May 10, 2010

Publishing Trend: Young Jack Ryan

Have you noticed the rash of "adventure/spy" type books being written for middle grades lately? I believe it started with Alex Rider, but I haven't checked all my publication dates so I can't be totally convinced of this. They are books about pre-teen and young teenage boys being thrust into some sort of life or death or save the world type situation--with NO SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS (weird, right?). I haven't even read all the ones out there, but here's what I have seen lately.

Alex Rider. Do I have to keep going over my love for Alex? Just know that he is awesome. I think he's about 14 when the first book starts and he is pretty much forced into spy service after his uncle Ian Rider dies. Alex is a great teenage spy--reluctant to be a spy, but amazing at what he does.

Young James Bond. I love these books because the time they are written is the early 40's. If's fun to see how James develops the skills he will need later in life with none of the gadgets that we (and the grown up James) take for granted.

Steel Trapp. These are written by Ridley Pearson. The first one was full of action and Steel Trapp is definitely not you a spy/adventure type kid. But he does a great job of saving the world when he is called up on to. I also love that he actually references Alex Rider in this book.

Rich & Jade. I know, these are not very high on the radar, and I haven't read any of these (I have the first one checked out though), but when I saw that Jack Higgins was writing a young adult adventure/spy series, I totally got excited. This man knows adventure/spy series fora dults, I am sure he can weave a good tale of such for middle grades. The first one is called Sure Fire.

The Shadow Project. I saw this one at Borders and was intrigued. Not sure if it fits this category, but the cover sure looks like it.

Danger Zone. Again, a series I haven't read, but saw at Borders. The first one of these is called The Devil's Breath and it sounds great. On my to-read list for the summer.

**Edit: I just remembered the other one I had seen recently:
Max Cassidy. This one looks really interesting with the premise of the main character, fourteen year old Max Cassidy, being the best escape artist in the world. That right there is a good start!

These are the ones I have noticed recently. I am sure I am missing one but can't think of what it was. Have you noticed this trend? What ones that fit this trend have you or your students/children read?


  1. Does Alcatraz by Brandon Sanderson fit into this category? Alex Rider is great, I agree!

  2. I would say Alcatraz fits a sun genre because there is the element of supernatrual/creatures/parallel universe in those books.

  3. Interesting post, Jana! You are such a good "thinker" when it comes to kid lit. :-)

  4. Ok so now I have to go check these all out! Thanks :)

    Do you think Conspiracy 365 books fall into this?

  5. Yes, Conspiracy 365 is along the same vein (although I haven't read them yet!).

  6. Was thinking the new Chronicles of Nick might fit this too.

  7. I love these type of posts you do. They are very interesting and engaging. I've only heard of Alex Rider, which surprised me. New books to read!

  8. I think Chronicles of Nick has too much of the paranormal about it. But, I really want to read that!!