Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Review: Also Known As

Also Known As
By Robin Benway
Published: February 26, 2013

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.

My review:

I wanted to read this book because the teen spy premise reminded me of The Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter, which I love. In a way, this book is similar to I'd Tell You I Love You, But then I'd Have to Kill You because of the romance and the idea of a girl who has been raised in a very different way from most teens trying to act like an ordinary teen. Also Known As has the same kind of humor but it isn't quite the same in content. It is a little edgier with a secondary character who drinks like a fish and the romance is a little more heated. I also thought the main character, Maggie, didn't quite pull off her spy persona very convincingly. Of course in this book, the story doesn't just focus on Maggie's mission. It is also about her desire for a normal teenage life so we spend time reading about her experiences at school, her first real party, etc.

Since this book is not at its strongest where the espionage elements are concerned, what really makes this story work is the development of Maggie's friendship with Roux, her first friend, and her relationship with Jesse and the complications involved because of her assignment. Maggie may not be believable as a spy but she is absolutely convincing as a new student trying to make a friend and all the uncertainties that she faces as she attempts to fit in. Roux is a great secondary character. Looking back, I think I liked her more than Maggie because she has more depth and personality. Roux has her problems but she becomes a good friend to Maggie. The romance between Maggie and Jesse is sweet. Jesse is a nice guy and Maggie has a hard time deceiving him about her life. While I was glad that Jesse was portrayed as a decent love interest, I wish there was more to his character.

Overall I'd say this is a fun and entertaining story that would be a good pick for fans of The Gallagher Girls series. It doesn't live up to Ally Carter's books in terms of the espionage but it does offer a great heroine, sweet romance, and a zany sidekick.

Note: I received an e-ARC for review courtesy of NetGalley


  1. I feel like Jesse needed more too although I liked what was shown and that he's a good guy at heart-yay for Maggie not swooning over a jerk! I really loved having her parents involved as well as Angelo-got to love responsible adults.

  2. I haven't yet the Gallagher series yet, but I think on the whole this would be a first time for me, and I can't wait to read it! Great review!

  3. The cover definitely reminds me of Gallagher girls!

  4. Ah, the zany sidekick. I like those. :D
    This sounds like a fun read---I've never read one of Robin Benway's books but they always sound interesting.

  5. Ally Carter is in a league of her own. I found the characters in this one so charming that I was perfectly willing to overlook that fact that the spy plot was not rock solid.


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