Also Known As by Robin Benway | Book Review

13132661Book Title/Author: Also Known As by Robin Benway
Publisher/Year
: Bloomsbury – February 2013
Genre: YA Contemporary (with a mystery/spy twist)
Series: Unknown for now. I’ve heard that it is.
Other Books From Author: Audrey, Wait! and The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June

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I received this as an egalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

Since Maggie has been a young girl she’s been cracking the codes to safes and picking locks as she apparently inherited the spy gene from her parents who are international spies taking down serious baddies around the world. She’s never stayed in one place for too long and has never gotten a chance to be with her peers but her latest mission sends her into the trenches of high school for her most important mission yet — a mission that relies solely on her. She must act the part of a high school student of a fancy private school in New York City while trying to get close to Jesse Oliver — the cute boy who will get her the information she needs from his dad. She must maintain her cover while navigating the foreign world of high school — meeting friends, handling classes and talking to guys — as she realizes that it’s not as easy to look at people as “just a job” when it gets personal.

 Also Known As was my latest gym read. This was a problem. Why you ask? Because pretty much the whole time I had a stupid grin on my face while reading it. Will confirmed this one day when he asked me if the book I was reading was funny because every time he looks at me I’m smirking. Also Known As, like Robin Benway’s novel Audrey, Wait!, made me smile a lot because of the snappy dialogue and a loveable cast of characters (also: the adorable romance). It was impossible for me not to smirk with this wildly entertaining teen spy story. Truly though it was a fun read whilst on the elliptical because it was incredibly fun and easy to get into — I swear I heard James Bond music in my head during some parts.

This is my first teen spy novel I’ve ever read and it was a beyond fun plot — a teenage spy has to go undercover in high school (somewhere she’s never been with her undercover, on the road life style) and integrate and hone in on her subject that she needs to get closer. That subject just happens to be a cute boy. You know the sorts of shenanigans that are bound to happen with that sort of plot and Also Known As didn’t disappoint with Maggie’s thrilling yet fun mission full of mishaps and danger. It definitely had more of a light, fun feel rather than a dangerous feel but you always knew the stakes were high for Maggie and her family.Definitely an older Spy Kids kind of feel but better!

I loved Maggie’s badassness throughout the novel but loved the way she had to assimilate into high school — a completely foreign world to her in contrast to her safe-cracking and lock-picking in cities around the world and bringing down serious baddies of the world. Before in her missions she didn’t feel any sort of human connection — she was in and she was out. With this big mission, not only was it hard to get down the whole high school thing, but she had to get to know her subject firsthand and I really loved her struggle with getting to know these people and still treating them as just a mission. You could really feel how conflicted she was as she juggled the lies and the feelings and the expectations of her parents and their bosses.

As much as you’d think this would be a fast, breakneck plot-based novel (I mean, a crimesolving teen spy), it was really driven very much by Maggie and the fabulous cast of characters. The friendship between Maggie and Roux was refreshing and Roux made the best sidekick ever. Maggie and Jesse’s complicated relationship was engaging and delightful even though you know it’s going to get messy when Jesse becomes a real person to Maggie and not just a subject. Jesse is incredibly sweet and a refreshing and, if you love the nice guys in YA, you are going to fall head over heels for Jesse. I also really loved the adults in the novel — Maggie’s parents and Angelo. I loved that it was a family affair and that their family had to learn to adjust to Maggie being a “normal” high school student for this mission.

Like Robin Benway’s Audrey, Wait!, Also Known was completely charming and fun as we watch a young spy’s transition to being a high school student for her latest mission while trying to crack the case by getting to the subject’s cute teenage son. It was a fun, crimesolving romp through high school and the city streets of the Big Apple but the shining star is Maggie and her growth and the delightful cast of characters involved. COULD NOT STOP SMIRKING while reading it on the elliptical because of the snappy dialogue, the grin-inducing situations and an adorably complicated romance. I mean, she’s a SPY and he’s the target. You know it’s going to get messy. I really enjoyed this one though I still think Audrey, Wait! is my favorite of the two I’ve read from her.

For Fans Of: teenage spy stories, snappy dialogue, a good balance of a crime-solving plot and character development, Spy Kids if they were a bit older, Veronica Mars (ok not SO like it bc nothing could ever be VMars but sort of with the witty nature and the balance of high school life and her detective life)

 You May Also Like:   The Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter, The Heist Society series by Ally Carter, The Squad series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

 

Also Known As by Robin Benway

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one??  How did you feel about it? How awesome was Roux?? I think she is a new favorite secondary character. Have you read any other really good spy stories? Do you also think it could be a fun movie?

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 28 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating gelato, listening to music with oversized headphones and teaching her niece how to be as awesome as she is.

