Book title: The Doublecross: And Other Skills I Learned as a Superspy
Author: Jackson Pearce
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Release date: July 14th, 2015
Format: egalley, 304 pages
Source: I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Bloomsbury!
Part Spy Kids and all fun, The Doublecross is the first in a fresh middle grade action-adventure series with a healthy dose of humor.
Everyone in twelve-year-old Hale’s family is a spy, going way back. They’ve all worked for the Sub Rosa Society, a top secret organization where new agents aren’t recruited; they’re born. His parents may be the ultimate spy team at SRS, but Hale isn’t a typical stealthy spy—he is, as his mother puts it “big-boned,” and as some classmates put it, “fat.” Still, he’s convinced he will someday be a great field agent. After all, it’s his legacy. But when both his mother and father go missing on a secret mission—likely captured by the SRS’s number one enemy—it’s Hale’s time to step up and (with a little help from his acrobat-cheerleader little sister) save the day.
With a hilarious and charismatic cast of characters, popular teen author Jackson Pearce makes a fantastic debut in the middle-grade arena.
The Doublecross is a fun middle grade novel from Jackson Pearce, who is well known for her YA fairy tale retelling books (Sisters Red, Sweetly, etc). This is her first foray into writing for younger readers, and while I do prefer her YA books, The Doublecross proves she can write for different audiences and in different genres without fail.
The Doublecross follows twelve-year-old Hale Jordan, a spy in training at the SRS (Sub Rosa Society), a secret government-funded spy agency. His parents are top agents, but when they go MIA, it’s up to Hale and his nine-year-old sister Kennedy to find their parents and uncover the secrets the SRS is hiding. It’s an underdog story at its core. Hale is chubby, bullied by the other kids at the SRS (they’ve given him the nickname “Hale the Whale”). But he’s a determined boy who doesn’t let his physical shortcomings get in his way of achieving anything. He’s smart, he’s good at thinking outside the box. Or, perhaps, he’s just better at breaking the rules than everybody else.
Hale is a wonderful protagonist, but it’s the supporting characters that really add color to the story: Kennedy was probably my favorite, with her constant energy and cheerleader enthusiasm. But Beatrix and Ben from the SRS’s nemesis agency, the League, were great, too. Beatrix is a gifted computer whiz, and her brother Ben a creative inventor. Ben even names his inventions after himself: such as BENoculars, JellyBENs, the HellBENder, etc. Beatrix and Ben’s Uncle Clatterbuck was fun, too. Even all the stuffy grownups at the SRS felt real.
There’s also a plot twist toward the end that I didn’t even see coming, but that made sense, especially with all the clues sprinkled throughout the story. Props to Jackson Pearce for making the climax exciting and unpredictable; I was actually terrified for Hale and couldn’t put the book down.
The Doublecross is a really fun novel about spies. Who doesn’t love that? It’s definitely geared towards middle grade readers, though, so I feel like a reason I didn’t love it was because I’m just not the right audience. Still, the book will definitely appeal to kids who want to read exciting adventures about unlikely heroes. ♦
So tell me…
Have you read The Doublecross? If you haven’t, would you be interested to? And what was the last book you read featuring spies, double agents, or espionage? Comment below letting me know! And, as always, happy reading!