Tuesday, June 24, 2014

REVIEW: ALSO KNOWN AS by Robin Benway




Title: Also Known As
Series: Also Known As, #1
Author: Robin Benway
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: February 28, 2013
Genres: YA, Romance, Humor
Reviewed by: Angie Edwards
My rating: 4/5

SUMMARY

Which is more dangerous: being an international spy... or surviving high school?

Maggie Silver has never minded her unusual life. Cracking safes for the world's premier spy organization and traveling the world with her insanely cool parents definitely beat high school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations. (If it's three digits, why bother locking it at all?)

But when Maggie and her parents are sent to New York City for her first solo assignment, her world is transformed. Suddenly, she's attending a private school with hundreds of "mean girl" wannabes, trying to avoid the temptation to hack the school's elementary security system, and working to befriend the aggravatingly cute son of a potential national security threat... all while trying not to blow her cover.

From the hilarious and poignant author of Audrey, Wait! comes a fast-paced caper that proves that even the world's greatest spies don't have a mission plan for love.





REVIEW

I must say, the opening line of the book summary hooked me. I wanted to know the answer to that question asap! What would be more dangerous: being a spy or attending high school? Opinions would vary on that, of course, but sadly this book does not answer that question. If you’re expecting a spy-novel, scrap this from your to-read list right now. As in right now, people! This is a romance disguised as a spy novel to fool you into reading it. If you’re a hardcore spy-novel-loving junkie, I suggest you move on. No spying is to be found here. Yes, I know, I know. The summary promises fast-paced world-class spying and safe cracking, and it probably has you envisioning all sorts of glamorous and exciting, action-packed spy-y stuff with wild car chases, disguises, buildings exploding, cool gadgets, underground lairs, etc, but I’m telling you now to move along, because that ain’t happening here. Not in this novel. Two or three safes get cracked, a few locks get picked, but you won’t be reliving any Austin Powers / James Bond movie moments with this novel.

Anyway, now that we’ve established that this is not a spy novel, I can tell you that it is a really terrific book about friendship, family, trust, and a hefty helping of romance. A week after I’ve finished this book, I’m still thinking about the adorable and quirky cast of characters that can be found in this book. Maggie wasn’t always my favorite character, and to be honest, her unreasonable demands and expectations of her parents sometimes wore on my patience. I completely understood her parents’ concern for her safety when she stayed out until two o’ clock in the morning without letting them know her whereabouts. I even understand them freaking out. So for her to go off on them when they corner her on this issue was entirely unacceptable. Apart from her tantrums, she is a well-rounded character with a wicked sense of humor. In fact, all these characters are.

My favorite characters were Roux, Henry the doorman, and Angelo. Roux provides top-class entertainment, especially in her dealings with Henry the doorman. She had me rolling on the floor with laughter the chapter in which she got drunk as a skunk and did the karaoke thing. This book is worth reading for that scene alone! I also felt sorry for Roux because she’s so alone. All she wants is to be part of a family.  I also liked Maggie’s parents and how they interacted with her. I wasn’t so sure about them tip-toeing around Maggie when she was having one of her moods, though. Do parents actually do that?

The romance was sweet, but nothing special. The friendship between Maggie and Jesse was charming and created a solid foundation on which they could build a romantic relationship. He took her on such an amazing and unforgettable first date I wished I was in her shoes!

Overall I think this was a great romance novel. Naturally I was disappointed that there was so much romance and so little espionage, but it turned into such an extremely enjoyable book, what, with all the great characters, the dialogue that had me in stitches, Roux’s antics and Henry’s stiff upper-lip, and the mysterious Angelo. In the end I didn’t mind that Also Known As wasn’t what it was purported to be and had somewhat of a rushed ending. It put me in the right frame of mind to get started on Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls.




  



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ABOUT the AUTHOR


I'm the author of "Audrey, Wait!", "The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June", and the AKA series. My latest book "Emmy & Oliver" will be released on Summer 2015. I live in Los Angeles with my extremely stubborn shih tzu, Hudson. I like cooking, puppies, and coffee, but not in that order. We should be friends.



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