Cover image for A spy among the girls
A spy among the girls
Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Delacorte Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
134 pages ; 22 cm
Are Beth and Josh really in love or just pretending to be in order to spy and continue the feud between the Malloy sisters and the Hatford brothers?
General Note:
Sequel to: A traitor among the boys.
Reading Level:
720 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.9 4.0 42796.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 5.2 8 Quiz: 22475.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



The Boys-Girls Battle Series, Book 6 A Newbery Award-winning Author Valentine's Day is coming up, and love is in the air for Beth Malloy and Josh Hatford. Then Caroline Malloy, the family actress, decides she must know what it's like to fall in love -- and chooses poor Wally Hatford as the object of her affection! As for big sister Eddie, she's more interested in her science fair project than all that mushy stuff. (AR) For ages 8 through 12

Author Notes

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor was born in Anderson, Indiana on January 4, 1933. She received a bachelor's degree from American University in 1963. Her first children's book, The Galloping Goat and Other Stories, was published in 1965. She has written more than 135 children and young adult books including Witch's Sister, The Witch Returns, The Bodies in the Bessledorf Hotel, A String of Chances, The Keeper, Walker's Crossing, Bernie Magruder and the Bats in the Belfry, Please Do Feed the Bears, and The Agony of Alice, which was the first book in the Alice series. She has received several awards including the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Night Cry and the Newberry Award for Shiloh.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 4^-6. In the sixth book about the Malloy girls and their neighbors, the Hatford boys, nine-year-old Caroline Malloy decides to fall in love, to the great annoyance of her chosen victim, classmate Wally Hatford. In the meantime, Beth Malloy and Josh Hatford are in the throes of true puppy love, to the disgust of Josh's twin, Jake. Younger brother Peter enjoys the role of go-between, faithfully delivering to Beth a Valentine chocolate box--filled with candies left after a prolonged stop for a snack. Add to that a mysterious animal stalking the town, Eddie's spectacular science-experiment flop, and two police visits to the Malloy's house. Fans of the series will enjoy the controlled chaos that ensues when, once again, the Hatford and Malloy children find themselves involved in each others' plans and pranks, despite parental warnings to stay away from each other. Naylor delivers another page-turner in this humorous series, set in West Virginia. --Carolyn Phelan

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-Valentine's Day is coming and love is in the air between Beth Malloy and Josh Hatford. When they are seen holding hands, Josh tells his brothers that he's simply spying on the girls to see what tricks they're plotting. Beth's younger sister Caroline wants to know what falling in love is like, and chooses Wally Hatford as the object of her affections. As for big sister Eddie, all she's interested in is her sixth-grade science project and reluctantly teams up with Josh and Jake. The result of their collaboration leads to confusion and mayhem, making for yet another entertaining and hilarious tale. Characters interact and converse on a level that young readers will appreciate. Plot development revolves around a series of misconceptions and misunderstandings about love and romance. A subplot involving a mysterious creature known as the "abaguchie" is the catalyst that tests the youngsters and brings them closer together as the brothers and sisters vow to watch out for one another. Misconceptions are resolved, apologies made, and the Hatfords and Malloys are ready for yet another adventure. This lighthearted, fast-paced story will delight fans of Naylor's earlier titles.-Janet Gillen, Great Neck Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



