Friday, November 8, 2013

Also Known As

Earlier this year I read Robin Benway's Audrey Wait! and enjoyed it. When my library got copies of her latest novel, Also Known As, I snapped one right up. It was a cute, fun story of a teenage spy, mystery, and first love.

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.

Following the action of this book requires a large suspension of disbelief, but that is obvious from the first reading of the synopsis. I was willing to suspend and enjoy. I did think Maggie's parents and their willingness to expose their daughter to their dangerous lifestyle, no matter how altruistic, was not the best parenting choice possible. However, Maggie herself is a delightful main character. Confident and knowledgeable of the world, high school is not that much of a hard change for her. She has studied enough to know how to roll with it and to take it all in stride. Her transition may have been a little too easy, but I rather liked this element as she is one who has had to learn to blend her entire life. I also liked her willingness to befriend Roux and actually be a true friend to her. Roux is another wonderful character, full of snark and bitterness, she has a softer side to her too. Jesse and Maggie have great chemistry and I adored their banter. In fact, I was thinking of giving up on this one simply  because I was in a weird mood while reading it, but then I hit their first conversation and it turned everything right around. I also enjoyed how round of a character Jesse is. Maggie and Jesse do seem to trip into "love" awfully fast, but it isn't without getting to know each other first and they are teenagers. (Many teens do seem to fall in love awfully fast. Or at least think they do.)

The action in the story is interesting, though I didn't think the big mystery was all that hard to figure out. I had fun watching Maggie get there and the stress over having to target Jesse added to the tension. There are wonderful scenes between the two of them of the romantic sort, but there are also chase scenes, intense moments of safe cracking, and a helicopter. Fun all the way to the end. 

When I picked this up, I didn't realize it was the first in the series, but am delighted to discover it is. The sequel, Going Rogue, will be released in January.


Christina said...

Roux and Jesse do fall for each other really quickly, but everything about their romance was so young teen that I didn't mind. It didn't feel like a forever romance, which is what really irks me in YA.

Mostly I had issues with the spying, which didn't seem all that believable. Anyway, I'll read the next one despite that.

Brandy said...

Oh I liked the realism of the speedy romance too (and that it wasn't true love forever!!!), but it also amuses me. It amuses me when actual teens talk about their relationships like that to me too. :)

The spying was my biggest issue as well, mostly her parent's advocating it so strongly. Would not be the path I would take with my own kids….