Review: Covert Youth Agency – A Case of Tangled Love by Jason Ancona.

A digital copy of this book I got from the author free of charge – thank you very much!

Title: C.Y.A.: The Case of Tangled Love (A Covert Youth Agency Novel, Book 1)
Author: Jason Ancona
Format: Digital ebook
Page Count: 258 pages
Target group: YA (MG so ages 8-14 preferably)

Synopsis:

We are presented a bunch of teenagers (in their early teens) who try to cope with different problems (most often family and school-related) by creating the CYA (so the Covert Youth Agency from the title). The organization (or rather a club of three) is led by Pi (a.k.a. Peter Samuels) – a sophomore boy unlike most of his peers: thoughtful, funny and intelligent. He is helped by Delilah Lightman (a computer whiz and a freshman) and Ben ‘Tollhouse’ Gaw (who dreams to become an actor and could be called “Mr. Social Skills”). Together they attend Trenton High School which is neither better nor worse than an average American educational institution. Their current case is one of tangled love, where Vera, Pi’s secret crush, wants to know if her boyfriend Jack “JackO” Orton cheated on her at a party. After all an obnoxious (but well- endowed) girl, called Chloe, shows only too clear she wouldn’t mind knowing handsome JackO a bit closer. Will Pi and his friends find out about the truth? Will they be willing to share it with Vera?

What I liked:

A nice twist on the usual cliques in high schools and a way for the underdogs to take control WITHOUT any supernatural tricks and/or creatures – isn’t it just amazing? No magic! No werewolves! Not even a hint of a vampire or a zombie! What a bliss!

The sense of humour was really a strong point of this book – all three main characters are really fun (but in an intelligent way); Tollhouse and Lightman are a typical quarelling couple – they bicker often and bring much of the humor to the book but I suppose they like each other (very deep down of course). Pi is a real hero, a young boy with some backbone – I loved to see him growing up so quickly while solving the case! The CYA spy techniques would put to shame several CIA agents and would make more than one parent think twice before they leave their kids alone at home for an extended period of time (say more than two hours).

What I didn’t like:

The dialogue was a bit on the heavy side and the narrative style – a bit too simplistic in my very humble opinion (but it is a MG read so maybe I am being a bit unfair here). The plot had some holes (how a bunch of teens get hold of so much alcohol during their parties? How come nobody dared to complain to their parents about Deek – one of the horrible teachers- and his hazing rituals?)

 Also some things were left unresolved (Deek once again) – I don’t like it but I suppose another installment has been published or is going to be published soon. One more thing: the use of pop culture (Twilight and Harry Potter references for example) will make the book understandable for kids now, but might limit and date it in the future.

Final verdict:

Covert Youth Agency is an easy and cute read with hints of deeper things. I don’t regret I asked for a copy but I suppose I would enjoy it more if I were younger… On the other hand if your child is a HP/Artemis Fowl fan he/she might really like it.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in book review and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Review: Covert Youth Agency – A Case of Tangled Love by Jason Ancona.

  1. Jason says:

    I appreciate you taking the time to review my book. Yes, I confess to using a lot of dialogue–my background is in screenwriting. I love the back and forth of characters talking. If it's entertaining, authentic sounding, and moves the story forward, I am okay with it. And think that it helps with pacing for we A.D.D. types.To your point about pop culture, using it does date material. But I hope it dates it in a time capsule kind of way. Like in the movie Amelie when she unearths a school box from someone's youth. When the owner is reunited with it, he rediscovers his childhood memories.Covert Youth Agency, The Case of Tangled Love is a far cry from literature. But like music, sometimes I just want a fun song to bop my head to. I want to serve that niche for readers.There is a second book in the C.Y.A. series. The Sext Crime just came out–I'm hoping it's a head bopper.

  2. anachronist says:

    Thanks for your comment I highly appreciate it!A time capsule is a nice thing but it doesn't work for everyone so I think writers should be careful with this idea (my personal opinon of course, you are more than welcome to disagree). I don't agree that your book is a far cry from literature UNLESS you mean really highbrow literature and, after all, there would be no such a thing if kids didn't start reading simpler, more palatable stories in their childhood first. Fun, easy songs sometimes make your day!There is a second book in the C.Y.A. series. The Sext Crime just came out–I'm hoping it's a head bopper.If I find it I will read and review it!

  3. @how a bunch of teens get hold of so much alcohol during their parties?Older siblings. My mother used to buy it for me if I did some chores. 🙂

  4. anachronist says:

    Older siblings. My mother used to buy it for me if I did some chores. 🙂Small wonder – you are a witch. You could make her do it ;p.My older brothers would NEVER EVER do such a thing for me. It seems I have lousy siblings.

  5. How do teens get so much alcohol? *cough* I have no idea! *cough* *looks innocent*Anyhoo… I think this is a great review. I think it might not be for me as I read more YA than MG, but I can see this being perfect for some cousins coming up on the MG level very soon. I can see their grandparents turning this into a learning lesson (they are teachers).

  6. Blodeuedd says:

    Since it is YA then I wouldn't mind the simplistic writing. And yay for no vamps ;=)

  7. anachronist says:

    How do teens get so much alcohol? *cough* I have no idea! *cough* *looks innocent*Do cough it up Melissa! It seems I am the last innocent here and I hate my position!Blodeuedd you might get a mail soon…

  8. This book actually sounds really interesting. I do enjoy a go MG every now and again so I'll have to look into it further. As for the youngins and the alcohol, I never actually did it, but my friends were not so innocent and in return I had all sorts of knowledge of that kind. 😀 Great review Anachronist, you always work your way through a book review that shows me things I wouldn't have otherwise noticed, thank you!JenIn the Closet With a Bibliophile

  9. anachronist says:

    Jen it's always lovely to read your well-thought-out comments, thanks for visiting!

  10. Sometimes kid steal i the booze. Sometimes parents actually provide it. I used to be surprised by how kids got their hands on booze. Not anymore.

  11. anachronist says:

    I used to be surprised by how kids got their hands on booze. Not anymore.I see I have been out of the loop but thanks for explanations, guys!

  12. This one sounds like a good MG read and since it sounds like an adventure/fantasy novel, I think might recommend it to my brother. Great review!

  13. anachronist says:

    Thanks for a visit and a comment A Canadian Girl but this one is really more adventure than fantasy.

Comments are closed.