Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Title:     Also Known As
Author: Robin Benway
Rating:   ★★★ 1/2

I was very intrigued by Also Known As since I saw it in Goodreads, and I'm very glad I did pick it up to read. It fits my taste perfectly, with a combination of  romance, kick-ass female, humorous characters, and a good spy/detective plot.

Being a 16-year-old safecracker and active-duty daughter of international spies has its moments, good and bad. Pros: Seeing the world one crime-solving adventure at a time. Having parents with super cool jobs. Cons: Never staying in one place long enough to have friends or a boyfriend. But for Maggie Silver, the biggest perk of all has been avoiding high school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations. Then Maggie and her parents are sent to New York for her first solo assignment, and all of that changes. She'll need to attend a private school, avoid the temptation to hack the school's security system, and befriend one aggravatingly cute Jesse Oliver to gain the essential information she needs to crack the case . . . all while trying not to blow her cover.

Maggie Silver certainly brought me back to my younger years, when I was impetuous and giggly over a crush, and when I was overly dramatic. I don't know whether remembering those is a good thing or not, but it amused me because I was able to connect with the character. I'm also a little envious that at such a young age, she's already such a bad-ass. And I wish I know what happened in Luxembourg.

I don't know what to make of Jesse Oliver. He sounds like one of those cool kids in high school everyone wants to date, but honestly he sounds a little wimpy. He sounds so unsure of himself when they first started dating. I thought all boys in high school try to act cocky and cool? Well, that might work for some and might find it adorable, but I like my men confident with just a bit of vulnerability. I'm surprised, though, at how quickly Maggie and Jesse fell for each other. But then again falling in love in high school just felt so easy, remember?

I love the supporting characters; they are all so wacky! Roux and Angelo seems like a match made in heaven, and Maggie's parents crack me up. The storyline when they decide that they should ground Maggie had me laughing. It kind of reminded me about Emma Stone's parents in Easy A. Also, I love that they are so supportive of Maggie, and that she still comes first. Parents are usually depicted as too busy, especially since they're spies, but they were always there for her.

The spy/detective plot was certainly interesting! I like that I didn't figure out the evil mastermind until the end, although I wish it was explained why he did that. Also, a lot of the "stereotypes" about detectives where challenged, such as the wearing of trench coats and use of night vision goggles. Although if I was a spy and Burberry would be my coat, I'd be happy to play along with the stereotype. (And can I get Prada for my shoes?)

It's not the most original plot I've read in terms of teenage spies, but I like the twist that the whole family is a spy, and that she was able to rely on non-spy friends. I enjoyed it so much I'm really hoping there will be a sequel. I want to read more about Maggie and her adventures (and what happened in Luxembourg). If you're a fan of YA books, kick-ass females, kick-ass spies with some humor thrown in, you might enjoy the book as much as I did.