Chokepoint / By Jill Williamson (Mini Mission 1.5)
NovelTeen Press ISBN 9780988759404
Project Gemini / By Jill Williamson (Mission League, 2: Okinawa)
Marcher Lord Press ISBN 9781940163024
Ambushed / By Jill Williamson (Mission League, 2.5)
NovelTeen Press ISBN 9780988759459
MS grades 7-12 rating: 4.
Award-winning author Jill Williamson continues her contemporary series, filled with spies and adventure, just the type of book to appeal to teens, especially teen boys. The first book in this series was reviewed here: The New Recruit.
In Chokepoint, agent-in-training Spencer Garamond tries to slip back into normal life after his adventure in Russia, but it is difficult – he has Mission League field agents acting as bodyguards to avoid his capture by the bad guys who think Spencer is part of the fulfillment of an old prophecy. Spencer tries to stay safe while trying to lead his high school basketball team to the championship.
In Project Gemini, basketball season is almost over, and Spencer continues to get glimpses and dreams about future events or possibilities. His coach is pushing him to sign up for basketball camp, and the Mission League wants him to go to Japan for the summer. His friends don’t understand his choices. His goal has been to get a NCAA basketball scholarship but the mission trips seem to be getting in the way. Distracting Spencer are twin teenaged Japanese girls who might be enemy agents involved in organized crime. A villain from his Russian adventure reappears as more secrets unfold. Twins as decoys in unexpected places are a key component in the story.
In Ambushed, Spencer started attending youth group at church, even though he still isn’t a Christian. His long-lost father – using an alias – contacts him via Facebook. When Spencer is injured, his father pulls strings to get him the best surgeon to repair his torn ACL, an injury that could end his basketball dreams. But his father might be his enemy when he supplies Spencer’s friend with alcohol and drugs for brownies served at a party Spencer attends. Spencer is suspended until after the state championship, and has to work to regain everyone’s trust in Broken Trust, to be released later in 2014.
In the Mission League series, Williamson successfully captures the teenage boy’s challenges and interests: spies, girls, sports, and drugs/alcohol temptation. Spencer is not a Christian, but a teen boy who struggles with faith issues. He is a reluctant member of the Mission League, yet he is willing to go on these short-term missions. The series is filled with good and bad examples of teens. Spencer is never far from trouble, both from his own choices and from the actions of others. Despite his injuries, he manages to learn from his experiences, making the reader eager to read about his next adventure (Broken Trust).
Recommended for teen collections in public libraries, church libraries, and school libraries.
Carol R. Gehringer
— reprinted with permission, Christian Library Journal, 2014 (for review of Project Gemini).