Friday, 11 October 2013

Spies in Disguise: Boys in Tights by Kate Scott

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Dan McGuire – secret agent, supreme genius – would never put up with this. Dan McGuire is cooler than ice cubes. Dan McGuire decides his own bedtime. Dan McGuire would give my mum one look and she'd crumble like cake.
Published in June 2014
Pages - 192
Summary From Piccadilly Press
Joe discovers his parents are SPIES – which is great. But Joe's parents are in DANGER – which is NOT so GREAT. And Joe has to go undercover as a GIRL – which is definitely NOT GREAT AT ALL. 
Joe (now 'Josephine') is miserable when he starts his new school in a BLOND WIG, DRESS and TIGHTS. But soon he has a spy mission of his own. Using a host of unusual GADGETS, Joe investigates some suspicious goings on. But can he do so without revealing his true identity?  
*****
Put together a boy forced to pretend to be a 'girly' girl to keep his family safe, a whole heap of spy gadgets, a car chase or two and the result is 'Spies in Disguise: Boy in Tights'. It's fun, fast and great entertainment.
Joe, a fan of the fictional detective Dan McGuire, is astonished to discover that his rather ordinary parents are undercover spies. Suddenly his life is turned upside down as the family go on the run in a car packed with gadgets. To hide from their enemies, who are looking for a couple with one son, Joe has to become
Josephine and endure wearing a frilly pink dress and going to a surprise pamper party. Luckily for him, the brilliant gadgets that he manages to get his hands on make life just about bearable, especially when he gets to try them out in a secret investigation of his own.
I was struck by the similarities between Joe's situation and that of Bill Simpson in Anne Fine's 'Bill's New Frock'. For a start, how do girls cope without pockets? – something I'm still struggling with even though I've been female for more years than I care to admit to. And Joe finds it's impossible to hide in the toilets at playtime because his new (female) friends are worried about him and seek him out. There are definitely some feminist issues tucked away in the story, but mainly it's an action-packed romp that will appeal to both boys and girls. Don't miss it – it's a jolly good read!

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