Does anyone else, besides me, remember this show?
I used to love James Bond Jr. I don’t remember what day or time it came on T.V. but I remember that whenever I’d catch it, I was a very happy kid. Plus, I thought he was super cute (shocker I know). Yes, I know he’s a cartoon. That didn’t matter to my 9 year old self.
Wait I thought this was supposed to be a book review? Yes, you’re right. I do have a point!
Point is that I see big connections between James Bond Jr. and Alibi Junior High by Greg Logsted.
In Alibi Junior High, thirteen year old Cody Saron is not your normal teen. Cody has spent his whole like traversing the globe with his CIA agent father. Cody has been trained to be constantly on watch, be alert for enemies, an expert at karate and knows how to take down assailants. In a sense, Cody Saron is James Bond Jr. and is perfectly at home “chasing scum around the world”.
But when something goes wrong and things get a little too dangerous, Cody moves in with his Aunt Jenny in Connecticut. Cody knows absolutely nothing about normal suburban life and he knows nothing about junior high. Slowly, Cody adapts to this new way of life, but just when he begins to feel at home, Cody realizes his father’s world has, in fact, found him making everyday life that much more dangerous.
I really liked this novel a lot. It’s perfect for middle grade readers (remember that tend to be grades 5-8ish). Cody is entering this new lifestyle as an outsider, someone who may be used to hunting down spies and illegal arms dealers, but knows nothing about the ins and outs of everyday teenage life. Cody’s obvious cluelessness provides the reader with some pretty funny moments.
Two major saving grace for Cody are his relationships with his Aunt Jenny and his neighbor Andy. Jenny is Cody’s mother’s sister. Since Cody’s mom died when he was younger, he doesn’t remember much about her, so Jenny helps Cody know more about his mom. Cody also isn’t used to sharing this thougts, since his father and he only talk about the job at hand, but Aunt Jenny encourages Cody to talk with her. Jenny is definitely a mother figure who is involved with her nephew, which is different from the common absentee parents in most teen fiction.
Cody’s other strong relationship is with Andy. Recently injured from the war in Iraq, Andy seems to be the only other person who really understands and reaches out to Cody when no one else does. Andy sees in Cody the same special ops type training he experienced in the Middle East and quickly realizes that there is more to Cody’s story than he’s letting on to.
In the middle of all the cool espionage and spy stuff, Cody is dealing with some pretty important things including the loss of his mother, his anger over his father “dumping” him off somewhere, and the death filled memories of past missions that plague his nightmares. I believe the author attacks these issues in a way that is humorous, real and appropriate for middle grade readers.
Although most likely geared toward boys, girls may like Alibi Junior High too. In fact, if you or your teen has enjoyed Roland Smith’s I.Q. series, this would fit into your list of good reads.
Definitely one of my favorites on this year’s Sunshine State list.