Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Alibi Junior High by Greg Logsted

I found this book from my public library's recommended summer reading list, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. Cody has traveled the world with his father since he was born and has helped him on many CIA missions. In this book, Cody moves in with his Aunt Jenny when his father's life is in danger. Cody has never been in a public school before and has no idea how to live a "normal" life. He knows martial arts and can speak five languages, but he doesn't understand how to handle the other students, teachers, and his classes. Who gets sent to the office four times on their first day of school! Cody slowly starts to adjust to his new situation (I won't say he fits in) when he awakens in the middle of the night to see a man in black quietly stalking around the house. Have his father's assassins found him? He may need to seek help from the neighbor, an Army Ranger recently back from Afghanistan. Cody still needs to survive gym class with Coach Dinatelli "... a fun vampire, sucking the fun out of everything", bullies, and his first crush on a girl.

Most of the book reads like a realistic fiction novel, but there's the underlying adventure of Cody's life with the CIA. Cody has lived most of his life like an agent, but the conflict mostly centers around his attempts to adjust to junior high. His awkward interactions with other students are funny; he tries to take back his "Hi" to another girl when she doesn't reply to him. He corrects the Spanish teacher, because she learned the language in college while he learned it in South America. Cody intentionally angers the gym teacher when the teacher picks on another student. The plot takes on a more serious tone when he spots the ninja-like spy sneaking around his home. Overall, the book has the typical problems of teenage life mixed with the adventures of the CIA sprinkled in.

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