Daily Archives: November 2, 2008

I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You

Chances are most avid teen readers out there have already gobbled up this first title in Ally Carter’s girl spy series, but just in case you missed it, I’m here to tell you why it should be high on your TBR list.

15 year old Cammie Morgan goes to an elite, all-girls private school where she receives an education that is second-to-none – no surprise given that she’s studying subjects like Covert Operations, Advanced Encryption and Culture and Assimilation. That’s right. The Gallagher Academy is no ordinary girls’ school. It’s a school for spies. You have to be a genius to attend, and it sure helps if mom or dad is “in the business.” For Cammie, it’s certainly all in the family. Her mom is Gallagher’s headmistress with a resume any spy would envy. Her father died mysteriously while working on assignment. So Cammie and her mother have made Gallagher their home, and it’s a given that Cammie will continue the work her parents were trained for. Life is complicated enough for a spy-in-training, but things get even crazier when Cammie falls for a local boy, Josh, who can never know about her true identity. With the help of her friends Bex and Liz, Cammie uses all of her spy smarts to romance the normal guy-next-door, with hilarious and sometimes dangerous results.

In my view, the world cannot have enough girl spies. Smart. Sassy. Gorgeous. Loaded with intuition. For sure I’d want a Gallagher girl in my corner if ever I found myself in enemy territory. These ladies rock. But trust me, Id’ Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You is not just rah-rah, girl-power fluff. Ally Carter can write, and she’s created a winning story that feels part boarding-school drama, part spy-thriller, part Get-Smart hilarity, part romantic-comedy, and 100% fun. This is fine entertainment, with characters you’re eager to learn more about. You will love the descriptions of the academy itself, with its secret passageways, rich history and ivy-covered walls. The odd-ball teachers with mysterious and complicated pasts added real richness to the narrative. If you love a Potter-esque boarding school setting, you will appreciate what Carter is doing here.

With all of the mad-cap adventuring and spyware gadgets, you’re probably thinking this isn’t exactly a book you could “relate to.” Au contraire, mes amis. Cammie and her pals seem more or less like real girls, aside from their genius abilities and extraordinary knowledge of um… just about everything. Cammie just wants something wonderfully normal in her life. Like all non-spying teens out there, she struggles to come to terms with the difference between what’s expected of her and what she hopes her future will be. She takes risks and she pays for those risks. She doesn’t want to let her mother down. She’s usually not sure if she’s making the right decisions. All of these themes will make it easy for readers to connect to Cammie’s story.

Highly recommended – for fun, for escape, for sweet romance and friendships, for action, for spy-gadgets, for fine writing. By the way, I recommend the audiobook. The narrator is spot-on and her performance really brings out the humor and poignancy in Cammie’s story.

You like Alex Rider? Kiki Strike? The Princess Diaries? Then run, don’t walk to get your own copy of I Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You. And when you’re done, there’s the sequel, Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy. #3 to follow in June 2009. Lucky us.

Other reviews:

Little Willow interviews Ally here
Little Willow’s review
Em’s Bookshelf
Turning the Paige
Sassy Monkey Reads