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Harriet the Spy, Double Agent    by Maya Gold order for
Harriet the Spy, Double Agent
by Maya Gold
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

She's twelve-years old and lives in Manhattan, NYC. Harriet M. Welsch is her name and spying is her game. In this adventure (based on the classic characters created by Louise Fitzhugh), Harriet steps into the role of 'Double Agent'. While she pursues ongoing investigations, Harriet has to keep an eye on a new girl in town, who was taken in by her aunt and uncle. The Doctors Feigenbaum live just across the street from the Welsch's. Their niece, Annie Smith, left her school in Boston abruptly, and will accompany Harriet to Gregory School.

Annie uses three aliases (Yolanda Montezuma, Rosarita Sauvage, and Zoe Carpaccio), each accompanied by a different personality and dress style. Harriet sees the newcomer as a 'spy recruit' (they have much in common). Harriet's best friend Sport (Simon Rocque) walks with the girls to school each day, and assists Harriet now and then. Sport has fallen in love with Annie, specifically in her green boots as Yolanda. Annie and Harriet become suspicious of characters, who have built a shed on a freshly-cleaned out lot, and sell Christmas trees and wreaths. The duo walk the route daily, giving the newcomers 'the spy eye'.

After her partner reveals that she is in love with an older man, Harriet decides to spy on Annie, too. By now Harriet is pondering the meaning of 'falling in love'. She consults her friend, Ole Golly, who tells her, 'I can no more explain falling in love than I could explain how to breathe. Both are involuntary and both are essential. Poets have pondered the subject for centuries ... I will leave you with just this one, from Elizabeth Barrett Browning: 'Whoever lives true life, will love true love' ... as I feel my new baby stir and kick, I am newly aware of the many ways in which human beings can love.'

Maya Gold is an award-winning screenwriter, novelist, and editor, living in New York. As Harriet Welsch unravels mysteries about Annie, she comes to embrace many kinds of different love - of parents, of friends, of herself, and others who come into and out of her life. Though I did expect this Harriet the Spy series to be more action-packed, I recommend it to middle schoolers for its heartwarming flow and feelings.

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