Comments

  1. I’m getting a bit of an Agent Cody Banks kind of vibe from this book! Which is a good thing, I loved that movie when I was younger :P This book sounds great, and I’m glad it was so hilarious! I haven’t read a book in a while that had me with a smile on my face for practically the entire book, and if this is going to do that, I’ll be reading this one soon! I can’t wait to read this fun book, and Audrey, Wait! is going to be read soon too – is was even on my Top Ten Tuesday Spring TBR list!
    Thanks for the great review :)

    PS I dont think I’ve ever been the first commenter before, so this is really exciting!! :D

    • I’ve never seen Agent Cody Banks! It really is so fun but made me have a stupid grin while on the elliptical. Definitely read it when you want a fun and happy book! And OMG GET TO AUDREY, WAIT! One of my faves last year.

      And honestly I think whenever you are the first person to comment on a post that a cookie should spit out of your computer.

  2. I love that you compare this book to Spy Kids! I haven’t read it yet, but from the reviews, I definitely got a super-fun Spy Kids vibe from the book. Personally, I don’t read a lot of fluff-type novels, but I will most definitely keep this on in mind, since everyone adores it so much!

    • Renae — I definitely don’t read a ton of fluff books either (but am finding them the best while working out and in between more intense and emotional books) but this is definitely a good one when you are feeling something really fun!

  3. I’ve heard so many good things about this one! I have to admit that I’m totally drawn to that cover … the purple is so pretty! And I love that you were smirking the whole time — I love a book like that! I think this would be a fun read. I’m not totally into spy books, but this one sounds like a good one. :) Great review!

    • I really was drawn to the cover too for some reason! That purple really pops! It was funny because I wasn’t all that aware of it (even though I knew I was smiling bc it made me laugh) until Will pointed it out and then I’m like OMG EVERYONE IS PROBABLY WATCHING ME! lol

      This was my first spy novel too and honestly the only reason I picked it up was because I loved Audrey, Wait! Robin’s style shines through it seems no matter what she writes!

  4. I was smirking while read this one, too. In fact, I went to a signing and Robin Benway read part of the book aloud. I had already read the book, so I wasn’t surprised, but I had a hard time keeping myself from laughing like crazy.

  5. Jamie, love of my book loving life, we’ve discussed you adding books to my TBR list.

  6. I enjoyed this one, too! Audrey, Wait! will forever be my favorite.. but AKA was a very fun, very shenanigans-filled book with RB’s signature snarky, amazing writing. LOVE HER.

  7. I’ve loved both the Gallagher Girls and Heist Society novels by Ally Carter so this book really does sound good. Your review makes me want to go out and buy it now! Thank you! :D

  8. Honestly, I had a blast reading this book! I laughed out loud a lot while I read it, and that mostly had to do with how entertaining and funny I thought Maggie was. My favorite people in this book, however, are Roux and Angelo. Roux is such a funny, cool, awesome best friend and Angelo is just suave ;) I’m so glad you had fun reading this!

  9. Oh my gosh I’m seeing so many people saying just the best things about this one but I have to admit that the cover isn’t the biggest draw to me BUT BUT the cover to Audrey, Wait! wasn’t either!! and that one has been one of THE FUNNEST books I’ve freakin read in the longest time. So I guess I’ll be snagging this one from the library if they get it/have it available to me. I think that I need to learn that with this author, not to judge the books by the cover.

    I just picked up a book by this same author – The Extraordinary Loves of April, May, and June – because I found it at a used store for $1 hardback and it looked perfect. So we’ll see! A couple of trusted blogger friends have really loved that one and a ton of blogger friends have REALLY loved this one that you’re reviewing here! I need to make more room for Benway on my TBR. Thanks Jamie!! xo

  10. I’m so glad that you loved the characters in this one! Good characters help a story so so much! I’ve been wanting to read this one so thank you for reminding me about it and giving it such a great review!

  11. I’m happy that you got a kick out of this one too! It’s definitely a lot of fun and I enjoyed myself. I also liked it more than Audrey Wait! (Looking around for people throwing pies at me.) AND YES YES YES. Nice boys in YA! Jesse Wins!

  12. I’ve been really into spy books lately and was curious about this one! I might just have to pick it up the next time I’m at the book store!I’m in need of a fun, amusing book like this! I’m glad you enjoyed it, thanks for the great review, Jamie!

  13. I have this on my shelf to read. If it’s anything like Ally Carters books I know I will love.

  14. I just picked up one of Robin Benway’s books a week ago (The Extraordinary Secrets of April May & June) and I adored it so much that I just HAD to have more. So I bought this one and Audrey, Wait! and I really can’t wait for them to come in, because I have a feeling I might love them even more :) I’m intrigued by the spy part, but if it’s anything like April May & June it’s the characters that are even better – just like you said. Can’t wait :)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Also Known As by Robin Benway: It’s funny, light and about a teenage spy so you know it’s a lot of fun and perfect for a beach read. Love the main character! [...]

  2. […] Sky — the series just gets progressively better! * Going Rogue by Robin Benway: I thought Also Known As was SO fun. I have never read a teenage spy novel and this was great! Also Known As completely […]

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