Spy novel navigates real life struggles of teenagers

For too long, the world of spy fiction has been dominated by male protagonists like JamesBond, Jason Bourne and Alex Rider.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 7:00 am

The change towards the mainstream inclusion of female spies as the main character and not the love interest or a minor character, is starting with the release of Em Norry’s new book – Amber Undercover. It is a relatable, action-filled spy novel for ages 8 to 15.

Most spy novels are fun to read, but impossible to relate to as they have nothing to do with our own lives.

Amber Undercover is different, as it navigates the struggles that every teenager faces, like friendships and relationships with parents.

But it also turns these ordinary, everyday struggles into the foundation of a deadly mission that depends on Amber’s ability to make friends.

Amber finds out that her mum is pregnant at the start of the book, but doesn’t take it well.

She focuses on the negatives, which was the exact opposite of my reaction to my mum being pregnant. I was much younger than Amber is though, and I had been asking my parents for a sibling!

The book begins with Amber and her friends trying to solve an escape room, and I love how the missions become more real and dangerous as the book goes on, and at the end there’s an actual mission that Amber has to complete.

She’s taken to an exclusive boarding school near Oslo where she must infiltrate a group of computer hackers who have stolen

information from the government and money from financial institutions.

About halfway through the book, Amber meets Luca, whom she nicknames Bluey, during a fake mission that she thinks is real. Later on, she and Luca are partners in a mission.

They have a very interesting relationship, Amber thinking he is an enemy when they first meet, and then having to pretend to date him to help the mission.

Em Norry keeps us guessing until the end about how their relationship will turn out. I would recommend Amber Undercover to teen and preteen readers who love action and mystery.