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. — Goodreads Description
Also Known As was a really fun and quick read! You can always lure me in with promises about schools or teenage espionage and, oh look, this has both!
♦ On the upside ♦
Fun characters! Maggie was a lovely character to read about, especially since she was extremely realistic as far as my opinion goes. There’s the old teenage drama trope, sure, but it felt very close to the drama that I observe in the teenagers I encounter. Her best friend Roux was absolutely hilarious, to say the least, but could also be very serious when the situation required it. I really liked her and her attitute and I hope to see more of her in the sequels.
Maggie’s specialty: safe-cracking! It made for an intriguing premise — a teenager being raised as a spy but not necessarily to do some fancy martial arts kind of bad-guy-fighting, but rather as somebody who knows exactly how to do a specific job and that’s what they stick with. It made the story more down-to-earth, despite the general not-so-normal life as a spy.
The focus on wanting to be normal. Like any other teenager who is different, Maggie yearns to be normal and to lead a normal life. Maggie’s struggle with wanting to be normal and also a perfect spy was very authentic, as far as books about teenage spies go.
The writing was very straightforward and easy to follow along, which made for a quick read.
♦ Favourite Quote ♦
“Do the passport thing,” Roux piped up. “That’s really effective.”
♦ On the downside ♦
Having read Ally Carter’s books about teenage girl spies (and also the ones about teenage criminals because hell yeah Ally Carter ♥) I was a little let down. I don’t mean to compare them quite so intently but Ally Carter has spoiled me. Also Known As is a very nice book but there’s just something missing that gives it a little bit of a kick, you know? It doesn’t wow me. The story is nice, the writing is nice, the characters are nice, but nice isn’t omgwowamazing.
Occasionally the characters were a little too authentic. I shouldn’t complain, not after praising it, but I had trouble following Roux’s mood patterns and resulting attitude.
♦ Should you read it? ♦
Sure. It is a nice read after all. There’s room for improvement and if you’ve enjoyed Ally Carter’s books (or even Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series) you might want to lower your expectations, but I think it’s enjoyable all the same!