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The Spy Who Raised Me | Review

Cover of The Spy Who Raised Me

The Spy Who Raised Me
By Ted Anderson and Gianna Meola
Graphic Universe, April 2021
Grades 8-12

Suburban teen? That’s what Josephine Black thought she was. To her dismay, she finds out that she is programmed with command phrases that turn her into a spy.  She is skilled at kung fu, can stealthily enter break into a building, and a host of other expert spy skills. All those business trips she takes with mom? Those are spy missions.

When she discovers her mother is controlling her with these phrases, Josie wants to break free. Instead, she discovers her mother will stop at nothing to keep her controlled. With her best friend, Zoe, Josie tries to break free and discover who she and her mother work for and how she can begin a truly normal life.

This quirky and exhilarating graphic novel has so many twists and turns that readers will breeze through the book and then go back to read it again. The story is entirely plot driven with little character development, but it doesn’t seem to matter. The premise is bizarre and exciting. Readers will certainly keep turning the pages.

The artwork matches the tone of the book. Matching the surreal premise, the faces of the characters are never clearly defined. I was trying to research color psychology to see why the artist might have chosen a color palette of orange and brown.  But I couldn’t determine that the psychology was what drove the color choices. I’m still curious….

All in all, this title might need a little prodding to move it off the shelf in some libraries, but no one will regret the time spent reading it.

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Esther Keller About Esther Keller

Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. Her collection is also the model for all middle school libraries in NYC. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library, and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ and School Library Connection (formerly LMC). In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.

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