Decent if silly teenage spy romp
Teen spy team The Gems (Emma, Olivia, Nadia, and Miyuki) have gelled as a team and now undertake dangerous missions while trying to maintain their cover as everyday high-school students. One day, a mysterious boy named Robert crosses their paths. Turns out Robert hides one whopper of a secret, and before long, the girls embark on a road trip, hoping to keep him safe from both the Feds and some unsavory Chinese baddies.
What I loved:
Each of the four girls has a very distinct personality, and are not just carbon copies of each other. Said personalities tend to clash (as often happens between friends), but in the end, they are a team. In this installment, we learn a lot about Nadia, her Muslim background, and her burgeoning feelings for a boy she can’t have.
As with the first book in the series, this story is not meant to be taken terribly seriously – think of like the Charlie’s Angels movies with some teen-girl angst thrown in. I did like that the interaction between the girls, which was barely there in the first book, was explored more here.
What I didn’t love:
The lack of seriousness, however, also prove to be kind of a detriment. It seems unfathomable that four teenage girls would be sent on dangerous missions with so little experience. Most of them didn’t have the hard edge spies need to make the tough decisions, which makes me wonder just how seriously they take their jobs. When it came to protecting Robert, the tone shifted from dangerous to awkward to silly in a heartbeat, and that was a little jarring.
My Final Verdict:
Espionage thrillers are a small sub-niche of YA literature, and while this book was enjoyable enough, I didn’t like it as much as the first one. Nadia is a great character, but many of the others are still underdeveloped. The action scenes are good but not spectacular, and I maintain this series can be a good pickup for teenage girls who like kick-butt heroines.