Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Book Review: Covert Youth Agency- The Case of Tangled Love by Jason Ancona (Blog Tour)


An elite group of nerds fight injustices by running a clandestine operation in high school. The C.Y.A., a.k.a. Covert Youth Agency, hacked into the digital school sign and posted their message: - - - If ever you're in need of help and you have nowhere else to go, seek out the C.Y.A. We're always watching and we're here for you - - - Peter "Pi" Samuels, a fourteen-year-old sophomore, runs the shadow operation. Pi's obsessed with the high school band's lead violinist, who's as beautiful as the music she plays. When she contacts the C.Y.A. to find out if her boyfriend cheated on her at a party, Pi's objective becomes clear. Prove that her beau was unfaithful. Then maybe Pi will be the perfect shoulder to cry on. Pi schemes to destroy his love's boy-toy, all while avoiding a deranged coach bent on exposing an untraceable geek squad for hire. The Covert Youth Agency.


The Short Version:
With a well meaning starting premise that holds no guarantee of a smooth outcome for the charaters, Covert Youth Agency is a nice twist on the usual cliques in high schools and a way for the underdogs to take control. Pi is a member of C.Y.A., a secret organization at his school that handles the justices the teachers and administration overlooks or isn’t able to see. Along with his two friends and fellow CYA members, Pi looks into Vera’s boyfriend, learning plenty about himself in the process. Mostly steadily paced, though dialogue heavy with some awkward transitions and narrative style, Covert Youth Agency is an easy and cute read that hits mostly on light humor but with hints of deeper things.

The Extended Version:
Pi is the primary focus of the book, though it’s written in third person and switches to a focus on Vera occasionally. Pi is loyal and intelligent, friendly and a good student. He develops as the plot goes, mostly in response to the events happening. Vera is a good opposite for Pi, though tangled up in her boyfriend and unable to see past Pi as anything but a childhood and family friend. It’s clear from the start her boyfriend might not deserve her, but her feelings towards him keep her pinned. Pi’s two friends, Tollhouse and Lightman, bicker often and bring much of the humor to the book. They are both flamboyant in their own way and the trio have plenty of their own adventures even without CYA.

Though there are some drags in the plot, overall, it moves at a steady pace to both show the characters and move things along. This book is dialogue heavy, but given that it’s written in third person, this helped make the characters more real and relatable. The narrative portions were awkwardly written for my own tastes, but overall there was a mostly smooth flow to the writing.

With unrequited love, cheating in relationships, and an undercover student group trying to bring justice to the school, and some comical and intriguing characters, Covert Youth Agency makes for an amusing read. Bringing in a few age-specific elements and adding a few nice twists, this one is good for a quick, afternoon read.

Source: ebook received for review from author as part of a promotional tour with The {Teen} Book Scene
Paperback: 258 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (August 2, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 145372463X
ISBN-13: 978-1453724637

1 comment:

  1. Ooh, there's a violinist? I like :D

    Nice review-this sounds like a fun read!