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Spy among the Girls

Spy among the Girls

4.8 19
by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

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Valentine’s Day is coming up and love is in the air between Beth Malloy and Josh Hatford. When they are spotted holding hands, Josh tells his teasing brothers that he’s simply spying on the girls to see what they’re plotting next. When Caroline Malloy decides she must know what it’s like to fall in love, too, poor Wally Hatford is in for it!


Valentine’s Day is coming up and love is in the air between Beth Malloy and Josh Hatford. When they are spotted holding hands, Josh tells his teasing brothers that he’s simply spying on the girls to see what they’re plotting next. When Caroline Malloy decides she must know what it’s like to fall in love, too, poor Wally Hatford is in for it!

Meanwhile, big sister Eddie couldn’t care less about that mushy stuff. All she cares about is her sixth-grade science fair project. But when she comes up with a great plan, Josh and Jake Hatford horn in on her project. On the day the plan goes into action, little do the boys know that Eddie has a trick up her sleeve. And with daredevil Caroline’s amazing attention-getting stunt, trouble is sure to follow. Get ready, the Malloys and Hatfords are at it again!

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Valentine's Day is coming and love is in the air between Beth Malloy and Josh Hatford. When they are seen holding hands, Josh tells his brothers that he's simply spying on the girls to see what tricks they're plotting. Beth's younger sister Caroline wants to know what falling in love is like, and chooses Wally Hatford as the object of her affections. As for big sister Eddie, all she's interested in is her sixth-grade science project and reluctantly teams up with Josh and Jake. The result of their collaboration leads to confusion and mayhem, making for yet another entertaining and hilarious tale. Characters interact and converse on a level that young readers will appreciate. Plot development revolves around a series of misconceptions and misunderstandings about love and romance. A subplot involving a mysterious creature known as the "abaguchie" is the catalyst that tests the youngsters and brings them closer together as the brothers and sisters vow to watch out for one another. Misconceptions are resolved, apologies made, and the Hatfords and Malloys are ready for yet another adventure. This lighthearted, fast-paced story will delight fans of Naylor's earlier titles.-Janet Gillen, Great Neck Public Library, NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
Nine-year-old Caroline Malloy is green with envy; her ten-year-old sister, Beth, is in love. As a budding actress, Caroline wants the experience of love or tragedy just to add to her repertoire. Fans of the series about these neighbors will roll with laughter as she attempts to force Wally Hatford to fall in love with her. When a new sweater doesn't get a wild reaction, she seeks out the juiciest valentine and signs it "Achingly yours," with rows of X's and O's. The oldest sister, Eddie, thinks only about the upcoming sixth-grade science fair; for her project, she sets out to prove that boys are more gullible than girls. She capitalizes on her town's present fear of the "abaguchie," the nickname they've given to a mysterious creature that prowls around the vicinity after dark. If Eddie claimed she'd captured the abaguchie in their garage, would more boys or girls come to see it? Ever the actress, Caroline designs a fearsome abaguchie costume and the girls hand-stuff secretive invitations in their schoolmates' pockets. Unaware of the premise, the Hatford boys are even enlisted to record the names and ages of those who attend. The results delight the girls—twice as many boys as girls show up, proving that boys are the more gullible sex. Beth's beau, Josh Hatford, tries to deny his interest in Beth to save face with his brothers, but when he enlists the help of his youngest brother, Peter, to deliver a box of Whitman's chocolates to Beth's door, the results backfire. The description of Peter deftly breaking into the box to nibble and poke away at chocolate after chocolate while the girls watch in disbelief from a safeoutpostwill make the reader's sides hurt. All in all, a terrific sequel to a long list of winners. (Fiction. 9-12)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Boy/Girl Battle
Sold by:
Random House
Sales rank:
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt



Beth was in love, and it was positively sickening, Caroline thought.

Beth drew little hearts on the corners of her notebook, with the initials B plus J. She lingered at the end of the footbridge each morning on the way to school, hoping that the Hatford boys would be leaving about the same time and she could walk to school with Josh. Worst of all, Beth acted as though she'd rather be with Josh Hatford than with her own sisters.

Caroline, age nine, was the youngest of Coach Malloy's three daughters. Eddie, the oldest, couldn't be bothered. At eleven, all she wanted was, number one, to think up a really good experiment for the sixth-grade science fair, and number two, to make the Buckman Elementary baseball team when tryouts were held the following month. If Beth, a year younger, wanted to act like a lovesick idiot, that was her problem.

"But, Eddie, it ruins everything! We were having such a wonderful time annoying the guys! We weren't supposed to fall in love with them!" Caroline protested as they ate their cereal and watched the sun trying to rise in a gray February sky.

Fog cut the West Virginia hills around Buckman in half, hiding the tops completely. It covered sections of the valley as well. From the kitchen window, the girls could see the swinging footbridge over the Buckman River, but they couldn't see the Hatfords' house on the other side.

"What do you mean, 'we'? I haven't fallen in love with anyone," Eddie told her, shaking the last of the Cheerios into her bowl.

"Good!" said their father, who had coached the college football team the previous fall and helped it make the playoffs. Now he was teaching chemistry. "Because I won't know till summer whether I'm leaving Buckman or staying. And if we move back to Ohio, I don't want a bunch of weeping daughters crying over leaving their boyfriends."

"Ha!" said Eddie. "Not on your life!"

Beth entered the kitchen at that moment. She had pulled her blond hair up on either side of her head, fashioned the top into curls, and fastened it using a large comb with daisies.

