Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

City of Spies Paperback – April 27, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$20.31 $1.28

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–9—This complex, well-executed work combines a modern, emotional narrative with a European comic style. In 1942, Evelyn, a neglected rich girl, spends her time drawing the comic-book adventures of Zirconium Man and Scooter, who are idealized superhero versions of her father and herself. When her absentee father sends her to live with an upper-crust bohemian aunt, the transition is initially difficult. However, after finding herself in New York City's German district, Evelyn soon pairs up with Tony, who lives in her building, and the two decide to rid the city of the Nazi spies they imagine are all around them. Following a false lead causes the lives of the kids, the aunt, and a down-on-his-luck police officer to intersect. When the children bump, quite literally, into an actual Nazi spy ring, love, adventure, and redemption all arise in course. The artwork is highly reminiscent of Hergé, creator of the "Tintin" series, and is a perfect complement to both the period and feel of the story. Another nice touch is that the artwork changes to a more traditional American style when depicting Evelyn's own comic fantasies. The challenge with City of Spies will be finding the right audience. While the illustrations evoke comics that are traditionally for younger readers, the many personal dilemmas at work in the narrative will be appreciated by older students. But, if the right reader can be found, this should be a very enjoyable reading experience.—Douglas P. Davey, Halton Hills Public Library, Ontario, Canada
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* With her mother gone and a father who has better things to do than be bothered raising a daughter, Evelyn is sent to live with her unconventional Aunt Lia in the bohemian art world of 1942 New York City. Lia isn’t shaping up to be much of a caretaker, but Evelyn spends much of her time in the company of imaginary superheroes, fouling up the plans of Nazi spies. Before long she finds an unlikely friend in the building superintendent’s son, Tony. Together, they negotiate the complexities of their different social strata and, always sniffing around for trouble, stumble upon an actual Nazi plot. With stupefying precision, Dizin’s art channels Hergé’s Tintin in tone, palette, and with the remarkable expressiveness of the clean, flexible figures. He also echoes the Belgian master’s sense of fun and action, even as Kim and Klavan put a sophisticated spin on classic boys’ adventure story elements and handle issues of friendship, economic class, and abandonment. And with villains and danger that just border on the genuinely scary, the tale is filled not only with a thrilling sense of excitement but also with a child’s longing for a grown-up to believe in. Grades 4-7. --Jesse Karp
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: First Second; 1 edition (April 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596432624
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596432628
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.4 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,271,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
City of Spies is fun and charming. While the illustrations are a great throwback to another era, the story itself is compelling and keeps the reader wanting to know more. If you're cheering for a character to win in the end, then you know the story is well written!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have only skimmed this title but can say it appears very appealing and looks to live up to the professional reviews (School Library Journal, et al.). However, I felt compelled to write a review to offer potentially important information to other prospective buyers: the product seems very poorly made. The first copy we received arrived in pieces (text block fully separated from cover). The second copy, on inspection, seemed fine (this was when I skimmed through, read portions, and found the copy acceptable). However, as soon as my assistant opened the front cover to catalog it for our library, the front cover and spine separated from the text block (the back cover held for the time being). Because this happened in our handling and not on shipment, I did not attempt another return and we will repair it ourselves. I would have much preferred a hardcover but that was unavailable. So, buyer beware - the four stars are for the content of what appears to be a very engaging graphic novel. But if I had to rate it on durability, I'd have to give it one star or less.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
During the early days the U.S. was involved in Word War II, Americans became obsessed with the thought that spies were among them, secreting away information that would aid the enemy and defeat the Allies. In New York, people were suspicious of Germans in general, and many thought it was their patriotic duty to keep an eye on German citizens.

This is the setting for City of Spies, a new graphic novel by Susan Kim and Laurance Klavan, with artwork by Pascal Dizin. Evelyn has arrived to spend the summer with her Aunt Lia in New York while her father spends time with his new wife. An only child, Evelyn has known a series of stepmothers since her own mother died years before. To help pass the time, she draws action adventures for the superhero she creates, Zirconium Man, and she is his sidekick, Scooter.

Aunt Lia's artistic lifestyle doesn't accommodate Evelyn very well, but she doesn't mind as much after she meets the building superintendent's son, Tony. Together, they decide to have an adventure and catch a spy. They soon discover that just because someone has a German background, it doesn't mean he's stealing secrets and working with the enemy. When they stumble on a real plot, they decide to follow it through and foil the bad guys themselves.

City of Spies does a great job of exploring the imagined and real dangers of the early 1940s while focusing on issues such as friendship, family relationships, and loneliness for both children and adults. It also brings to life two fantasies common among children: being a superhero and catching a spy. As in all good graphic novels, much of the plot and action are carried through by the artwork, and Dizin's drawings are the perfect accompaniment to Kim and Klavan's words. A mother-daughter book club with girls aged 13 and up would be able to discuss the historic era and how graphic novels in general differ from reading a regular novel.
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Reason for Reading: The old-style drawings, and superhero story set in WWII intrigued me.

Summary: It is 1942, Evelyn's mother has died, her father is a busy man with better things to do than look after a child, so she now lives with her rich Bohemian partying artist aunt who hasn't a clue about children. Evelyn spends her spare time drawing comics about Zirconium Man and his sidekick Scooter who fight against Nazis and a black ooze-like monster. But in real life Evelyn meets the building janitor's son Tony and they find themselves on the track of real liveNazi spies in their own neighbourhood.

Comment: Wonderful story that brings back the olden days of comics. Starting with the art, one thing I really appreciated is that when Evelyn is drawing her comic it is presented in the old-style where you can see the colour is made up of little dots and the type is all caps. Then when the switch is made to the present story we've got a Tin-Tin style of art with modern colour techniques and a normal lowercase type with caps where they should be. These easily help the reader know whether they are reading the main story or Evelyn's comic book and the device is just a lot of fun.

Growing up reading old Superman comics I found at garage sales I really had fun with Evelyn's comic story and when Zirconium Man and Scooter were surrounded be reporters I'll eat my hat if I didn't see Clark Kent and Jimmy Olsen in a few panes. Lots of humour along with olden but golden Superhero cheese.

The main story is full of adventure and humour as the daring children (age 10) set off following clues to what they are sure is a Nazi spy ring. Only they have a few false alarms causing the police and grown-ups not to believe them.
Read more ›
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
City of Spies is reminiscent of old-time comics, all the way to the "real spy gadgets" offered in the back of the book. The book is set in 1942 New York and is fashioned as if it was written in that era. Heroes are not given the outlandish superpowers of a modern character. The story centers on Scooter, aka Evelyn Spiegelman. She has been sent to Manhattan to live with her single beatnik Aunt Lia while her father gets remarried again. Evelyn has created an imaginary world in her own comic series in which her father is the super hero and Scooter, her father's nickname for her, is the trusted side kick. However, Evelyn runs into her own adventures and meets a sidekick of her own, the superintendent's son, Tony. Together they uncover a Nazi spy ring, help Aunt Lia face personal challenges, and even allow Evelyn a glimpse into her Jewish heritage of which she is uneducated. The artwork is bright and inviting, echoing the appealing style of Herge's Tintin series. Dizin has recreated a world of detailed comics and animated action that perfectly complement the written text. This comic book is also well suited to adults who wish to revisit their childhood comic book experiences. For ages 9-15. Drora Arussy
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?