Unsure of the Audience?

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katie_lew Avatar


I feel like this book can't quite decide on its tone, or who its preferred audience would be. The opening prologue, dialogue between two secret agents, is written in a comedic vein, as they bicker over the perfect "undercover agent" to install in an upcoming mission. We then meet Winter Young, who is described repeatedly as a "boy" and yet who is written to be world-weary and beaten down by his success. There is nothing comedic about his opening chapters at all--instead, it's all very deep and dark, as we learn about a dead older brother, an absent mother, the hints of past collapse and disordered eating. By putting pieces together, it's to be assumed that Winter is only 19, yet he is written as if much older.

While we don't meet the bodyguard/love interest in these opening chapters, it's hard to reconcile an appropriate match. At 19, Winter isn't even allowed to drink legally, yet we're supposed to believe that turning him into a spy for a secret organization is logical? And this bodyguard, who he clearly is meant to fall for, would have to be equally illogical--or significantly older, which is also a bit "ick."

Teen superspys have been done well before--for example, the None Shall Sleep series by Ellie Marney, or The Naturals series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. However, what made those series successful is that there was a real-life connective thread to the decision to bring in teens. There were clear adults in charge and age-appropriate tasks given. This First Look flirts a little too heavily with suspended belief.