School Library Journal: "YA readers seeking blockbuster adventure may want to consider Desert Dark by debut novelist Sonja Stone, set in a secret CIA training school in the wilds of Arizona."

Sonja Stone developed a taste for life on the lam at an early age, as her family moved to more than a dozen small towns across the country and abroad before she turned fifteen. She collected intel on psychology and creative writing from Washington College, trained at Le Cordon Bleu for a cover job as head pastry chef, and completed a handful of courses at the same survival school where Tom Hanks prepared for Cast Away. Currently, she’s raising two covert agents masquerading as typical teenagers. Just to be safe, Sonja’s learned to throw knives, fire guns, and navigate the desert, because . . . well, you never know.

Montana Public Radio book review, Desert Dark

More from School Library Journal: “VERDICT: A good additional purchase for those seeking strong female protagonists, mystery, or foreign operative adventure.”

sonja stone  (me, me, me)

Catholic Library World:Desert Dark is a sure-fire hit with young adults aged twelve and up. This suspenseful read would be well-placed in any public or school library.”

Kirkus Reviews: “With secrets around every corner and an exciting premise, this thriller will keep readers guessing right to the very last page. (Thriller. 12-16)”

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Montana Public Radio: “There was so much suspense, I couldn’t put the book down without finishing it. Truthfully, this book deals with things too advanced for kids my age (I'm 10)  and I would recommend it for ages 15 and up if they like suspense and mystery . . .” Reviewed by Logan, age 10.

​​twitter: @sonjastone1


The Horn Book Guide: “ . . . the engaging fish-out-of-water setup, fast pace, and strong lead character make this a compulsively readable thriller.”


Booklist: "Readers who enjoyed Marie Lu’s Legend series or James Dashner’s Maze Runner trilogy will appreciate this fast-paced action novel."

Sonja Stone

ALAN (Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the NCTE): “Stone creates a mood of mystery from the first few pages. . . . A solid mystery with references to today’s headlines, lots of suspense, realistic dialogue, and a dash of romance, this book will take readers on a page-turning ride.” 

Publishers Weekly: “A mix of all-too-real war games, teenage love conundrums, and a tenacious heroine makes this an engaging first outing. Ages 12–up.”

Children's Book Council: “With a setting that is Hogwarts meets The Bourne Identity, this debut YA thriller will make readers mad with suspense.”