Title: Also Known As
Author: Robin Benway
May Contain Spoilers
When I saw Also Known As on Netgalley, I immediately requested a copy. I love YA books featuring spies, espionage, and danger, and this title looked like it had all of that in spades. Plus, as an added bonus, protagonist Maggie is a gifted safe-cracker. Seriously, it just doesn’t get any more fun than that! The first chapter kind of bogged me down, but once I hit my stride, I gobbled Also Known As in just an afternoon. I didn’t want to put it down, and it had me so engaged in the story that I was able to overlook a few inconsistences that would have driven me crazy otherwise. This is a fun read, with a confident though in over her head heroine, and an engaging cast of supporting characters. I really hope Maggie will return for more adventures.
Maggie has been living the life of a spy forever. Both of her parents are employed by the Collective, and they spend their days trying to make the world a safer place by putting the brakes on gun runners, human traffickers, and other nefarious plots designed to shake up the world order. Maggie has been cracking locks since she was a toddler, and she fully expects to follow in her parents’ spy footsteps, cracking locks and stealing away with evil doers’ plans to destroy peace and stability. When she’s given her first solo assignment in NYC, she couldn’t be more thrilled. All she has to do is befriend Jesse Oliver. Jesse’s father runs a powerful publishing empire, and he’s planning to run an expose outing Maggie, her family, and the Collective. If she can’t steal the documents that threaten to ruin her family, they will be in big, big danger.
Now, I’m not even going to wonder why the Collective, a super secret spy organization, is putting an inexperienced spy in charge of saving everyone’s bacon. Instead, I allowed myself to get sucked into Maggie’s upbeat and very entertaining narrative. She has all of the confidence in the world, and she is going to make everyone proud of her. She is going to live up to her legacy and steal those damaging documents! All she has to do is pretend to be friends with Jesse, and she’s in like Flynn!
Only that’s not how things work out. As Maggie embraces her assignment, she’s determined to do everything in her power to be successful. But as she makes friends with a social outcast, and gets caught up in going to school and hanging out with kids her own age, she starts to see that it’s more difficult to pretend that she ever had thought. And after she and Jesse connect on a personal level, she realizes, to her dismay, that she’s not pretending anymore. She really likes him, and she really likes her new friend Roux, and she knows her parents are never going to understand her lapse in judgment. They’ve trained her better than that, haven’t they?
I loved Maggie’s anxiety about hurting her new friends. Now that she actually has some, she is loathe to lose them. She is lying to everyone, though, and it’s making her miserable. Being a teen spy is just not as easy as it sounds! She can’t let her parents know that she kissed Jesse (and that she’d do it again in a second), or that her friendship with Roux isn’t just for cover. She is dealing with so many issues that she never considered, it’s no wonder she can’t get a decent night’s sleep!
Also Known As lived up to all of my expectations, and even exceeded them. The pacing is spot on, the plot never lagged, and Maggie is a fun, likable character, even if she did need to be knocked down a peg or two. Recommended for fans of Ally Carter. Check back later today for your chance to win a copy of Also Known As!
Review copy provided by publisher