Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Also Known As (review)

3.5/5 stars

Also known As (Goodreads | Amazon) is fun, cute and light.  It has its flaws,the biggest being that you really have to suspend your disbelief.  But if you can the book is enjoyable.  It's the story about a girl who is a spy first, and a teenage second thrown into high school for the first time.  She doesn't know how to be a teenager, so she has to use her spy skills to survive.  Both Maggie and the book are cheestastic and I love that.  I'm a sucker for self-aware cheesy jokes.
"That's the second rule of being a spy: Be beige. Be beiger than beige. Be as average as possible. Be like the cashiers in your grocery store. Could you describe them? Chance are, no. Did you see them? Of course."
The book is filled with Maggie's spy advice (it goes against every spy movie you've ever seen).  Maggie is on her first solo-mission to get to close to the son of a prominent journalist and stop the printing of an article that will unveil the secret spy organization her family works for.

Family is very important theme in this book, but therein lies the biggest flaw. As a read you're supposed to accept that Maggie's family works for this super secret spy organization called The Collective, which is okay. But you're also supposed to accept that they've been letting Maggie go on missions, she's a child prodigy where locks are concerned, since she was a little girl.  Even after a kidnapping attempt they've continued letting her work as a spy.

They fret, freak-out and love her, but in some ways they're completely selfish   Maggie isn't allowed to have real friends because they're spies first, people second. I cannot imagine any good, caring, loving parent putting their kid in a situation like that. Not only is Maggie in constant danger, she's being socially crippled based on the decisions of her parents. She never really had a choice in the matter.

The romance left a little to be desired, but it was cute and funny even if the "L" word slipped out way too soon for my preference.  Maggie is a teenage girl who's lived a life of isolation and teenagers always think they're in love when they aren't. That's part of the teenage experience.

The flaws are hard to ignore, but overall this book is fun.  It's a lighthearted superspy story.  Maggie is a smart main character that cares about her family and her friends.  I think those looking for something mostly mindless, or younger YA readers will enjoy this.


Kara_Malinczak said...

It is a fun book and I enjoyed it. But it was nothing special for me. That said, if you have not already, you need to read Audrey, Wait. I think it is a far better book than this one by the same author.

Cassi Haggard said...

I'll add it! I think not having an expectations helped me with this book. It was cute but could've been better.