I read about Harriet, from Louise Fitzhugh's Harriet the Spy, in elementary school, and promptly took to recording everything I saw and heard in a little notebook (which was also promptly lost). In middle school, a friend introduced me to Ally Carter's Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, and I graduated into the ranks of the Gallagher Girls and their amazing, top-secret boarding school. However, now that I'm in high school, I decided maybe it was time to play with the big guns.
There were a couple of reasons why I originally picked up a copy of Ian Fleming's Casino Royale. The first reason was, understandibly, a love of the Bond movies. In fact, this fascination (coupled with other draws from the realms of fantasy) led to a brief foray into the sport of fencing when I was in the seventh grade, including the nicknaming one of my practice-mates Miranda Frost, in honor of the devious character from 2002's Die Another Day (I lasted eight months, in case you care). The second reason had mostly to do with the amazing centenary cover art. :)
Regardless of the "why"s, I sat down and read Casino Royale. In one sitting. It certainly was fast-paced and action packed, and had plenty of derring-do... but all I really got from it was a reasonably thorough knowledge of the game of baccarat (which is described extremely well), and a deep desire to rewatch the Daniel Craig movie. Because, and I'm being perfectly honest here... James Bond is a total jerk, to the point where it was distracting for me. For the most part, it's okay, because his attitudes towards women tend to revolve around them altering his focus. I also get that this book was written in the '50s, so attitudes towards women were a little different. However, that does not excuse his completely outrageous behavior in specific parts, especially the ones in which he discusses Vesper Lynd, his love interest (who I also, admittedly, sort of hated). I still feel the need to rewatch Craig in all his blonde glory, to figure out what I really saw in this guy, Bond, in the first place.
I then turned to less hearty fare, in an effort to reclaim the wonder that I once felt when regarding the word "spy", and picked up something a friend had recommended, Linda Gerber's Death by Bikini mystery. While well-written, it was predictable (which is nice sometimes, but not when dealing with spies), and I also felt a reasonably thorough dislike for the main character.
All of these misadventures were so lacking in any real adventure, that I'm forced to beg, on my knees, CAN ANYONE FIND ME A GOOD SPY BOOK???