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Spy School the Graphic Novel

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Can an undercover nerd become a superstar secret agent? Now a graphic novel! Ben Ripley may only be in middle school, but he’s already pegged his dream job: CIA or bust. Unfortunately for him, his personality doesn’t exactly scream “secret agent.” In fact, Ben is so awkward, he can barely get to school and back without a mishap. Because of his innate nerdiness, Ben is not s Can an undercover nerd become a superstar secret agent? Now a graphic novel! Ben Ripley may only be in middle school, but he’s already pegged his dream job: CIA or bust. Unfortunately for him, his personality doesn’t exactly scream “secret agent.” In fact, Ben is so awkward, he can barely get to school and back without a mishap. Because of his innate nerdiness, Ben is not surprised when he is recruited for a magnet school with a focus on science—but he’s entirely shocked to discover that the school is actually a front for a junior CIA academy. Could the CIA really want him? Actually, no. There’s been a case of mistaken identity—but that doesn’t stop Ben from trying to morph into a supercool undercover agent, the kind that always gets the girl. And through a series of hilarious misadventures, Ben realizes he might actually be a halfway decent spy…if he can survive all the attempts being made on his life!


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Can an undercover nerd become a superstar secret agent? Now a graphic novel! Ben Ripley may only be in middle school, but he’s already pegged his dream job: CIA or bust. Unfortunately for him, his personality doesn’t exactly scream “secret agent.” In fact, Ben is so awkward, he can barely get to school and back without a mishap. Because of his innate nerdiness, Ben is not s Can an undercover nerd become a superstar secret agent? Now a graphic novel! Ben Ripley may only be in middle school, but he’s already pegged his dream job: CIA or bust. Unfortunately for him, his personality doesn’t exactly scream “secret agent.” In fact, Ben is so awkward, he can barely get to school and back without a mishap. Because of his innate nerdiness, Ben is not surprised when he is recruited for a magnet school with a focus on science—but he’s entirely shocked to discover that the school is actually a front for a junior CIA academy. Could the CIA really want him? Actually, no. There’s been a case of mistaken identity—but that doesn’t stop Ben from trying to morph into a supercool undercover agent, the kind that always gets the girl. And through a series of hilarious misadventures, Ben realizes he might actually be a halfway decent spy…if he can survive all the attempts being made on his life!

30 review for Spy School the Graphic Novel

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    ARC provided by Young Adult Books Central This graphic novel adaptation of Gibbs' title from a decade ago is very true to the original. Ben is surprised when he is recruited by the CIA to go to their Academy of Espionage, which is cleverly disguised as a geeky science academy because aside from some cryptography skills, he's not that smart. Turns out that he has been brought in as bait-- the word is put out that he invented a special code, and people start coming after him. The daughter of the ma ARC provided by Young Adult Books Central This graphic novel adaptation of Gibbs' title from a decade ago is very true to the original. Ben is surprised when he is recruited by the CIA to go to their Academy of Espionage, which is cleverly disguised as a geeky science academy because aside from some cryptography skills, he's not that smart. Turns out that he has been brought in as bait-- the word is put out that he invented a special code, and people start coming after him. The daughter of the man who recruited him, Erica, tells him that all is not as it seems at the school, and there is a mole that must be found. Of course, if Ben can find the mole, he might be able to stay in the school. There is a lot of personal peril-- bombs under the building, people kidnapping and drugging him... but Erica is always saving him. Is the mole a fellow student who just appears to be stupid? Is the principal as stupid as he looks? And what's up with Erica's father? Once Erica tries her own plan to flush out the mole (emailing from the principal's account that Ben has developed Jackhammer, a super code hacker program), will everything work out? First of all, I like that the style of the original covers was maintained, with the addition of the comic style panels in the back ground. Very clever. My hope with graphic novel versions of chapter books is that young readers will eventually pick up the novel as well, so this tie in is important. The illustration style is a little different than some I have seen; a little bit more like a comic book, but not entirely. The font is in all caps, but a very readable san serif font that is not as small as some books. The color pallette is heavy on grays, brown, and greens, befitting the sometimes militaristic aspect of the plot, but does have some pops of color when the mood is being lightened. Ben abd Erica certainly have the most time on page, and their relationship is noteworthy, but in this version there were a couple of characters that really popped a bit for me; the doddering Professor Crandall who is just pretending to not understand what is going on, Erica's father, who is shown in a sharp suit, and Ben's friend Mike, who hovers on the periphery, trying to understand what is going on with his friend. This alternates pages intense with word bubbles with pages that are mainly action, so is well paced and easy to get through. There's still a lot of text, so best for fans of wordier graphic novels. This is not quite as believable as Alex Rider or the Gallagher Girl books, since it walked right along the edge of goofy, but seeing the pictures somehow adds to the believability. I'm a huge fan of Gibbs' series-- Fun Jungle, Moon Base Alpha, and Charlie Thorne, so it makes sense that his works would get a graphic novel treatment, and what better book to start on than Spy School?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lacy

