Tuesday, February 19, 2013
ARC Review: Also Known As
Also Known As by Robin Benway
Walker & Company, 2013
YA Comedy Mystery
Scheduled to release February 26
Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I've had mixed success with Robin Benway's writing, DNF-ing Audrey, Wait! due to its profanity but adoring The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June. I was hoping my reaction to this book would be similarly positive and I am pleased to report that it is.
I found almost everything about this book delightful from our enchanting protagonist Maggie learning to negotiate high school for the first time as an undercover spy to her new best friend to the cute boy to her parents to the rest of the spy cabal. For years, Maggie and her parents have traveled around the world using their spy tactics for good. But now Maggie is taking the lead on a case while also posing as just any other high schooler to humorous effect.
In general, I found this book to be hilarious as Maggie definitely has a quick wit and she struggles to fit in (adjusting to homework is not easy!) Her new friend is a former mean girl and the cute boy is also the son of the target. Needless to say there are many complications but Maggie deals with them mostly with grace and as much honesty as she can. I really loved her and her parents, who have to take a backseat while their beloved daughter is out there-not easy for them all. I loved that spying is a family business, something that brings them together and allows them to appreciate each other's strengths.
My one quibble, which led to a deletion of half a star, was the conclusion to the big mystery which felt a bit too pat and rushed. I like that everything was concluded in this book instead of being drawn out over a series but I did still feel like a few scenes were perhaps excessive and that a tighter focus on the mystery would have been more appropriate. I almost forgot the family's reason for being in New York; after reading about Maggie adjusting to school, it almost seemed like the sole purpose was to acclimate her to a "normal" life.
Overall: Recommended for fans of Ally Carter's Heist Society series, when you just can't get enough of fun light fast-paced stories about spies.
Great Imaginations-3/5 stars
Jen Ryland/YA Romantics