One Violins Beth was in love, and it was positively sickening, Caroline thought. Beth drew little hearts on the corners of her notebook, with the initials B plus J. She lingered at the end of the footbridge each morning on the way to school, hoping that the Hatford boys would be leaving about the same time and she could walk to school with Josh. Worst of all, Beth acted as though she'd rather be with Josh Hatford than with her own sisters. Caroline, age nine, was the youngest of Coach Malloy's three daughters. Eddie, the oldest, couldn't be bothered. At eleven, all she wanted was, number one, to think up a really good experiment for the sixth-grade science fair, and number two, to make the Buckman Elementary baseball team when tryouts were held the following month. If Beth, a year younger, wanted to act like a lovesick idiot, that was her problem. "But, Eddie, it ruins everything! We were having such a wonderful time annoying the guys! We weren't supposed to fall in love with them!" Caroline protested as they ate their cereal and watched the sun trying to rise in a gray February sky. Fog cut the West Virginia hills around Buckman in half, hiding the tops completely. It covered sections of the valley as well. From the kitchen window, the girls could see the swinging footbridge over the Buckman River, but they couldn't see the Hatfords' house on the other side. "What do you mean, 'we'? I haven't fallen in love with anyone," Eddie told her, shaking the last of the Cheerios into her bowl. "Good!" said their father, who had coached the college football team the previous fall and helped it make the playoffs. Now he was teaching chemistry. "Because I won't know till summer whether I'm leaving Buckman or staying. And if we move back to Ohio, I don't want a bunch of weeping daughters crying over leaving their boyfriends." "Ha!" said Eddie. "Not on your life!" Beth entered the kitchen at that moment. She had pulled her blond hair up on either side of her head, fashioned the top into curls, and fastened it using a large comb with daisies. "Oh, brother!" Eddie said when she saw her. "Who are you supposed to be? Miss America?" "Eddie, don't make fun of your sister," Mrs. Malloy said sharply as she set a plate of toast on the table. "Beth spent a lot of time on her hair, and I think she looks lovely." "All for Josh," Caroline remarked. "Pardon me while I gag," said Eddie. "For your information, I just wanted a new look," Beth said, avoiding their eyes and quickly reaching for the butter. "Yeah, a new look in nail polish too," Caroline said, grabbing one of Beth's hands to look at her nails, which Beth had painted purple to match her sweater. Each nail had a little J painted on it with sparkling silver. "That's enough!" said Mrs. Malloy. "Everyone's entitled to a little privacy. Caroline, finish your toast, please." All because Beth and Josh were in that play together where they had to hold hands! Caroline thought later as she brushed her teeth. But she had to admit what was really bothering her. It wasn't that Beth liked Josh Hatford. Of the four Hatford brothers--Jake, Josh, Wally, and Peter--Josh was one of the nicest. It was the fact that by falling in love, Beth, not Caroline, was in the spotlight these days, and Caroline herself was used to being the center of attention. If she were falling in love, she would make up a whole story to go with it. She would act out her own scenes, write her own love letters, and have secret meetings with her beloved down by the footbridge. Since she wanted to be a Broadway actress, she needed all the life experiences she could get, and falling in love was one of them. Beth's falling in love didn't count. When it was time to leave for school, Caroline and Eddie left together because, these days, Beth always found excuses to lag behind. The Buckman River flowed into town on one side of Island Avenue, looped around the end, and came flowing back on the other side. A road bridge connected the end of Island Avenue to the business district, but a swinging footbridge on one side provided a shortcut for the girls to College Avenue and to Buckman Elementary. This morning, as Caroline and Eddie were crossing the footbridge, looking down on the river's patches of ice heaped with snow like meringue on a pudding, they saw the Hatford boys already leaving their house, heading up the street toward school. Eddie snickered. "Won't that put Beth in a snit," she said. "She purposely dawdled just so she could walk to school with Josh, and Josh started off early without her." But Jake, Josh's twin, was first in line, plodding through the snow with seven-year-old Peter at his heels. Behind him came Wally, and Josh seemed to be hanging back. Every now and then he glanced over toward the Malloys' house, then quickly faced forward again. In the next instant Beth's footsteps came tripping over the boards of the footbridge behind Caroline. "Excuse me," Beth said, hurrying past, and caught up with Josh on the sidewalk, where he was pretending to tie his boot. Caroline stopped walking and surveyed them from the bridge, hands on her hips. "They aren't any good at all at falling in love," she declared. "When you fall in love, violins are supposed to play and bells are supposed to ring. A girl is supposed to rush across a bridge and into the arms of her boyfriend. She's not supposed to pretend she just happened to meet up with him, and he's not supposed to pretend he stopped to tie his boot." "I wouldn't know," said Eddie. "And the last thing I want making noise around me is violins." But following along behind Beth and Josh, seeing how the sleeves of their jackets hardly even touched, much less their hands, Caroline made a decision: if she was ever going to know what it felt like to fall in love, she'd have to do it herself--so if she was ever asked to play the part of a woman in love, she could do it from the heart. She would simply have to choose a boy and fall in love with him, and since the only boy who sat close to her in school was Wally Hatford--who sat directly in front of her, in fact--Wally Hatford it would be. From the Trade Paperback edition. Excerpted from A Spy among the Girls by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.