    Well that was fun. I want more. Plus a Netflix show.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Patti Sabik

    I almost enjoyed the graphic novel version of this story better than the book. I loved the illustrations accompanying the text because they really brought the the action to life. So much fun!

  4. 5 out of 5

    D.T. Henderson

    Characters were flat, but the mystery aspect and spy tropes kept me hooked. The tension is well-paced and Ben doesn't know who to trust either. There's a fun twist that I didn't see coming! Kids will definitely get way more mileage from this. Characters were flat, but the mystery aspect and spy tropes kept me hooked. The tension is well-paced and Ben doesn't know who to trust either. There's a fun twist that I didn't see coming! Kids will definitely get way more mileage from this.

  5. 5 out of 5

    George Whitbeck

    Awesome It was amazingly. I have read all the spy school books and for Stuart Gibbs to come out with a graphic novel was amaze balls! I am really looking forward to future spy school graphic novels.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    Fans of the immensely popular MG series by Stuart Gibbs will love this graphic novel version. Lots of action and flowed nicely.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sara Doyle

    I received an ARC of this title from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and were not affected by the free copy. Spy School has finally been turned into a graphic novel! I love the series, so I was very excited to see this get adapted. It was very true to the original, which I was pleased with. There were a few things that were slightly different, but it didn't really affect the story. The art was good, but I wish it had been a little better-just a personal prefere I received an ARC of this title from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and were not affected by the free copy. Spy School has finally been turned into a graphic novel! I love the series, so I was very excited to see this get adapted. It was very true to the original, which I was pleased with. There were a few things that were slightly different, but it didn't really affect the story. The art was good, but I wish it had been a little better-just a personal preference for me. It was very cartoonish, which most middle schoolers will love. I loved getting to see what the characters looked like! It was also very easy to follow, so new graphic novel readers will be able to follow the storyline with minimal to no confusion. This book is perfect for reluctant readers, graphic novel fans and anyone that loves Spy School. I look forward to the rest of the series being adapted!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    Ben Ripley wants nothing more than to be a CIA agent. When he excels at an online game, he gets chosen to attend an elite spy school under the illusion of a nerdy science one. The only problem is that it's nothing like he expects it to be. The classes are a little more boring from what you see in movies. When Ben gets targeted by assassins, he has to rely on the star of the school Erica to help him get out of trouble. But there's a mole within the academy that's leaking information and they need Ben Ripley wants nothing more than to be a CIA agent. When he excels at an online game, he gets chosen to attend an elite spy school under the illusion of a nerdy science one. The only problem is that it's nothing like he expects it to be. The classes are a little more boring from what you see in movies. When Ben gets targeted by assassins, he has to rely on the star of the school Erica to help him get out of trouble. But there's a mole within the academy that's leaking information and they need to figure out who it is before it's too late. Having never read any of the books in the Spy School series, I came into this one with a fresh mind. As a fan of graphic novels, this one reads really well. There's a perfect text to illustration ratio and the illustrations are vibrant with proper "action signals", like lines placed in the appropriate position. Ben is a relatable character since he was an ordinary child picked to attend this spy school His reaction to each situation are humorous and appropriate. I like how reliable Erica is and had a lot of fun reading this novel. I look forward to more like it! Final Verdict: SPY SCHOOL THE GRAPHIC NOVEL is a fun story and perfect for fans of adventure, spies, humor, and graphic novels. It holds a child's interest with a fast-paced plot and action packed scenes.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    I am a big fan of graphic novels. When I say Stuart Gibbs bestselling series was going graphic I had to read it. I still love the story of a school that teaches kids to be spies and then sends them on missions. The graphic novel was decently done. The illustrations are fine, but there was something about the way it was colored that turned me off a bit. Please be aware I was reading a digital galley and that may be the reason why. Overall these books are a lot of fun for kids of all ages, and now I am a big fan of graphic novels. When I say Stuart Gibbs bestselling series was going graphic I had to read it. I still love the story of a school that teaches kids to be spies and then sends them on missions. The graphic novel was decently done. The illustrations are fine, but there was something about the way it was colored that turned me off a bit. Please be aware I was reading a digital galley and that may be the reason why. Overall these books are a lot of fun for kids of all ages, and now they are in a format that will appeal to reluctant readers, and maybe even lead them to picking up the rest of the series in chapter book form.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Henry

