Release Day Book Review: ‘Also Known As’ by Robin Benway

The book gods were listening when I was on my knees begging for more thriller/espionage/spy books for young adults.

Book Cover Also Known As by Robin BenwayRating: 4

The Low Down: Maggie is a spy. Well, to be exact, she is a safecracker. One of, if not the, best. She’s the daughter of spies, so as such, they go where the jobs are. Don’t worry; they aren’t criminals. No, they work for a group called The Collective, which is a group of spies all over the world who work at righting the wrongs done by criminals. After their latest job in Iceland, the family is sent to New York City. This job will  be the most important one yet: keep the names and faces of The Collective from being exposed in the press by an investigative reporter.

Maggie’s assignment? Attend a local private school where the son of the reporter is enrolled. Get to know him. Get into his house. Steal info from his dad. Easy peasy, right? Sure. Only, there’s no directive to also fall for her “target.” Or, more precisely, not to. Or not to make friends with Roux, the former mean girl who is currently between pals. How can you have an honest relationship when you can’t be honest?

When Maggie finally figures out the answers, she’s in over her head; but if there’s something she’s learned in her 17 years, it is to surround herself in a bubble of calm and focus. Because it’s about to hit the fan. And she has curfew.

Best Thang ‘Bout It: Hasn’t everyone wanted to be a spy at one time or another? A fly on the wall, the invisible man, the person with no fingerprints? That’s why it surprises me that there are not a lot more books in this vein. Yes, it will inevitably get compared to Ally Carter’s successful series (serieses?) The Gallagher Girls and Heist Society, since it contains elements of each. But it is distinctly its own animal, with great characters (who can’t help but wish they knew Angelo?), breath-taking action and great locations. Oh, and a little romance. And humor. And snarkiness.

I’d certainly DVR this series.

One Thing, Though…: Everything’s about speed in a thriller, true, but during the downtime, I want to see my surroundings so the place feels 3D. Though I knew she was in school, at a party, in New York City, I felt like the tertiary characters were absent. I would think that a person trained to notice people would be looking at them in detail.

The Bottom Line: A fun book with well-developed main characters that has humor, heart and excitement.

Also Known As by Robin Benway was published today by Walker & Company/Bloomsbury Teens. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Big thanks to NetGalley, Walker & Company/Bloomsbury Teens and the Author.

Genre: Young Adult Fiction Thriller Romance Spy
Ages: 13 and up
You Might Want to Know: Some profanity; sexual discussions.

Other Reviews:
Chicks Love Lit (@shanynlee)
I Eat Words (@iEatWords)

Find the Author:
Author’s Website/Blog
Author on Twitter (@robinbenway)
Author on Facebook

Buy the Book:
Abe Books
Barnes & Noble
A Real Bookstore

Website for Bloomsbury Teens
Facebook for Bloomsbury Teens
Twitter (@bwkids)


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