Thursday, September 8, 2011

City of Spies by Susan Kim & Laurence Klavan

During the early 1940s, Evelyn has to stay in New York with an aunt she hardly knows while her father goes off on his latest honeymoon.  To distract herself, Evelyn works on her comic about the heroic Zirconium Man and his loyal sidekick Scooter (who looks an awful lot like Evelyn), who uncover Nazi plots and save the day.  Much to her surprise, she and her friend Tony stumble onto a real Nazi plot!  Will anyone believe two kids?

Evelyn's aunt Lia reminded me a bit of Auntie Mame, but way less fun.  Don't worry, Lia improves over the course of the story.  Much like Auntie Mame, she's all free and artsy and has fabulous parties.  Unlike Auntie Mame, she handles having a kid dumped on her by pretty much ignoring her and doing what she always does.

Evelyn, bored and lonely, draws her comics.  It made me a little sad that she didn't make herself the hero of the comics.  She made herself the sidekick.  In her comic, Scooter has a moment, when Zirconium Man has been captured, that Scooter cries she doesn't know what she can do, but then ends up saving the day.  Evelyn reflects this in real life too.  She realizes she doesn't have to be a sidekick or be afraid, she can save the day!  With an assist from her friend Tony.  At the end of the story, Evelyn is drawing a new comic, the story of Girl Archaeologist Evelyn Weiss and Intrepid Explorer Tony Vitucci, and in this one, they're partners.  No one is the sidekick.

This was a fun read, but it wasn't deep or anything.  It didn't go into the war, or have any kind of character development.  It was just a quick, surface level adventure story with a clever and determined main character.  Enjoyable to read, but not a lot of substance.

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