    I was lucky enough to find this book at my local independent bookstore, and I loved every minute. This book gave me a unique glance into the world of Ben Ripley. I had always wondered what the characters looked like, and this book illustrated them beautifully. I am also glad that they published this book because now a new group of readers can experience the magic of the world of Spy School.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Bellomy

    Fun!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lenni Jones

    So good! This book made me nostalgic for the original Spy School books and brought back so many good memories. I loved everything about it; the story, the art, and the characters. If you’re a fan of the original books, you’ll love this graphic novel.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mehsi

    This was pretty good~ Review to come in May on https://twirlingbookprincess.com/ This was pretty good~ Review to come in May on https://twirlingbookprincess.com/

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tiah Varner

    Sooooo good! Its so cool to finally be able to actually see the characters in Spy School! Its one of my faveriote book series!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    More like a 3.75. Fun adaptation of the first entry in the very popular middle grade Spy School series. Well-drawn, with enough details to get the feel for the settings, good facial expressions, and consistent depictions of the characters. The plot itself, for those unfamiliar with the original novel, concerns what happens after 12-year-old Ben is suddenly recruited by the CIA to attend a secret spy-training school. Ben's parents think he's been offered a scholarship to a science academy. The stor More like a 3.75. Fun adaptation of the first entry in the very popular middle grade Spy School series. Well-drawn, with enough details to get the feel for the settings, good facial expressions, and consistent depictions of the characters. The plot itself, for those unfamiliar with the original novel, concerns what happens after 12-year-old Ben is suddenly recruited by the CIA to attend a secret spy-training school. Ben's parents think he's been offered a scholarship to a science academy. The story is filled with mishaps, danger, action, friendships, frenemies, and more. I hope the rest of the series is adapted to the graphic form; it's lots of fun for readers of all ages.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lisa D

    Loved it!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Gracie, dog enthusiast

    this was downright hilarious! once this pubs I will absolutely recommend it to every middle grade reader!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Katie Reilley

    Haven’t read the middle grade series that this graphic novel is based on, but thoroughly enjoyed it. Adventure, espionage, humor. Perfect for my 4/5th grade classroom library. Will buy others in the series as they are released.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Avalyn Hughes

    Amazing! So excited to read the next one! The novel is better but still amazing!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tonja Drecker

