Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Review: A Spy in the House by Y.S Lee

Title:  A Spy in the House (The Agency #1)
Author:  Y.S Lee
Available:  Now
Publisher: Candlewick
Number of pages:  335
Reading Level: Young Adult

5 out of 5 Stars!

I borrowed this book from my local public library.

Description from Goodreads:

Introducing an exciting new series! Steeped in Victorian atmosphere and intrigue, this diverting mystery trails a feisty heroine as she takes on a precarious secret assignment.

Rescued from the gallows in 1850s London, young orphan (and thief) Mary Quinn is surprised to be offered a singular education, instruction in fine manners — and an unusual vocation. Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls is a cover for an all-female investigative unit called The Agency, and at seventeen, Mary is about to put her training to the test. Assuming the guise of a lady’s companion, she must infiltrate a rich merchant’s home in hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But the household is full of dangerous deceptions, and there is no one to trust — or is there? Packed with action and suspense, banter and romance, and evoking the gritty backstreets of Victorian London, this breezy mystery debuts a daring young detective who lives by her wits while uncovering secrets — including those of her own past.

My thoughts:

What a delightfully unique book!  I was engrossed from the moment I met Mary Quinn.  The idea is so very different from anything else I’ve read.  It was like a historical Nancy Drew novel.  In the prologue we meet 12 year old Mary. She is found guilty of theft, and sentenced to hang for her crime. I was so relieved to see her given a second chance in the form of Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls. Chapter one jumps ahead several years and we meet older Mary. While most girls raised in this time period want to be mothers and wives, Mary is all about the Victorian Girl Power!  She’s an empowering character, and an excellent role model.  Just a young woman striving to make a mark in the world while keeping secrets from her past buried. What secrets? You’ll have to read and see.  

A Spy in the House is a book I had trouble putting down.  It is beautifully written,  contains inventive characters, and hosts an intricate plot.  A first-rate start to a new young adult trilogy.  I can’t wait to read the next installment, A Body at the Tower.

Y.S Lee on the web:


  1. This sounds great! I'm was a big fan of Nacy Drew when I was younger (I have every single Nacy Drew Book) so I'll have to check this one out.

    Off to the library! haha.

  2. Awesome review. You make me want to drop everything and pick up my copy. It's been waiting for me.

  3. I loved this one too and I'm eagerly looking forward to The Body At The Tower. We need more YA books like this one! Good review :)