Last week, I’ve introduced Lisa Orchard, and one of her books, The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer. You’ve read and excerpt and my review of the book. Here’s the link, in case you missed it.
This week I’m going to show you why I loved even more the second book in the series, The Super Spies and the High School Bomber.
The Super Spies and the High School Bomber
Description: This book opens in a small town in Michigan where Sarah and her sister Lacey are now living with their Aunt and Uncle. Still reeling from the fact her parents have disappeared, Sarah starts the school year with her new friend Jackie Jenkins. When Sarah learns the school has been bombed, she’s filled with dread. Uncle Walt is a teacher, and he was in the school when the bomb exploded.
Taking matters into her own hands, Sarah decides to search for him. The rest of the Super Spies are right behind her. When a fireman chases them away from the school, Sarah becomes suspicious. She decides to investigate. The FBI arrives on the scene. Sarah realizes this bombing could have even bigger implications. Searching for the bombers, Sarah is introduced to the world of terrorism. She fears that the bombing and her parents’ disappearance are connected and terrorists are involved. To make matters worse, the bombers are determined to finish the job. Can the Super Spies find the bombers before it’s too late?
A whoosh of roiling hot air lifted Sarah Cole and flung her against the kitchen wall like a fumbled football. At the same time, the windows burst into millions of pieces, showering everything with tiny shards of glass. Sarah crumpled to the floor, still clutching the phone. She lay there stunned, unable to inhale or exhale.
“Sarah! Sarah!” her younger sister, Lacey, screamed from the bathroom, where she’d been drying her hair.
The ringing in her ears was so intense, Sarah could barely hear her. Groaning, she opened her eyes and saw only red through her right one. Dread rippled through her body.
“Sarah! Sarah!” Lacey cried again.
Sarah dropped the phone, and put her hand up to her eye. She fingered the area gently before pulling her hand away. Blood. “Lacey,” she croaked, unable to manage more than that.
“Sarah! Where are you?”
“The kitchen,” Sarah said, finally able to breathe. She blinked her eyes twice and her vision cleared. Relief flooded her body and she wilted against the floor.
“Holy Moley!” Lacey shrieked.
Sarah jumped at the sound of her voice. She didn’t realize Lacey had come up the stairs and into the kitchen. The ringing in her ears was almost gone.
“No kidding,” Sarah said, covering her right eye with her hand and glaring at Lacey with her uncovered one. She brushed her shoulder length blonde hair away from her face and gasped at the blood running down her arm.
“We’ve got to get you to the hospital!” Lacey screamed in a voice edged with hysteria.
“Stop freaking out!” Sarah gave Lacey the old one-eyed glare again.
“Sarah, there’s blood everywhere,” her sister whimpered as she wrung her hands. She gazed around her. “What happened? Did our furnace blow up or something?”
“I don’t think so.” Sarah shook her head, dust particles and slivers of glass cascaded to the floor. She furrowed her brow and absentmindedly brushed off her clothes. “I think something exploded outside. Help me up.”
Lacey held out her hand to Sarah and pulled her into a sitting position.
Blinking, Sarah gazed around the kitchen. On most days it was a sunny room with pineapple wallpaper and pine cabinets. It was the most popular room in the house—everyone congregated there during the holidays. Sarah blinked again. Dust floated through the air and glass littered the yellow linoleum floor. She groaned and turned her attention to her arm.
As she examined the blood running down it, another wave of panic flooded through her body. Sarah’s legs wobbled when she stood and she stumbled as she reached for a kitchen towel that lay on the counter. She used the soft cloth to blot her eye. When she pulled the towel away, she was shocked to see the amount of blood that had soaked into it. Sarah gulped, trying to swallow her fear as beads of sweat broke out on her forehead.
With unsteady feet, Sarah stumbled into the hall where a mirror hung.
She was afraid to look. Taking some deep breaths, she stared into the cracked mirror and noticed a cut in her eyebrow. The amount of blood that seeped from the cut was enormous compared to its small size.
Lacey walked past Sarah on her way to the den. The crunch of glass under her sister’s feet caught Sarah’s attention, and she sighed. Thank goodness we had our shoes on. A wave of relief washed over her body and she exhaled another deep sigh. The girls had been getting ready for school when the windows exploded and covered everything with glass.
“Sarah, come here! You’ve got to see this!” Lacey yelled.
Sarah whirled around and spotted her sister walking from the den—her eyes were round and full of shock.
“I think all the windows have been smashed. Come and look.”
Holding the towel against her cut, Sarah followed her into the den. “Holy crap!”
She gazed into the room. Shards of glass covered the furniture and the floor. The sun streamed through the window, shining on the jagged bits embedded in the carpet. It appeared as if tiny diamonds were buried within the fibers.
“What in the world happened?”
Sarah shook her head. “I have no idea.”
The shrill ring of the phone made Sarah jump. She dashed back to the kitchen and found the phone where she had dropped it earlier.
“Yeah, it’s me.” Jackie’s voice eased some of the tension in Sarah’s body. Jackie Jenkins was her best friend. They had met when Sarah and her sister moved in with their aunt and uncle three months earlier.
Sarah glanced down at her legs and for the first time saw tiny nicks where she had been hit by flying glass. She bent down and examined the cuts further. They were not deep, and were already clotting.
“All of our windows exploded! Do you know what’s going on?” Sarah asked.
“There was an explosion at the high school.”
If you thought The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer was a lovely read, wait until you read The Super Spies and the High School Bomber. As YA mysteries go, you can’t do much better.
In this new instalment of the Spies’ adventures, things are a bit darker and much more serious. Sarah and Lacey’s parents seem to have disappeared in mysterious circumstances, so they’re stuck at their aunt and uncle’s for the time being. When a bomb explodes during a teachers’ meeting at the high school, of course our heroes feel compelled to investigate.
In a way, the plot splits into two possible mysteries, only one of which is solved in this book. I have a feeling the other will form the subject of a future book, and yes, I am resigned to waiting patiently until I can read that one, too. Hurry up and write, Lisa Orchard, I need to find out what happened there.
The writing style is just as easy to follow, and the dialogues are so much fun. Because of the seriousness of the crime, the FBI gets involved in the investigation, and Sarah puts her newly acquired negotiating and people skills to the test by forging a relationship with the fibbies.
There’s more action, more danger and more pressure for the Spies to get to the end of this mystery. The pacing is brilliant. The only thing that I would have expected was to find out what happened with the missing parents, but that would have made this book way too long. I like the way the Spies are being introduced to other people’s emotions and the knowledge and understanding that comes from being aware of a different perspective on life. That is a part of every person’s development at some point in their existence, and it’s beautifully done here.
A very good choice for young adults, even for those not in their teens yet. There’s enough variety in vocabulary use to encourage a young person’s development without making the story hard to understand. The overall package is a very well put-together novel, full of action and adventure, and modern enough to be appealing to young readers. A very well-deserved five stars from me, and a wholehearted recommendation.
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Don’t forget to return next week, when the Super Spies themselves will be explaining exactly what it takes to be a Super Spy.