Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Review: Also Known As by Robin Benway

Also Known AsAuthor: Robin Benway
Genre:  Contemporary, Action
Pages: 320
Published: February 26th, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Source:  I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"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."~Goodreads

High school is hard enough all on its own without having a full time job.  Especially if that job happens to be international super spy. I had huge expectations for this book since I'd heard nothing but good things going in.  I'm a big fan of spy movies, particularly spy movies of the "look they could be anyone" variety.  I was not disappointed. With an adorable and quirky cast of characters, an action-packed plot and plenty of suspense Also Known As completely lives up to the hype.  


  • The characters, specifically, all of them:  that's right, every last one.  Each one played their part perfectly.  But lets have some highlights shall we?  First of all, Maggie.  She was so like-able and spunky.  She was 100% committed to her job and family while still acting like a teenager, and a particularly sassy one at that.  She's also amazing at her job.  This is my no means a "Mary-Sue" character.  She's good at what she does and knows it.  That confidence is priceless.  Then we have her new BFF Roux, a neglected Upper East Side teen with some serious flaws and some serious snark.  I just adored Roux.  There is such vulnerability under her sandpaper exterior that you just have to love her.  To round out our main characters there's Jesse Oliver.  A bad boy so terrible at being a delinquent that he can't even steal a book without getting caught.  He's also got some serious "mommy issues" that just make you want to give him a hug.  Mix in some super cool parents and a fabulously well-dressed mentor and the outcome is perfection.
  • The Plot:  I'm always a little worried going into these types of books that they will be too convoluted and complicated for my taste.  Luckily the story was so much fun and the plot zipped along so quickly that if I didn't understand anything, I didn't notice and apparently it didn't hurt the plot.  It had just the right mix of depth and fun to really get me excited.
  • The writing style:  I always love a book where I can picture everything that's going on as if it were happening in front of me.  Benway's writing style is so natural that it was easy to get into the story and the characters were made incredibly real.  Again, this moved everything along and pulled me deeper into the story.  On top of that there's a ton of humor in this story and it's done in a way that's not cliche or cheesy which is always nice.


  • Some of the decisions Maggie made were questionable:  I'm a realist, even when it comes to unreal situations.  So when Maggie would do or say something dangerous, I found myself thinking:  "Would a spy at her level actually make that mistake?".  There were just some things that she did that would, I would imagine, be considered such rookie mistakes.  An example is talking about how she's a spy...on the public...loudly.  Seriously, isn't that like in the day one training video?
  • More Edge:  I would have liked to see a little more edge from certain characters.  Particularly Roux.  She had the potential to be a much bigger dramatic device than she was and it would have been cool to see more of her edge.
Luckily the negatives didn't really impact the story too much so I was still able to really get into it.  I absolutely loved this book and would recommend it if you're looking for some fun, light-hearted action with lots of humor.

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  1. so glad you enjoyed all the characters and Maggie sounds like an awesome protagonist! I also love that the plot worked for you. I love it when a book is both deep and fun too!

    awesome review,
    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf