Code Name Danger: Unmasking a Villain

Jolly Fish. (Agent Danger). Sept. 2021. 144p. Tr $25.70. ISBN 9781631635229; pap. $7.99. ISBN 9781631635236.
Gr 3-6–Will Washington is your average 12-year-old—until he gets the chance of a lifetime (after an open audition), to star as Agent Danger in the new show based on his favorite book series. Will begins to learn all the ins and outs of being a star of a show. However, he soon discovers the show is just a cover for a real spy organization. Suddenly Will must learn how to be a spy and not blow his cover on the TV show, all while getting his homework done. But how will he fare when real villains show up? Hawkins’s title is definitely aimed at younger middle grade readers who are working their way up to bigger books; the text is large and interspersed with pictures. Based on the illustrations, Will is Black, and most characters are of diverse backgrounds. Sadly, the plot itself feels rushed and clichéd. Material that might have made a great graphic novel falls short as chaptered prose, with too much detail in some chapters, and not enough in others.
VERDICT Ultimately, this title doesn’t stand out. Skip it.

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