one day and finds a CIA operative sitting in his living room, and he’s there to recruit him to the CIA Academy of Espionage or spy school.
While he’s there, he discovers that there’s someone that’s after him that’s trying to kill him. Though he has no training in defending himself or fighting, he manages to thwart the assassin every time. So it turns out that this assassin is a mole at the academy. With help from some friends, they uncover who the mole is and their plot. Ben gets a chance to prove that he deserves his spot at spy school. So if you’re looking for a good, fun, adventure mystery, you might want to check out the Spy School series.
Each book in the series is filled with twists and turns, spy gadgets, and action sequences which keep the reader engaged from beginning to end. One of the strengths of the series is the well-developed and relatable characters. Ben is a likable and engaging protagonist who grows and matures throughout the series, and his interactions with his friends and fellow spies are entertaining. The villains and supporting characters are well-written and add depth to the story.
Another strength of the series is the world-building. The author creates a realistic and detailed world of espionage, with spy schools, secret organizations, and high-tech gadgets that capture the imagination of young readers. The themes of loyalty, betrayal, trust, and perseverance are woven throughout the series, adding depth to the engaging plot. Gibbs also incorporates humor and wit into the dialogue, making the books entertaining for readers of all ages. If you are waiting for the reading order, then stay with me!
Spy School Series In Order (Spy School Reading Order)
Each book in the Spy School series can be read as a standalone novel. But it’s recommended to read them to fully appreciate the character development, plot twists, and overarching storylines that develop throughout the series.
Reading the books in order will help you follow the progression of Ben Ripley’s growth as a spy-in-training and his relationships with his friends and fellow spies. Additionally, the events in later books often reference or build upon events from earlier books in the series. Therefore, reading the Spy School series in order will provide a more enjoyable reading experience.
Here are the Spy School series in order of publication, along with their main themes and common tropes:
- Spy School (2012).
- Spy Camp (2013).
- Evil Spy School (2015).
- Spy Ski School (2016).
- Spy School Secret Service (2017).
- Spy School Goes South (2018).
- Spy School British Invasion (2019).
- Spy School Goes North (2020).
- Spy School Revolution (2021).
- Spy School at Sea (coming in October 2022).
- Spy School Goes North (2023).
Checkout my list: Spy School Books List
1. Spy School
A young boy named Ben Ripley is recruited into a top-secret spy school. He learns how to be a spy and save the world from a dangerous threat. This book is a fun and engaging introduction to the series, with plenty of action, humor, and clever twists.
Tropes: Fish-out-of-water, Mentorship.
2. Spy Camp
Ben returns to spy school for a summer camp. He discovers a plot to kidnap the president’s son. It’s another entertaining entry in the series, with a thrilling plot, fun characters, and plenty of humor.
Tropes: Summer camp, Competition, Double-agents, Fun.
3. Evil Spy School
Ben is sent to an evil spy school as part of a mission to stop a nefarious organization. The story is a darker and more intense installment in the series, but it still manages to be funny and suspenseful.
Tropes: Evil-twin, Spy-gadgets, Infiltration, Betrayal.
4. Spy Ski School
A thrilling and humorous adventure that takes action to a new setting. Ben and his classmates go on a ski trip to Switzerland, where they uncover a plot to steal a priceless artifact.
Tropes: Winter sports, International-espionage, Gadgets, Humor.
5. Spy School Secret Service
A suspenseful and cleverly plotted installment that puts Ben in one of the most high-stakes missions yet. The CIA recruits Ben to go undercover at the White House, where he uncovers a plot to assassinate the president. Gibbs does an excellent job of keeping the reader engaged throughout the story, with well-placed action sequences and cliffhangers that leave you wanting more.
The characters are well-developed and believable, with relatable flaws and motivations. The dialogue is witty and entertaining, and the action scenes are exciting. So, the book is my top favorite among the whole series.
Tropes: White House, Secret service.
6. Spy School Goes South
A thrilling and action-packed adventure that takes the series in a new direction. Ben and his classmates go on a mission to Latin America to investigate a rogue CIA agent.
Tropes: Latin America, Drug cartels, Jungle survival.
7. Spy School British Invasion
A witty and well-plotted adventure that takes advantage of its British setting to deliver a unique spy story. Ben and his friends travel to London to investigate a mysterious group of spies.
Tropes: British espionage, gadgets, humor.
8. Spy School Revolution
The story follows the young spy, Ben Ripley, as he tries to uncover the identity of a traitor within the CIA. The author expertly weaves a fast-paced plot full of twists and turns, making it hard to put down the book.
Tropes: Action-Adventure, Mystery, Thriller.
9. Spy School at Sea
A fun and exciting adventure that takes place in a unique setting and tackles a topical issue. Ben and his classmates go on a cruise ship as part of a mission to stop a global environmental catastrophe.
Tropes: Cruise ship, Environmentalism.
10. Spy School Project X
We follow the young spy, Ben Ripley, as he embarks on a mission to track down a mysterious organization known only as “Project X.” However, things quickly become complicated as Ben realizes that not everyone he thought he could trust is on his side.
The author expertly weaves a fast-paced plot full of twists and turns, making it hard to put down the book. The main theme of Spy School Project X is trust and deception, with the central conflict being the question of who can be trusted.
Tropes: Adventure, Mystery, Thriller.
11. Spy School Goes North
Ben Ripley embarks on a survival training mission in the Canadian wilderness with his fellow spies. However, when their plane crashes, and they are stranded in the wilderness, Ben must use his skills and intelligence to keep himself and his friends alive. The main theme is perseverance and survival, with the central conflict being the challenge of surviving in a harsh environment.
Overall, the Spy School series is fun and engaging, perfect for young readers who love action, adventure, and humor. Stuart Gibbs’ clever writing, well-drawn characters, and inventive plots make each installment a joy to read.
Spy School Book vs Graphic Novel
The book came first, and the graphic novel came after and is based on the book. So it makes me partial to the book. I didn’t like graphic novels the first time. However, after reading it a second time, I enjoyed it better. The graphic novel kept the plot the same but changed many small things. There are lots of little things in there that weren’t quite the same that bothered me.
While to their credit, they kept some lines the same and changed some things too. The main thing that stands out here is that the characters don’t look alike. So the artist was allowed to do whatever he wanted and interpret them. Here he made the characters very diverse, which I also think is a win for that. In that case, which one did I enjoy more? Well, I think the book is the winner.
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