Sunday, December 28, 2008

I'd Tell You I Love You, but Then I'd Have to Kill You, by Ally Carter: Alias awesome

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You. Ally Carter(2006).
NY: Hyperion. ISBN: 1423100034

Cammie Morgan, is just your average 16 year old girl who attends Gallagher Academy, an all-girls boarding school where her mom is the headmistress. Or is she? And is the Gallagher Academy just your average boarding school? As it turns out, no! Cammie, alias "the Chameleon," like all her classmates, is actually a super-genius attending a top secret boarding school for future mistresses of espionage. Here, the girls speak 14 different languages, hack the NSA, take notes on paper that evaporates to destroy the evidence, and take a class called Covert Operations. It is a Cov-Ops field trip into town that leads trouble for Cammie, when she bumps into and attracts the attention of a cute boy named Josh. But the townies have some preconceived notions about Gallagher girls, chiefly that they are little rich bitches who can be filed under the not to like category…So Cammie tells Josh she's a home schooler who has spent time in many foreign lands. Soon, she's sneaking out using the secret tunnels to rendezvous with Josh, and her roommates Becca, Liz and new bad girl transfer Macy are spying on him for extra credit. But can the spy games last? Will the teachers catch on? Would Josh still like Cammie if he knew the truth about where she went to school? Or what her school really is? And will she pass her Cov-Ops midterm?!?
I enjoy Alias, so it's no big shocker I found this book to be a super fun YA chick-lit romantic read about girl spies (I am a run-on champ). If only Francie had been as smart as Becca or Liz…le sigh. I found the spy gadgets cool, the plot well fleshed out and compelling, and the characters vibrant. Cammie and co may have spy skills and genius IQ's, but they still have adolescent problems like homework, self-confidence problems, compelling family drama, and trouble figuring boys out. I also really enjoyed that the ending isn't entirely foreseeable, and the action keeps the plot pace quick. I highly recommend this book, especially because it is the first in a series (the second one is even better!), and it gives a new twist to a tried and true YA romance genre staple.

Best for: Due to the girl heavy cast of characters and elements of romance, this is a book which will most likely only titillate girls ages 12 to 16. Sorry, gentlemen. Stick to Alex Rider, equal gender employer/hero to the younger YA masses.

Book Talk Hook: Do a lead-in asking questions about the things you can learn in spy school (i.e. "Who here can speak 14 languages?" "Who here knows how to kill a man using only spaghetti?" etc.), and then give a brief summary of the plot.

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