CLAYTON STONE SERIES for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

I read both books in the fun and exciting CLAYTON STONE series back to back. What an 9780823433896enjoyable time I had following Clayton’s adventures. They stand on their own if you decide to skip the first book, but it would be a choice you’d regret.  First up– my thoughts on CLAYTON STONE, AT YOUR SERVICE (2015) where Clayton is 12, soon to be 13.

It covers the seven days Clayton is enlisted as an undercover kid to catch a mall napper. His family’s history of secretive and dangerous  operations leads him to the role. I say dangerous because his parents were both killed in the line of duty and now Clayton is living with his grandma, who’s also in the business. Clayton doesn’t always know if he’s making the right decision, but it’s spot on how an adolescent would handle such a dangerous line of work. He has to juggle both his regular school responsibilities while keeping his other life a secret.

Awesome gadgets and a fast paced story line will keep readers glued. I was anxious to jump right into the next book.

FULL PLOT (From Holiday House) Twelve-year-old Clayton Stone is shocked when a top-secret government organization recruits him as a decoy in a kidnapping sting. Instantly, he gets drawn into the dangerous world of covert operations. Clayton’s new life is full of excitement, with elaborate disguises and classified debriefings, but soon enough there’s a gun against his neck.

Clayton’s transformation from middle-school lacrosse star to Special Service agent is full of suspense, humor and heart—a thrilling undercover debut!


clayton_stone_facing_off_jkt_r-681x1024CLAYTON STONE, FACING OFF (2016) picks up just a few weeks later. How do you top his first adventure? You put Clayton in another school where he can shadow the President of the United State’s son who is acting rather strange of late. All does not start off well in this inclusive private school where students are often the offspring of famous politicians. Clayton would rather be at his old school where he played on the lacrosse team, but duty calls and he answers.

Clayton finds much more that just a president’s son to worry about. There’s the manipulative Otto, and James, a quiet boy who provides a mysterious presence. Girls won’t feel left out as Amber, a key to the first book, shows up as a student at the prestigious Sydney Brown School

The ending is a thrilling ride that will have your heart beating quicker as you flip the pages. It all works because of the heart Clayton brings to the story.  I can’t wait to see what Clayton Stone is up to next.

FULL PLOT (From Holiday House) Thirteen-year-old Clayton’s new assignment for the Special Service means adopting a new identity—indefinitely. He has to leave behind his friends and beloved lacrosse team to live as “Max Carrington,” a student at the Sydney Brown School, where the President’s son Kyle is a seventh grader. But Clayton isn’t the only new kid at school and there’s something odd about his fellow outsider, James Scott. Is James hiding something, and is he a threat to Kyle?

The chaos of undercover life keeps Clayton on his toes as he rushes from one crisis to the next, while a cutthroat school election brings out some strong personalities at Sydney Brown. To make matters worse, Clayton’s new lacrosse team is set to play Masters Academy in the in the most important game of the season. It looks like he will face off against his best friends and former teammates!


  1. You don’t see the game of lacrosse featured in MG books so its a perfect match to have this sport featured here. In my part of the world, lacrosse is hugely popular with the upper MG crowd and they’ll gravitate to Clayton for that reason alone.
  2. I don’t often rave about book covers but these are both winners.
  3. There is almost constant action from the sporting and undercover backdrop. Young readers will not have a chance to use the word “boring” because Clayton’s adventures will not allow it to happen.
  4. Plenty of conflict in Clayton’s life from his friends, Grandmother, and other adults entering his world. He also dearly misses his parents and granddad giving much depth to the storyline.
  5. My favorite character besides Clayton was his grandmother. No typecasting here, Gram is one tough lady who shows up in the most unexpected get-ups.

FAVORITE LINES:  Less than twenty four hours later, I’m in the underwear section at Macy’s. Shopping. Normally, I wouldn’t be caught dead here. Now I might be.

Caught dead, that is.

I lean over and mutter to my shoe, trying to act like bra-shopping with my fake mom is a regular day in the life of me. “Can you hear me? Over.”


 Be sure to visit Ena’s author web site and Twitter for more insights.


Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. Click on the comments link below.

Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.


About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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7 Responses to CLAYTON STONE SERIES for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

  1. Although I feel horrible about Clayton’s parents’ deaths, I like that his main adult influence is his grandmother who just happens to be in the business of catch crooks, too. It gives ‘granny’ a unique feel. Thanks for sharing these!

  2. Teen Special Service agents will certainly engage many readers. I love your description of Clayton, his grandmother and the plot. What a fast-paced read!

  3. LOL. The cover of the first one says volumes about the book. Of course, I get why the second cover is so different. I think my boys will be drawn to the second, but either way, thanks for the introduction to this author. I love when series can be read out of order. It used to be the norm, but it’s rather refreshing in today’s market. Super review. Thanks.

  4. Dorine White says:

    Love the favorite line about the underwear department. I also agree about the book covers. The first one caught my eye just because it looks like a little kid driving a town car. Thanks for the review.

  5. Interesting. I just started reading Clayton Stone Facing Off this morning. I received this for review and now I’m really excited to read it. I have to say, the first page is a great opener. Thanks for your review. Didn’t realize there was a prequel to this one.

  6. I have a bit of a soft spot for kid spy stories—not really sure why, since I’m not really a James Bond fan or anything. These sound just perfect: funny and exciting. Love both covers, but the first one especially!

  7. warrchick says:

    These sound absolutely delightful–and I love that first line! Thank you so much for the recommend!

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