Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Spy School

On the surface, 15-year-old Cammie Morgan is a student at an exclusive boarding school for privileged, wealthy girls. But that is just her cover. In reality, the Gallagher Academy is a school for spies in training. Many of the girls are the children of spies, wishing to follow in their parents' footsteps; some are simply extremely bright children who have scored well on the aptitude tests and entry exams and who have spy-ish ambitions. Cammie's mother is a spy - and also the director of the academy. Cammie's father, who was also a spy, went on a mission several years earlier and was never seen again.

Cammie is starting her sophomore year, which means she is finally old enough to take Covert Ops, a class she's been looking forward to taking for years. The new teacher is a very hot James Bond-type guy, and Cammie's not sure how she feels about him, especially after seeing him wink at her beautiful mother. On their first assigned "mission" for class - to go into town and shadow a faculty member (who happens to be the most paranoid faculty member on staff) at the local carnival, Cammie learns there's more to covert ops than she previously thought. Although she is nicknamed "Chameleon" for her uncanny ability to blend into her surroundings and escape notice, she realizes that someone has noticed her, and it's a very good-looking, friendly boy her own age. She chats with him for a while, makes up some lies about herself so as not to give away her true identity, and hurries off to catch up with her classmates and finish the mission.

But she can't stop thinking about Josh. He thinks she's a normal girl, and for the first time Cammie sees the allure in that. She runs into him again, and they start seeing each other, Cammie sneaking off through the underground passageways of the school. Her friends are suspicious - is Josh really what he seems, or is there more to him than meets the eye? With her super-genius spy-trained friends to help her investigate, Cammie discovers creative ways to put into practice everything they've been learning in school. But she soon realizes that even genius girls don't always have the best judgment, and she has a whole lot to learn about romance, boys, friendship - and covert ops.

This was funny, exiting novel with an interesting premise that never took itself too seriously. Cammie is a genius, sure, but she's also fifteen and makes the same kinds of mistakes that every teenager makes - although possibly without the spy gadgets and genius pals for backup. I enjoyed listening to the audio version for the most part, although I did feel the reader's voice was a bit too breathy and sweet for a tough-as-girls spy in training. And when she did Josh's voice, it unfortunately came out sounding exactly like the voice of Bart's friend Milhouse on The Simpsons, so initially I had a hard time seeing him for the hottie Cammie and all her friends made him out to be. Still, I plan to listen to the next book in the series, because it sure was a lot of fun.

Book in the Gallagher Girls series:
1. I'd Tell You I Love You, But then I'd Have to Kill You
2. Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy

I'd Tell You I Love You, but Then I'd Have to Kill You (#1 in the Gallagher Girls series) by Ally Carter; narrated by Renee Raudman (Brilliance Audio, 2006)

Also reviewed at:
Sassymonkey Reads
WORD for Teens


  1. My daughter read this one and absolutely loved it! Hope I can get to it someday, too.

  2. It's a lot of fun, Debi - and personally, I found the premise to be irresistible. What a great idea! I only wish I could have gone to that school. :-)

  3. lol, Milhouse from The Simpsons! I would have found that distracting too :P

    Sounds like a fun book!

  4. AnonymousMay 14, 2008

    OMG! You are so right. Josh's voice was completely like Milhouse's.

  5. Nymeth - at first, I didn't realize why I kept picturing this geeky blue-haired boy when Josh was talking. Then I had to laugh!

    And Sassymonkey - I'm so glad it wasn't just me! Hope I didn't ruin the next book for you. :-)

  6. screw Hogwarts! this sounds like my dream academy!
    hells yeah! (adding to list)

  7. Molly - I think given the choice, I'd still pick Hogwarts. I mean, they have the fat lady portrait and moving stairs and ghosts and everything! But yeah, the Gallagher Academy is pretty cool, too. :-)

  8. I saw this at the bookstore a few months ago. I almost bought it just because I loved the cover!! And the Title!!

    Glad you liked it.

  9. Stephanie - I kept seeing it at the library where I work, and thinking I'd like to read it. Then when I saw the audio version, I thought it would probably be fun to listen to. I'm glad I did!

  10. AnonymousMay 15, 2008

    Sounds like a cute read - I'll add it to my ever growing Amazon wish list!

  11. oh sounds interesting...would I like it I wonder...?

  12. Stephanie - I think you'll enjoy it!

    VA Gal - Yes, I think you'd like the romantic aspects of it, plus it's light and funny, too. :-)

  13. I love the title and the premise sounds fantastic. Another book to add to my list. Sigh.

  14. Framed - I know how you feel! My tbr list is sooooo long. But it's full of books I know I'll love! :-)

  15. Yeah, I liked it.. It was cute and fun. Liked the writing and that it was something new. Are getting a little tired of the usual "kick, punch, I like you, don't like, like you" stuff. This is a little like that, but in a new way.
    Do you get my point? ^^

  16. I'm glad you enjoyed this one. I think I liked it a bit better than the sequel, but that one was cute and fun, too.

  17. Okay, I'm reading the sequel now - so I'll let you know what I think =)

  18. Denise - Please do. I remember being a bit baffled by how the relationship went, but maybe I just didn't remember the first one that clearly.


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