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Playing with Fire (School for Spies Series #1)
     

Playing with Fire (School for Spies Series #1)

4.8 5
by Bruce Hale, Brandon Dorman
 

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Juvenile delinquent and budding pyromaniac Max Segredo belongs in juvie hall. At least, that's what his most recent foster family would tell you. Instead, Max ends up on the doorstep of Merry Sunshine Orphanage—their very heavily guarded doorstep. As he begins to acclimate to his new home, Max learns a few things straightaway: first, cracking a Caesar Cipher isn

Overview

Juvenile delinquent and budding pyromaniac Max Segredo belongs in juvie hall. At least, that's what his most recent foster family would tell you. Instead, Max ends up on the doorstep of Merry Sunshine Orphanage—their very heavily guarded doorstep. As he begins to acclimate to his new home, Max learns a few things straightaway: first, cracking a Caesar Cipher isn't as hard as it seems; second, never sass your instructor if she's also holding throwing knives; and third, he may not be an orphan after all. Soon, Max and the rest of the students are sent on a mission to keep a dangerous weapon out of the hands of LOTUS, an international group bent on world domination. Of course, all Max cares about is finding out more about his father, the man he's now sure is still alive. As the stakes get higher, Max must make some difficult choices, including who to trust, and finally learns the true meaning of family.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Judy Crowder
It is Max Segredo's thirteenth birthday and what a to-do! The book opens with Max and his umpteenth foster family all watching their house burn. And Max is the suspect. It doesn't matter that Max is innocent; off he goes to another foster family. Or does he? Max's case worker will give him one more chance, but not with a family. He finds himself in a group home, specifically the Merry Sunshine Orphanage, run by a multi-language woman who answers the door holding a gun in one hand. What is this place? As Max unpacks his most precious possessions—a framed picture of his late Thai mother (his father was "some white guy."), a black lucky stone and a gold lighter that, somehow, never gets confiscated—he figures he's seen it all and is ready for anything. But Merry Sunshine isn't your typical orphanage. It's not your typical anything! Max finds himself attending morning warm-ups, a sort of Phys. Ed. game in which the object is not to get hit. Or hurt. Other classes include lock picking, code breaking, surveillance techniques and mixed martial arts. Class field trips include tailing unsuspecting citizens plus breaking and entering. More important, Max eventually finds friends. All is looking up when he receives a mysterious coded message: his father is not dead. Will Max give up his new-found friends at Merry Sunshine (School for Spies?) to find his dad? Surely a real blood relative is more important than loyalty to a nefarious bunch of misfits? Amid police chases, robbery attempts, lock picking plus breaking and entering, Max, to his surprise, will discover what friendship and family really mean. This is a compelling read with warmth and humor. Illustrations add wonderfully to the suspenseful plot. Well recommended. Reviewer: Judy Crowder
School Library Journal
Gr 4–8—Thirteen-year-old Max Segredo is accused of starting a fire, which gets him displaced from yet another foster home. His caseworker takes him to live in Merry Sunshine Orphanage and, in just a few hours, Max begins to see that this is no ordinary home. With classes in lock picking and mixed martial arts, he soon discovers that it is a training school for spies. Someone slips him a cryptic message stating that his father is still alive and another one saying that his father needs help. Max meets a variety of characters at the institution and, living in close quarters, they develop a bond, giving him a family. Nevertheless he wants to find his father even at the risk of betraying everyone at Merry Sunshine. The book has nonstop action, clear detailed descriptions, and a plot that's easy to follow. Readers who enjoy spy and espionage novels might find this one too simplistic in techniques used and missions taken, but it is a good introduction to the genre.—Denise Moore, O'Gorman Junior High School, Sioux Falls, SD
From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR PLAYING WITH FIRE"

Hale threads the narrative with colorful metaphors and throwaway lines and festoons it with high- and low-tech tools of spycraft. One character's sudden murder aside, the tone is mostly light, with family issues and conflicting loyalties (driven by troubling revelations about Max's dad) for added texture.This lightweight kid-spy romp should find some eager readers."—Kirkus Reviews

PRAISE FOR PLAYING WITH FIRE"

The book has nonstop action, clear detailed descriptions, and a plot that's easy to follow. . . . a good introduction to the genre."
School Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781423181248
Publisher:
Disney Press
Publication date:
06/25/2013
Series:
School for Spies Series , #1
Sold by:
DISNEY PUBLISHING WORLDWIDE -EBKS
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
541,878
File size:
6 MB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Edgar-nominated author Bruce Hale (www.brucehale.com) is passionate about inspiring reluctant readers to read. He has written or illustrated more than 25 seriously funny books for children, including the popular Chet Gecko Mysteries series and the comics-novel hybrid, Underwhere, as well as picture books such as Snoring Beauty and Moki and the Magic Surfboard. An actor and a Fulbright Scholar in Storytelling, Bruce is in demand as a speaker, having presented at conferences, universities, and schools across North America. His acting resume includes regional commercials, theater, and an independent film, "The Ride". Bruce's book The Malted Falcon was an Edgar Award Finalist. Murder, My Tweet won the Little D Award for Humor Writing. He lives in Santa Barbara, California.

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Playing with Fire 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
This_Kid_Reviews_Books More than 1 year ago
Orphan Max Segredo was wrongly blamed for burning his foster parents’ house. He did NOT do it! But anyway, this little incident earns him the title of “Pyromaniac.” Thus, Max finds himself at the Merry Sunshine Orphanage as a last chance before landing in juvenile hall. Max soon finds out that this isn’t an ordinary orphanage – it teaches special skills – SPY skills! At the spy school/orphanage, Max learns: to pick locks, break codes, and do martial arts, among other things. Max also learns that his dad is still alive (via coded message) Soon Max finds himself on a dangerous mission trying to stop smugglers, and an evil group of spies while trying to find his dad! This is a great book! I love spies (that’s on my list of what I want to be when I grow up) and this book was AWESOME!!! I REALLY really really want a sequel to this book (and seeing that it’s book 1, I expect a book 2!), and I can’t wait to read book 2 when it comes out! Max is a great character! I like how Max adapts very well to the situations in the school. I like Mr. Hale’s writing style – he adds just the right amount of humor, action, and sarcasm in this exciting book! *NOTE* I got a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nice I want to read the 2nd book 3rd to
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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