Friday, May 6, 2011

Spy Girl: The Dark Side of Midnight by Carol Hedges

June 2005, Usborne books
272 pages, Paperback
Children's 11+, thriller-ish

Summary from Usborne.
Jazmin Dawson is a super-cool secret agent with hi-tech kit and a hi-octane life of crimebusting... in her dreams! In reality, Jazmin is a schoolgirl with a serious snack habit, whose biggest battles are with her maths homework. But then everything changes. Jazmin’s mum, who is a spy, goes missing and Jazmin is sent to rescue her. Stepping off the plane in Prague, Jazmin finds herself at the centre of an international mystery, and with a dangerous mission to infiltrate a rogue scientific institute.

Enjoying Ally Carter's spy series (ok so I've only read the first one to date..I do have the rest!), this one really caught my eye. It sounded awesome. Only at first I didn't enjoy it as much as I'd expected to. The style of writing is a bit different to what I'm used to, because there was a lot of pov changes in quite quick succession. I found it a little difficult to read the first paragraph of each section because of the style of font it was in, but that's a formatting issue.

It didn't take long before I was used to the style, and totally in love with Jazmin. I had formed several theories (just like Jaz) about what her cousin Clea was doing when she was away.((Jaz was staying with her cousin, aunt and uncle while her mother was away - she didn't want to be there! Clea didn't want Jaz hanging around, and kept disappearing. The mystery about Clea thickens when Jaz finds out that her cousin isn't actually with her friends - apparently Clea is with Jaz! Since they clearly aren't together, Jaz starts investigating) They were all wrong. I loved how Jaz dealt with everything thrown at her - she's so like me in some of the decisions she makes and her viewpoints. It's nice how imperfect she was, especially with loving snacks, and then realising she could get healthier by cutting down on them and switching what she eats. Her thoughts are very comical.

I think it was the way all the viewpoints started connecting together, then the way the links got thicker as the story progressed which grabbed my interest the most. I was sitting thinking 'oooooooo' as the book got closer to the end. Yes this is primarily a spy novel. It involves nutters (they are!). It also involves a key figure popular in children's & young adult fiction - angels. This angel isn't sweet - it's extremely scary! I was pretty freaked out by what it did. As for the end - that really blew my mind away. And Jaz's. Poor thing. Her cousin hadn't changed too much by the end of the story - which in some ways was a shame, but not entirely unexpected. As for Jaz - she changed a lot. She had to grow up very fast. Skip the next paragraph if you don't want minor spoilers.

Here's a minor spoiler: Jaz meets a guy who turns out to be more than he seems. Jaz doesn't know this though. Ever. There's a misunderstanding, they fall out, then tragedy strikes. How annoying! I was more mad than upset about this. Until what happened next...which was even more frustrating because Jaz doesn't know he survived! I'm so getting the 2nd book because I'm really hoping that the guy's disappearance will be an ongoing story. There's a real mystery there! 

Right back on track for everyone now. So many issues get addressed in this action packed book. Cults, parent-daughter relationships, life of high flying business men, a little bit of a futuristic style with some of the houses, paranormal with angels,  mild teen romance, life of spies and criminals.

This is definitely one of those books I'll be raving about to friends for a while, and insisting people check it out. Definitely gets 10/10 from me! Content wise it's relatively clean, with a bit of violence (on the gore-o-meter). Most of it is unseen violence though, all off the page.

No comments: