Also Known As – Robin Benway

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Secret teenage spy with the skill of safe cracking mixed with all teenage angst of clothes, friends, and a crush – but written better than it sounds.

Maggie has multiple names, dozens of passports, and parents who are international spies.  To say the least, her upbringing was not a typical one.  She is skilled at breaking into locks, safes, and any obstacle: all but high school. Her assignment is to befriend a high school boy, Jesse Oliver, to get to his father’s article about The Collective, the spy group that Maggie and her parents work for.  Of course along the way, she realizes she’s never had a “normal” teenage experience and the story has a nice balance of high school entertainment (friends, parties, boys) and spy gadgets and adventures.

This is another book nominated for the Arkansas Teen Book Award, which, yes, is why I began it, but it’s light enough chick-lit YA that I didn’t mind reading it.  Maggie is on her first lead assignment.  She must attend an expensive private school on the Upper East Side, a’la Gossip Girl.  She befriends an outcast and quickly gets a crush on her assignment, but there’s more to the story than that.  Maggie has intense loyalty and Roo (yes, as in Kanga & Roo) is a hilarious friend – if you can see past the fact she is alone and forgotten by her Upper East Side parents, a cuss machine (who is working on it with a swear jar with her doorman, the closest she has to a daily person in her life), and drinks a lot.

Cussing and drinking.

I’m not a prude when it comes to cussing and drinking in YA books, but I also like to know when they exist.  This isn’t as much cussing as Reality Boy (which was great), but know it’s there – and this is certainly a book geared for girls…. kick awesome, spy, smart, savvy girls.   Don’t let the cussing keep you away.

Sequel: Going Rogue 

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