    While the novel form of this book was already exciting, this graphic form shoots the adventure up to an entirely new level. With a great balance of text and illustrations, the story flows with all the excitement it deserves. I was afraid the author might be tempted to add too much (after reading the larger novels), but that is definitely not the case. Not a single letter was wasted on unnecessary descriptions, background information, or add-ons. Rather, the text remains short, concise and exactly While the novel form of this book was already exciting, this graphic form shoots the adventure up to an entirely new level. With a great balance of text and illustrations, the story flows with all the excitement it deserves. I was afraid the author might be tempted to add too much (after reading the larger novels), but that is definitely not the case. Not a single letter was wasted on unnecessary descriptions, background information, or add-ons. Rather, the text remains short, concise and exactly what is required, and never cheapens the illustrations. It was easy to read, hard to put down, and exciting front beginning to end. So I found this adaption well done. While a spy story is, of course, about stopping the bad guys and getting out of tough situations...or just thinking things through...that's not all this one holds. The characters come to life as much as the tale. Ben does start with his normal life before diving into the spy world, and that does let the reader connect with him first and know where he's coming from. He's a nice guy, who has his own dreams, and those aren't necessarily understood by his friends or classmates. His awkwardness continues into the spy school, but this is where his character growth starts. The characters around him don't have the same starting depth, but they gain their own personalities, quirks and even history as the story goes along...and all of that without breaking beat on the action and intrigue. Fans of the original series will want to pick this up, but I see those who haven't read it, yet, as the more enthusiastic readers—reluctant readers, graphic novel fans, action fans, and such. It's a fun read with tons to enjoy, and I do hope that there will be more graphic novels coming up. I received an ARC and was thrilled that this was as exciting as I'd hoped it be.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Becky B

    A graphic novel adaptation of book 1 in the Spy School series relating how Ben Ripley was recruited to a CIA young spy academy as bait to draw out a mole (unbeknownst to him), but manages to not only survive but help catch the mole. It has been a few years since I read the original this is based on, but from what I do remember, this does a great job of summarizing all the basics of the plot line while maintaining the same exact lightly humorous tone as the novels. The only thing that gets sacrifi A graphic novel adaptation of book 1 in the Spy School series relating how Ben Ripley was recruited to a CIA young spy academy as bait to draw out a mole (unbeknownst to him), but manages to not only survive but help catch the mole. It has been a few years since I read the original this is based on, but from what I do remember, this does a great job of summarizing all the basics of the plot line while maintaining the same exact lightly humorous tone as the novels. The only thing that gets sacrificed to shrink this to graphic novel length is some of the character building and, of course, details about everything.. If I remember right, some of the elements of the training exercise were changed to streamline the plot for this form. Which is ok. I think this will still encourage readers to pick up the full novel as it has way more details about Ben's classes, the training exercises, and more excitement about the bad guy run-ins. So if you want even more of the spy stuff, check out the original novel. If you want more character development, pick up the original novel. If you want a refresh of the original novel and to hang out with your favorite characters again but don't have time to read the full novel, pick this up. It is fun. It is in full color. It is a graphic novel, that format that so many of us love. And it's got all the spy pizzazz. Notes on content: No language issues. No sexual content. There are some perilous situations but no one is seriously hurt.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Stormi (BMReviewsohmy)

    Last year I read the entire Spy School series and so when I was sent this graphic novel of the first book I was really excited. It was interesting seeing what they thought the characters should look like and some I agreed with while others I didn't...lol. Spy School is about a boy named Ben who loves all spy type things, he has been trying to conquer a game on a CIA website. This game was being monitored by the CIA and they thought Ben looked like the right kid for the job. That job Ben soon learn Last year I read the entire Spy School series and so when I was sent this graphic novel of the first book I was really excited. It was interesting seeing what they thought the characters should look like and some I agreed with while others I didn't...lol. Spy School is about a boy named Ben who loves all spy type things, he has been trying to conquer a game on a CIA website. This game was being monitored by the CIA and they thought Ben looked like the right kid for the job. That job Ben soon learns was to be bait for a mole in the CIA training school. They go and grab Ben and tell his parents he is going to a science school but tell Ben it's a CIA school and he is excited until people try to kill him. Of course, as in all of these types of schools there must be one person who is very good at being a spy and that is Erica Hale, whose skills makes up for the fact that her father is a horrible spy (just think Get Smart). So it's pretty much up to Erica and Ben to figure out who the mole is and stop him/her from getting to Ben. It's a fun, quirky series and I have enjoyed it. I really enjoyed the graphic novel version as well. I really liked the art style and it's illustrated by Anjan Sarkar and it's really good. I recommend this for anyone who enjoys graphic novels but especially to those who have kids who like them.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alexondra

    Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster's Children's Publishing for the digital copy for review! First, I want to start off by saying that I love graphic novels. I love personally reading them, and I always encourage my students to read them. They are a great way to introduce kids to reading without the daunting immensity of a book, they teach conversational skills through extensive use of dialogue, and they are just lots of fun! They promote literacy and therefore I love them! Thus, I love t Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster's Children's Publishing for the digital copy for review! First, I want to start off by saying that I love graphic novels. I love personally reading them, and I always encourage my students to read them. They are a great way to introduce kids to reading without the daunting immensity of a book, they teach conversational skills through extensive use of dialogue, and they are just lots of fun! They promote literacy and therefore I love them! Thus, I love the trend of adapting many chapter books into graphic novels (Percy Jackson series, Wings of Fire, Baby-Sitters Club, etc.). However, this adaptation of the wonderful and popular novel Spy School by Stuart Gibbs just misses the mark for me. It falls a little flat. It's not as dynamic as I expected it to be, and the colors are also a bit dull, which is not what I expected from a series which such vibrant colors. All in all, I'm not the intended audience for this and I think some kids will still enjoy it! Fans of Spy School will like it, and it will probably help other kids to dive into the series, but it just wasn't as good as I was expecting it to be.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    Stuart Gibb's highly entertaining series opener, Spy School, has been adapted into graphic novel form. As in the original novel, Ben Ripley ends up at a school that trains children to be spies. Whisked off to school by Alexander Hale, a CIA Agent and inept version of James Bond, Ben quickly finds himself in way over his head. Despite his video game and math skills, he isn't prepared to deal with what is thrown at him. Somehow he manages to team up with Erica Hale, Alexander Hale's daughter who i Stuart Gibb's highly entertaining series opener, Spy School, has been adapted into graphic novel form. As in the original novel, Ben Ripley ends up at a school that trains children to be spies. Whisked off to school by Alexander Hale, a CIA Agent and inept version of James Bond, Ben quickly finds himself in way over his head. Despite his video game and math skills, he isn't prepared to deal with what is thrown at him. Somehow he manages to team up with Erica Hale, Alexander Hale's daughter who is everything he is not, that is to say, a skilled agent, to unearth a mole hidden in their ranks. But can he survive the bullies, ninjas, and assassins that come his way? This graphic novel is absolutely action-packed from beginning to end. Young readers will find it hard to put down as Ben and Erica try to save everyone at the school. The illustrator's style suits the story of sneaking around through secret tunnels on desperate missions. Muted colors and solid storytelling give the book the feeling of a well-kept secret. SPY SCHOOL: The Graphic Novel presents an exciting yet humorous tale of discovery and adventure that many middle grade readers will enjoy.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kami

