Also Known As by Robin Benway: review

Also Known As by Robin Benway



My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Age Group: Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Romance

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Release Date: February 26th 2013

Synopsis:  Being a 16-year-old safecracker and active-duty daughter of international spies has its moments, good andbad. 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.

My thoughts: Also Known As was an incredibly fun novel. I didn’t expect all the laughs I got from it. I throughly enjoy the novel and I do not regret reading it. Also Known As exceeded my expectations but only as a novel. As a SPY novel, however, Also Known As leaves much to be desired.

Awhile this novel is about a teenage spy there is not much espionage going on throughout the story. Maggie does crack a few safes and locks here and there but there are things that I expect to be in a spy novel that were not included. No security cameras that need to be evaded, secret messages that need to be solved, no spy gadgets, or disguises that need to be donned. And nothing particularly exciting happens until near the end.

If you wondering if you should run away from this book because of what I just said above then I will tell you this: don’t. Also Known As is still a very absorbing story about a girl who is learning about what she wants in life. The friendship she makes with a girl who had went from being the popular mean girl to the social outcast named Roux  and the romance she finds with Jesse, a sweet boy who is just going through a rough patch in life.

The characters in this story are very loveable and impressing, especially the girls. The narrator of this story, Maggie’s voice is witty and sarcastic and I loved her for that. Her character is the reason this novel never has a dull moment. Her voice is able to make me laugh and this helped me enjoy the story more. I should also mention that I love the fact that she is a SAFECRACKER! In the rare moments when she has to use her skills she is pretty amazing. Maggie is smart and can hold her own in tough situations. Roux is a character that is kind of impossible to not love. How could you not love a girl who sometimes says things like this:

“Hey, I am making eye contact with a gargoyle!” Roux said, looking out of one of the grimy windows. “I shall name him George.” (This is a  quote pulled from the ARC)

She had a colorful personality and she provided a lot of laughs. Roux is not only a source of comedy for the novel, she also had her own fair share of character development. And like Maggie she is also very kick butt whenever she needs to be. Jesse was a great friend (and boyfriend) for Maggie. Despite, being a guy who got caught trying to steal a paperback of The Catcher In The Rye was a genuinely nice kid. I thought he was an interesting character and I did feel for him. I also liked how the characters in this story are a bit clueless emotionally. They don’t know exactly what they want. I thought that these characters grew throughout the novel and I love them all.

Also Known As is a very readable story that features strong, solid writing. Quick, cute, and quite funny, I highly recommend this book.

*An advanced copy was given to me by the publisher via Netgalley