Summary: Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school—that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses but it’s really a school for spies.Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she’s an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real “pavement artist”—but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her? Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she’s on her most dangerous mission—falling in love.
Review: Since I heard Ally Carter speaking about the Gallagher Girls series at last years Teen Book Festival, I have been really interested, especially since she mentioned that ALIAS was the inspiration for her teen spy series. All of us at Girls Just Reading have a special connection to ALIAS (more about that here), so this mention had me even more excited.
Perhaps the anticipation was a little too high. I'm not sure what I expected... 15 year old girls diffusing Rimbaldi devices and saving the world? Surely not, but I don't think a super trained teen spy using her skills to attempt to go on a normal date was anywhere on my list either. In some ways, I found the plot to be rather silly, yet in other ways it made complete sense. The nerd in me recognized the ring of truth to the situation - if I had the skill set, wouldn't I use it to over analyze the boy situation too? Ms. Carter throws in lots of contemporary cultural references (like ALIAS and Buffy), and while I appreciate them, probably on a deeper level than most teens, I worry about how fast they date the series (though I suppose in this age of Netflix, nothing is out of reach). Still I would have liked to read more about the school, the classes, and Cammie's friends. So many interesting things were mentioned in passing and I am really hoping Ally Carter uses the next four books to delve a little deeper.
Also, I craved a deeper sub-plot to anchor the story a little better and give it roots. Just when things seemed to be going in that direction, the action picked up and the intrigue shifted, things came to an abrupt end... and I found myself wanting to move on to the next book in the series, Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy.
In many ways the Gallagher Girls actually reminded me of Rachael Hawkins' Hex Hall series, swapping out the paranormal for the spies. Both are light, fun reads and I will enjoy working my way through both of them. Now that I know what to expect, I look forward to the journey.
Final Take: 3.75/5
PS. You should check out Ally Carter's website and the Gallagher Girls Academy site for lots of neat stuff!
PPS. The fifth book, Out of Sight, Out of Time was just released today... and we're giving it away here. Happy book birthday!