Monday, January 14, 2013

My Alias Is Yours For the Taking

Expected Publication:  February 26th, 2013
Also Known As
By: Robin Benway
ISBN-13: 9780802733900

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.


     Maggie Silver has been safe-cracking since she was three years old and wants nothing more than to be a spy just like her parents.  So when the organization they work for, the Collective, gives Maggie a solo assignment she's super excited.  Then she finds out that her assignment is basically to be a normal teenager - go to high school, make friends and infiltrate the life of Jesse Oliver so she can steal his Dad's info on the Collective.  Maggie only has a small time frame before Mr. Oliver publishes what he knows and ruins her parent's lives (and her own).  Or so she's been told.  But with the help of family friend Angelo, her new BFF Roux and Jesse himself, can Maggie find out the truth before it costs her something far more valuable than she ever expected?  Also, what can you do when you fall in love with your assignment?  I have been a fan of Robin Benway since reading her debut novel, Audrey Wait!, which was one of my favorite books to be published while I was a teen.  She has a great sense of humor and the characterizations she manages are amazing.  I was laughing at and gasping with Maggie from the very first page of the novel.  Probably because I was a majorly over-dramatic teenager myself and can totally relate to her.  The idea of a teenage spy isn't very appealing to me normally, but the focus on character versus spy/thriller action inclusions kept me involved a lot better than I would have been.  The relationship with her parents was both hilarious and touchingly realistic.  I am a rare girl who does not happen to like Ally Carter's novels about the teen spy school.  Just not my thing.  But by placing Maggie in an everyday environment, Benway really impressed me.  Jesse was a cute romantic interest for the heroine and their chemistry was at turns sweet and hot both.  Roux was freaking HILARIOUS!  I loved her so much, but her crappy home life made me want to cry.  The whole mystery did seem quite downplayed and ignored for most of the book, which was a little disappointing to me as a reader.  The ending seemed perfect to me though and I really enjoyed this book overall.  I thought it was well-written, had a great sense of humor and some lasting value.  I highly recommend it for fans of character driven narratives, with lots of humor/drama.  But I forewarn those looking for an in-depth spy novel, this IS NOT IT.

VERDICT:  4.5/5  Stars

*received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book's expected publication date is February 26th, 2013.*

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