Title: Also Known As
Author: Robin Benway
Release Date: 02/26/2013
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads Description: 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.
Thoughts: The main character in this book is named Maggie. #winning #allyouneedtoknow #endofreview
Just kidding. But really, people named Maggie are generally known to be super cool (#narcissist). This book had so many of my favorite things in it: Robin Benway, the name Maggie, spies, a snarky teenager, a bad boy who’s not really a bad boy. Seriously, I really loved this book.
I actually never planned on reading this. I remember seeing people read it when it first came out, but I thought the cover was way too ridiculous for me to ever imagine picking this up. Then I read Audrey, Wait! (my review) and I knew that I had to read all of Robin Bebway’s books, terrible covers or not.
Do I think a 16-year-old could really be a safecracker working with some of the top spies in the world? No. Do I think this book had a lot of absurd things happen? Absolutely. Did it matter? No.
Like Audrey, Wait! the number one thing this book had going for it was its amazing narrator. Maggie was funny and sweet and sensitive and sarcastic. I know I said similar stuff about Audrey, but it’s true for both and this is where Robin Benway really excels. I would love to be friends with Maggie (although I’ve always thought it was awkward to be friends with other Maggie’s), she’s just so real and even though she has this crazy gift she’s as normal as she can be with her odd upbringing.
The romance in this was absolutely top notch. The scene where Maggie and Jesse get together was just so sweet. I don’t know what’s happening to me lately, I feel like I’m really falling for the mushy stuff, but it was! I also loved everything to do with Maggie’s strange friend Roux. (I’m also liking best friends lately, seriously, what is wrong with me??) Clearly Maggie couldn’t enter high school for the first time and become friends with normal people. Roux was the perfect person to introduce Maggie to high school and to the snobby NYC high school scene.
Also top notch? Maggie’s parents. Much like the parents in Audrey, Wait! they were involved, caring parents, which as I’ve touched on many times before, is (unfortunately) a rare thing in YA these days. I didn’t love that her parents dragged her all over the world and let her be a spy at such a young age, especially given that she was often in danger, but ultimately I did like her parents.
Bottom Line: Do not let the terrible cover throw you off of this one. It’s a funny, action-packed, sweet story about a teenage spy. The whole thing is a little out there, but if you don’t get too caught up in the details it’s a pretty great read.