Because Model Spy is the first book in the Specialists series, the first half is mainly concerned with setting up the story, introducing us to the characters, and giving us a bare-bones background of the Specialists concept and history. We get to know Kelly/GiGi first. She’s a computer genius orphan studying at university though she’s only 16. She’s been through the foster care system and isn’t close to anyone, except fellow student David who asks her to hack into a government system to help his father. Of course she gets caught and finds out David was trying to recruit her to the Specialists team. Though she feels betrayed by him, being a Specialist is better than going to jail so she joins the team where she meets fellow newbies Molly/Bruiser (martial arts), Sissy/Beaker (chemistry), Frankie/Wirenut (electronics), Darren/Parrot (linguistics) and Joe/Mystic (clairvoyance) as well as the more experienced team one which includes David.
The second half is pure spy thrills and heart-pumping adventure as Kelly/GiGi is sent on an undercover mission to Ushbania as model Jade January to infiltrate the bad guys modeling school and use her computer skills to save David’s father. David goes as her photographer which gives her ample time to hang out with him. Will klutzy and shy GiGi pull off the model assignment?
I love the concept for this series and mixing modeling and spying sounded so cool to me. Be aware though that the modeling really takes a back seat to the spying – I personally would have liked to see a bit more runway action and interaction between Kelly and the other models at the school.
I liked Kelly’s character arc – from geeky loner to kick-butt spy - but I did find it a bit odd that she has a habit of talking like Yoda when she’s nervous. No matter – this is a breezy, fun read for anyone who likes adventure and spy stories. I look forward to getting to know the characters better during the course of the series.