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.
(Synopsis taken from goodreads.)
Title: C.Y.A.: Covert Youth Agency: The Case of Tangled Love
Author: Jason Ancona
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: August 2, 2010
Source: Received from author. Many thanks goes to Jason Ancona for sending me a copy of his book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. This review is part of the Teen Book Scene blog tour for Jason Ancona.
My rating: 3/5
Peter is the founding member of the Covert Youth Agency. He along with his two friends are on the job, ready to help those in need. The current case they are working on will require Peter to set aside his feelings as he hunts down answers for his friend, and unrequited love interest, Vera. The group has an intricate system in place for those requesting help so they do not arouse suspicion within the faculty. They already know of one teacher who may or may not be appreciative of their skills with helping those in need.
I quite enjoyed reading about the application system, and liked how interactive it was with those reading along. Ancona has also created a website for the Covert Youth Agency where you can apply certain elements of the book to the website. Specifically how the C.Y.A. can be reached by those needing help. I think that added an element of interest to the book.
I did find the book was dialogue heavy, but I enjoyed the interactions between the characters. I found that things jumped around between the characters a lot giving an omniscient view of what they were thinking without getting into that specific character's head. Though with the steady stream of dialogue and the pace it was set at, it seemed to work out well. Ancona uses subtle humour throughout the book to keep things interesting. The back and forth between Peter's friends, Tollhouse, and Lightman, added an element of fun as they would try to one up each other. The ladybug code was also interesting, and there is a passage that the reader has to decipher as a last parting message. Ancona has included the ladybug code on his website for those wanting to decipher the hidden message included there as well.
All in all, a light, cute read with good bones. I'd suggest this book more so for younger teens. The characters all have their own distinctive personalities, and I could see them sticking around as part of a series. I would love to see what trouble this trio gets up to next.