    My Thoughts: - I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. - Ben Ripley loves James Bond, and he wants to become a spy just like him. Ben is really good at a video game that was produced by the CIA, and they have been monitoring Ben's skills. One day, Ben gets a surprise visit from an agent and recruited to spy school. Sadly, it isn't as fun as Ben thought it would be, and there is a mole amongst the students. Dun Dun Dun! - This series has been on my radar f My Thoughts: - I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. - Ben Ripley loves James Bond, and he wants to become a spy just like him. Ben is really good at a video game that was produced by the CIA, and they have been monitoring Ben's skills. One day, Ben gets a surprise visit from an agent and recruited to spy school. Sadly, it isn't as fun as Ben thought it would be, and there is a mole amongst the students. Dun Dun Dun! - This series has been on my radar for a while, but I haven't read any of the books, so when I received a copy of the graphic novel in the mail, I was elated. I wanted to read and review the book before it was released, but you know. . .too many books to read. - I really enjoyed the story. Who hasn't wanted or pretended to be spy? I liked that there was a little bit of mystery, but also a lot of a middle schooler trying to fit in and figure out his strengths. - The book is full of delightful humor. Gibbs is amazing when it comes to humor. - The illustrations are fantastic. I loved all the facial expressions and action.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rubi

    Good alternative to the novel This was a cute version of thr Spy School novel. They stayed pretty accurate to the book, with the beginning being a little more action packed because it was a trick start haha Only reason I gave it 4 instead of 5 stars is because some of the art just wasn't living up to my imagination and a lot of it didnt even have backgrounds, like they didn't want to bother. Mangas include very detailed background scenes and I'm sure graphic artists could too. I guess it just wasn Good alternative to the novel This was a cute version of thr Spy School novel. They stayed pretty accurate to the book, with the beginning being a little more action packed because it was a trick start haha Only reason I gave it 4 instead of 5 stars is because some of the art just wasn't living up to my imagination and a lot of it didnt even have backgrounds, like they didn't want to bother. Mangas include very detailed background scenes and I'm sure graphic artists could too. I guess it just wasn't my style but it wasn't bad. Still a good alternative to reading the 300 page novel, just to see if a kid gets into it. Wonder if they're going to do all 10 Spy School books 😮

  27. 4 out of 5

    Maria Dateno

    I'm a huge Spy School fan, and I'm delighted that this graphic novel adaptation will no doubt introduce lots of new readers to this fantastic series. However, I find that so much of the personality of the main characters has been lost in the retelling. In the original book, we get to see what Ben is thinking and feeling, but this is absent from the graphic novel, because his thoughts are not put into the text at all. I hope the illustrator can become more proficient at translating the emotions i I'm a huge Spy School fan, and I'm delighted that this graphic novel adaptation will no doubt introduce lots of new readers to this fantastic series. However, I find that so much of the personality of the main characters has been lost in the retelling. In the original book, we get to see what Ben is thinking and feeling, but this is absent from the graphic novel, because his thoughts are not put into the text at all. I hope the illustrator can become more proficient at translating the emotions into thought bubbles.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joanne

    Lots of twists and turns in this super cute adaptation of the Spy School series. TBH I was not familiar with this well-branded series before discovering the graphic novel so I cannot speak to its oneness with the original. But it was well designed and drawn. If anything, the plot was maybe a bit chaotic and serpentine, but I was entertained, and probably those with greater familiarity with the series would not have that opinion.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ellon

    I usually like Gibbs's books (then again, I usually read the novel version and not the graphic novel) but I just didn't really care for this. I think part of it was that I didn't like the illustration style. It also took a long time for me to get invested enough to care about what was happening. I'm curious to read the novel version of this book to see if I'd like it more. I usually like Gibbs's books (then again, I usually read the novel version and not the graphic novel) but I just didn't really care for this. I think part of it was that I didn't like the illustration style. It also took a long time for me to get invested enough to care about what was happening. I'm curious to read the novel version of this book to see if I'd like it more.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Zabcia

    75% This book was unique in that I can tell that I absolutely would not like it in its original novel format but did enjoy the graphic novel quite a bit. It felt well-paced with all the drawn action scenes, but if it were any slower (i.e. with unnecessary additional words) it would've quickly become tedious and annoying. 75% This book was unique in that I can tell that I absolutely would not like it in its original novel format but did enjoy the graphic novel quite a bit. It felt well-paced with all the drawn action scenes, but if it were any slower (i.e. with unnecessary additional words) it would've quickly become tedious and annoying.

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