Model Spy by Shannon Greenland (ARC review)

Release date: May 10 2007

Publisher: Penguin
Number of pages: 224

My rating: 1.5/5

Model Spy just fell flat for me on so many levels. I did not enjoy reading it, and found the story quite cheesy and unbelievable.

Model Spy is about a teen genius (yeah, right) who hacks into a government database. The government finds out, and she gets recruited by an angency called the specialists. She soon has to go undercover in Ushbania as a model to try and locate her friend's father.


So, Kelly hacked through 9 out of the 18 levels in the government database, which is as far as anyone's ever gotten. She mentions that the passwords were very cleverly coded in the numbers of Pascal's triangle.

Firstly, the pattern of Pascal's triangle is incredibly simple. I could recite all the lines to you right now, even though I suck at maths and only passed my exam by 4 marks. I seriously doubt that the GOVERNMENT would encode their passwords with such simple pattern, and that she was the first one to figure it out. I bet heaps of people try to hack into the US government. I find it hard to believe that Kelly was the best at it.

Many points of the story were also incredibly lame. The specialists are quite lame and unbelievable. They were such a small group, and almost everyone there seemed untrained and unremarkable. I find it hard to believe that they're all very special as the book suggests. The characters were also given very lame codenames, like Beaker and Bruiser (for a chemist and a fighter).

One of the most annoying parts of the story was Kelly.

If I hear one more YA characters whine on about how klutzy they are, I will kill them.

She had an irritating crush on David for most of the book, often talking about how hot he was, but never acting on it. Considering that both Kelly and David were crappy, flat characters, I had no interest in the romance between them. There were often facefalm inducing parts such as this:

"The air conditioning kicked on, sendiing his cologne shooting up my nostrils. They flared in immediate response. My heart kicked into light speed, and my head whirred on a dizzying wave.

SERIOUSLY. It's just cologne!

My biggest problem with Kelly was that she was a teen genius, but she really didn't seem like it. A 191 IQ is incredibly high. Very rare, and anyone who would have such a high IQ would have to be very organised and have very complicated thought processes (like Sheldon Cooper, but less annoying). Kelly was stupid. She wasn't smart at all. She always mixed up her words, like this:

""Sorry, I was proton spread analyzing the." I shook my head. "I mean, I was analyzing the spread of a proton.""

Yep. You're a genius.

It's hard to write such a smart character, because most of us are only of average intelligence, give or take. It is hard to adopt the thought processes of someone who is very smart. The author really needed to show us why Kelly was smart, instead of just telling us. Sure, she'd drop a fancy word or two sometimes, but I hear people in year 12 maths speaking like that too. Just cause you know what the nth term of a geometric sequence is doesn't mean you're a genius.

The rest of the characters were also crappy, empty shells. I would've thought that the head of a secret organisation would be incredibly smart and skilled at everything. The head of the Specialists, TL (I have no idea what it stands for) is very unremarkable. Just bleh.

So, they all go on a secret mission. You would think that the mission would be intense, exciting, and interesting, but it really wasn't. The mission bored me just as much as the rest of the book. I didn't really care about it, and it wasn't complicated enough. Everything was resolved too quickly.

I also find it hard to believe that a top secret spy group and a bunch of guards have no guns. Kelly was hardly trained at all before going on the mission, and firearms weren't even mentioned in this.

It was a hard slog to the end, and I contemplated putting the book down many times. It was childish, cheesy, crappy, and boring.

I would not reccomend this book to anyone.


An ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

All quotes in this review were taken from an uncorrected proof. They may have been changed or omitted from the finished copy.


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