"Oh, brother!" Eddie said when she saw her. "Who are you supposed to be? Miss America?"

"Eddie, don't make fun of your sister," Mrs. Malloy said sharply as she set a plate of toast on the table. "Beth spent a lot of time on her hair, and I think she looks lovely."

"All for Josh," Caroline remarked.

"Pardon me while I gag," said Eddie.

"For your information, I just wanted a new look," Beth said, avoiding their eyes and quickly reaching for the butter.

"Yeah, a new look in nail polish too," Caroline said, grabbing one of Beth's hands to look at her nails, which Beth had painted purple to match her sweater. Each nail had a little J painted on it with sparkling silver.

"That's enough!" said Mrs. Malloy. "Everyone's entitled to a little privacy. Caroline, finish your toast, please."

All because Beth and Josh were in that play together where they had to hold hands! Caroline thought later as she brushed her teeth. But she had to admit what was really bothering her. It wasn't that Beth liked Josh Hatford. Of the four Hatford brothers--Jake, Josh, Wally, and Peter--Josh was one of the nicest. It was the fact that by falling in love, Beth, not Caroline, was in the spotlight these days, and Caroline herself was used to being the center of attention.

If she were falling in love, she would make up a whole story to go with it. She would act out her own scenes, write her own love letters, and have secret meetings with her beloved down by the footbridge. Since she wanted to be a Broadway actress, she needed all the life experiences she could get, and falling in love was one of them. Beth's falling in love didn't count.

When it was time to leave for school, Caroline and Eddie left together because, these days, Beth always found excuses to lag behind. The Buckman River flowed into town on one side of Island Avenue, looped around the end, and came flowing back on the other side. A road bridge connected the end of Island Avenue to the business district, but a swinging footbridge on one side provided a shortcut for the girls to College Avenue and to Buckman Elementary.

This morning, as Caroline and Eddie were crossing the footbridge, looking down on the river's patches of ice heaped with snow like meringue on a pudding, they saw the Hatford boys already leaving their house, heading up the street toward school.

Eddie snickered. "Won't that put Beth in a snit," she said. "She purposely dawdled just so she could walk to school with Josh, and Josh started off early without her."

But Jake, Josh's twin, was first in line, plodding through the snow with seven-year-old Peter at his heels. Behind him came Wally, and Josh seemed to be hanging back. Every now and then he glanced over toward the Malloys' house, then quickly faced forward again.

In the next instant Beth's footsteps came tripping over the boards of the footbridge behind Caroline.

"Excuse me," Beth said, hurrying past, and caught up with Josh on the sidewalk, where he was pretending to tie his boot.

Caroline stopped walking and surveyed them from the bridge, hands on her hips.

"They aren't any good at all at falling in love," she declared. "When you fall in love, violins are supposed to play and bells are supposed to ring. A girl is supposed to rush across a bridge and into the arms of her boyfriend. She's not supposed to pretend she just happened to meet up with him, and he's not supposed to pretend he stopped to tie his boot."

"I wouldn't know," said Eddie. "And the last thing I want making noise around me is violins."

But following along behind Beth and Josh, seeing how the sleeves of their jackets hardly even touched, much less their hands, Caroline made a decision: if she was ever going to know what it felt like to fall in love, she'd have to do it herself--so if she was ever asked to play the part of a woman in love, she could do it from the heart.

She would simply have to choose a boy and fall in love with him, and since the only boy who sat close to her in school was Wally Hatford--who sat directly in front of her, in fact--Wally Hatford it would be.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Meet the Author

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor has written over 100 books, many of them taking place in West Virginia.

From the Hardcover edition.

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A Spy among the Girls 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beth was in love with Josh Hatfod. When actress to be Caroline wanted to felt what was like someone to fell she chooses Wally. Meanwhile Eddie did not care about the mushy stuff. She only cared about her science project. Jake and Josh horned in the project since they did not have a project. They got some tricks. But Eddie got some tricks up her sleeves too. The Hatfords and the Malloys strike again! Boys rule!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books in this serise!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Luv it<3 :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book really took me inside the characters mind and helped me fell what they feel . I truly recommend this book
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love the book it was interesting and entertaining Caroline is a drama queen.I love that about her. Eddie just goes with the flow and she is cool and seems awsome. Beth she was really in love!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was so funny!There was such a love mix-up at the end that made it lol-materiel.And all of the books are really good.I can't wait until who won the war comes out in september!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Every kid should read this book i should know i love It
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book.It was very funny.This series is the best one I've ever read.I hope you all enjoy the series as much as I do.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is a hysterical book about two families who just can't get along! I like it because it is funny and it seems true. I wish Naylor would keep writing about the Malloys and the Hatfords forever!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is the best book!! You've got to read it!! It's love for Beth and Josh while Eddie cooks up a trick science project she thinks she'll get an At on with Jake and Josh. They draw a picture of the abaguchie, some kind of animal which turns out to be a cougar,and invite 32 kids to prove which are more gullible to come-boys or girl, and it turns out the boys are the most gullible. Caroline thinks she is in love with Wally, and sends him the hugest valentine in the store. Wally gives the valentine to Jake, and Jake gets steaming when he reads, To my beloved, and Achingly yours. This book is great for kids who want to LOL!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think the books were the greatest! Even if you don't like to read you'll love this book and the whole series. Phyllis Reynolds Naylor did an outstanding job!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sounds like a great book! Can't wait to read it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is full of excitement
Sophia Alpos More than 1 year ago
Ive read the whole series and love em!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Looooooooooooooooove it