Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesday Review-Ally Carter, I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You

The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women is a fairly typical all-girls school - that is, it would be if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses, but it’s really a school for spies.

Cammie Morgan is a second-generation Gallagher Girl, and by her sophomore year she’s already fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways (one of which involves a piece of uncooked spaghetti). But the one thing the Gallagher Academy hasn’t prepared her for is what to do when she falls for a boy who thinks she’s an ordinary girl.

Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, and track him through town without his ever being the wiser - but can she have a relationship with a regular boy who can never know the truth about her?

Cammie may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she’s beginning her most dangerous mission - falling in love. -from BarnesandNoble.com Cover also from Barnesandnoble.com

I had heard about this book through Janet Reid's blog and read a lot of great reviews on this series. When I won my gift certificate to Barnes and Noble online, I rushed to buy it. First of all, I really like the cover on this book. I love how the title is in the newspaper ransom note type of font. :0) Very cool.

Written in first person from Cammie's point of view, it's easy to fall in love with her and her unique best friends, Bex and Liz. From the first page, the reader is pulled into the characterization. You feel like these are your friends, too. 

One really fabulous note...Cammie doesn't hate her mother. There are the obvious small strains of mother/teen daughter relationship...but Cammie admires her mother and shows that through her emotions and reactions to her. This was very refreshing for me, as I usually see a lot of MC's with either no parents, or bad parents. :0)

Now, when it comes to falling in love, I'm no expert at writing it and I generally don't read romance. It's a very legitimate genre and love is part of life. But, if I read a book for the sheer joy and fun of reading a book, I tend to gravitate to suspense, thrillers, mystery and bad guys. Not falling for a guy and becoming some blithering idiot. :-)

Apparently, Ally Carter doesn't feel that love has to be all hearts and romance either. Which I love. She cleverly weaves the plot around subplots and you hardly notice it's all about a boy. (Because it isn't really-but it is.) She hides the romance in covert operations and spy training and going undercover. It's a hilarious take on the traditional girl meets boy type of YA. 

So, all in all this was a light and fun read. I enjoyed the voice and style of writing and Cammie is endearing. Even the boy she is surveilling is adorable. I recommend it for young girls that read romance, they will find a shift in the typical form of writing, but I think they would find it refreshing. There is also no sex or even allusions to sex and if there was any cursing it might have been the word hell, but I don't remember any so it wasn't prominent. So, it's a safe read for younger readers that enjoy books above their level. 

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Tuesday! 


  1. Shoot, I'm thinking the fact that Cammie doesn't hate her mother is refreshing because in real life so many teens go through the "I hate my mother" phase. Yes, I was one of the hated mothers for a period of time.... ;)

  2. PJ: I'm really close to being that mom now. LOL My ten year old is changing weekly. :0)

  3. I have a wretched relationship with both my parents, so my characters tend to as well (I know those emotions only too well). ;-)

    I'll have to check this one out!

  4. I'm lovin' that TITLE. That's one of those ideas that makes me think, "I wish I'd come up with that!" That's a sure sign of a good book, I think.

  5. Is my 3 month old daughter going to hate her mother one day?? I can't imagine...

  6. I've been curious about this one for a while now - thanks, Kristi! :-)

  7. Stephanie: Me too! That was what grabbed me from the get, her title.

    Dean: Enjoy it while it lasts. LOL All little girls "hate" their mother at one point or another during childhood/teenage-doom

    Shannon: Hope you enjoy!

  8. Sounds like a great book! I'll put it on my TBR list!

  9. Very thorough and great review!

    I loved this book!! I loved the title and the idea of it, and I got pulled in standing in the YA aisle of Barnes and Nobles and think I convinced three teens to buy it. :)

    I loved it because it was so different and creative. I loved the idea of a spy school for kids (I love spy stuff!!) and I thought it was a great idea to have a MC that was genius and rivaled adult spies in intelligence but couldn't carry on a conversation with a boy.

    It's also popular enough - the whole series actually - that you can find them in your library too. That's how I ended up reading them, but I'll buy them for my daughter when she's old enough to like them.

  10. You have a wonderful site here! I found you by way of Dangerous With A Pen. I look forward to reading more from you :)

    I enjoyed your review. This book is on my to-read list!


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