Friday, July 19, 2013

Playing with Fire by Bruce Hale-ESSENTIAL

Hale, Bruce, Playing with Fire. Disney Hyperion, 2013. Pgs. 308. Language: G, Violence: PG, Sexual Content: G

When Max Segredo’s foster parents’ home accidentally burned down, his repeating bad luck winds him in an orphanage that feels more like a prison. As he starts attending the “classes” they teach about lock picking, surveillance, encryption, and physical training, he realizes that they’re either training them to be criminals or training them to be spies. To make things more interesting, Max realizes that what they’re teaching him is pretty much what his other foster parents have been teaching him.  Soon he starts receiving encoded notes that say his father is alive and needs Max’s help. Hantai Annie, the orphanage mistress, doesn’t believe Max, so he decided to do a little investigation of his own. Will Max find his father? What is the orphanage really training him to become? Is his father really a spy or a criminal?

An intriguing, fast-paced plot that will entertain and delight. The characters are interesting, well-developed, and likable. The plot is well-developed and holds the reader’s interest. Readers who like adventure, mystery, spies, and espionage will enjoy reading this book. Recommended for any library collection. EL (4-6). ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.

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