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.
As a giant fan of Robin Benway’s first book, Audrey, Wait!, I was extremely eager to get my hands on a copy of Also Known As. I was hoping I’d find a wonderful main character, lots of humor and laugh-out-loud moments, and perhaps a new cute boy to swoon over. I’m happy to report that Also Known As delivered all that and more; I pretty much had a giant smile on my face the entire time I was reading.
What I loved about this book was that it was ridiculously cute without making your teeth hurt from the sweetness. Maggie is a fabulous character; she so wants to impress her parents and do her job correctly, but she goes about it in a slightly over-the-top manner that made her parents eye-roll and me laugh hysterically. “Dramatic” has never been so apt a word. Throw in her new best friend, Roux, who is perhaps even more theatrical, and the cute object of her mission, Jesse, who has his own sharp tongue and wit, and this book was just littered with amazing oneliners and snappy comebacks. The writing has a crispness to it that’s hard to really describe, but it keeps you eagerly turning pages and fully engrossed in the plot.
The setup for this reminds me a bit of the Gallagher Girls books, in that Maggie is a safecracker and junior spy. While she’s not enrolled in a spy school – her school is decidedly more All-American high school – her background shines throughout, complete with her array of spy tips that she drops throughout her monologues. Her interactions with Roux and Jesse were so much fun to read, and while the romance aspect perhaps progressed a bit too quickly (although I simply adored all the time they were alone together, and their first “date” with the ice cream was just too cute), I felt like it was very true to the whole teenage crush/first love mindset. After all, Maggie is only sixteen, so some dramatic flair is expected.
I very much enjoyed watching all the spy stuff come together into one action-packed sequence at the end. I also adored Angelo, and wish I could have seen even more of him, because he was amazing. He is the perfect mentor for Maggie, and I just loved how he listened to her and offered his advice only when she really needed it. I have heard mumblings that this may turn into a series, and I for one definitely won’t complain if that’s true!
Also Known As is not a serious book, and it’s not meant to be. Go into it for the sheer enjoyment factor, and enjoy the ride. Just be prepared to smile!
An e-galley was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.