Author: Robin Benway| Website |
Publication Date: February 26th, 2013|
Publisher: Bloomsbury Juvenile
My Interest: Spy Thriller|
Age Group | Genre: YA| Espionage, Romance, Mystery, Contemporary
Ever since I fell into the world of Danny Ocean, I’m a sucker for heist/spy/mystery stories.
If you’re a regular reader, you know this. It isn’t anything new.
So, when I discovered Robin Benway’s newest novel, I had to go for it. And you know what I just read on her website? There’s going to be a sequel next year. Woot!!
I checked out a copy from my local library. I was not compensated in any way for my words (cross my heart) nor did I promise a good rating. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine.
Until now, Maggie has usually just been the tag-along safe cracker for her international spy parents. She’s avoided high school, and all of its homework and cliques, and she’s been able to see the world. But her spy travels have always left a void for friends and even boys.
But recently, Maggie and her parents have relocated to New York, and she’s about to go on her first solo assignment undercover at a private school. Maggie may be able to break the school’s security code, blend into the crowd, or even be unseen when she needs to be all in order to crack the case…except when Jesse Oliver, the cute boy from around the corner, almost blows her cover.
For some reason last month, I went on a Robin Benway book spree–probably because I had heard nothing but great things about her stories, and she was a brand new author to me. Unfortunately, Audrey, Wait didn’t make my completed pile but Also Known As was an extremely fun read.
I honestly think I have this super-secret-spy ego. I talk about it sometimes. Or a lot of times. And this week really is turning out to be all-about-spies-week. But you know what? I’m beginning to think I know a good spy novel when I read one.
Also Known As fits my spy persona perfectly. Benway has crafted such a quirky, cute novel that I almost want to re-read it. I would if it weren’t for the fact that I’m knee deep in three other stories.
Let’s start with the cover. Um. Adorable. Cute. Eye-catching. Definitely pulled me in. And I love the whole “there’s more to me than you see” feeling going on. Which is exactly how I felt about Maggie throughout the novel.
She’s a great character, totally relate-able, and a girl whose shoes I would want to be in, anytime. I love how we learn form the get-go that she’s known as the safe cracker, but honestly, there is so much more to this girl than some secret spy life. She has fears and doubts, and huge flaws. And those are such a draw to me because it means she could exist somewhere! She isn’t just some perfect girl who a young reader couldn’t ever become. Maggie is a heroine any girl could aspire to be. But what’s great about Maggie is her heart. Her friend Roux is like the crazy sidekick, and I love how Maggie pulls her into her life, and then takes care of her as if it was the most important job of all. That and saving her family and all.
What I loved best about this story, though, was getting to follow the case right alongside Maggie. I did figure a few things out, and even though the ending felt slightly rushed/open-ended (perhaps because it’s going to have a sequel?!?!) there was still closure. I think the ending of a spy story is often the hardest because an author has worked so hard to create this giant mystery, and to not give away too many red herrings, while also trying to keep the reader in the dark AND have it lead up to this huge reveal. I feel like the big reveal was a little less big than it could have been, but I wasn’t so upset I stopped reading. That in itself makes a good spy novel for me. Also Known As is a espionage thriller that will keep readers turning the pages, if not to figure out the mystery, but to simply share the quirkiness of Maggie’s first venture into the world of high school.
If you like this novel, you might like….
How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller
Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg
Or if you enjoy: Spy thrillers, any type of espionage, quirky romances, great sidekicks, family heist stories, and contemporary YA
Book Talk: Have you read Also Known As yet? What were your thoughts on Maggie’s family work? Think you could put yourself in her shoes and get the job done?