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Young Adult Fiction 69
Hilarious and Witty, but didn't blow me away
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3.7
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Also Known As by Robin Benway
eARC received from Bloomsbury
Release Date: 2-26-2013
Reviewed by: Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say: Witty and Hysterical

Spies. That’s all I needed to read before I was sold on this one. Plus, I’m always looking for new contemporary because I love them—even though they are really hit and miss with me. Also Known As was definitely a fun read albeit it, the story is completely unrealistic. (At least I think it is, but who knows, I’m not a spy.) Getting over the fact that the story seem sensationalized to me, I still found myself laughing at loud at the random humor that Robin so brilliantly added.

Robin’s writing definitely stole the show with this spy thriller. Maggie is a teenage safecracker who has always been a part of the spy world—a girl on the outside looking in at what the normal world does every day. And right away, she is intimidated, but that doesn’t bog her down. Instead, she straps on her trusty sarcasm and heads straight for the lion’s den. “Right off, I noticed that no one else was alone: students traveled in packs of two, three, or four through the halls, not moving out of the way for anyone else…Wild animals also traveled in packs, I realized. That was usually how they surrounded and devoured their prey.” ARC, Location 381-383 I love her sense of humor here, and Maggie’s blunt and clever thoughts just keep getting better and better.

I loved Maggie, but my favorite character, by far, was Roux. She’s this punk girl with a “stick it to the man” chip on her shoulder, and I loved every single, trashy word that leaped from her mouth. She was hilarious, and she had a way of turning the simplest of scenarios into something that will cause you to fall off the couch and roll around on the floor laughing. (Seriously). Need an example? “’Well, I think we can all agree bidets are weird,’ Roux announced as she strolled back into the room.’” ARC, Location 2433-2434 I mean, girls don’t talk about going to the toilet! So, when this came popping out of her mouth (in front of the cute guy nonetheless), I found myself laughing hysterically. Because, let’s face it, bidets are weird!

Despite the hilarious writing and great female characters, there were still times when the plot dragged. I found myself skipping over entire paragraphs to get to the good parts. In a spy thriller like this, I don’t need all the extra, gritty details. I need the bang of guns, the hiding in plain sight, and the occasional passion-filled kiss! I really didn’t get much of this, though, which is upsetting. The whole “spy” part of the story seemed to fall into the background as the relationship part of the story took center stage. I don’t have a problem with this really, but it would have been nice to hear a few guns ?

One other thing that threw me off (it didn’t bug me, it was just different) was how middle grade the romance and action were while the language was definitely YA to Mature YA. I mean, there were a whole lot of s-words, and a-words and what not, but very little of anything else that would show their age level. Take away the language, and you would have a middle grade book. I would have preferred a steamier romance to accompany the rest of the story.

Overall, this was definitely a fun read, and I am still reeling from the great humor that Robin put into her story. I will definitely be reading more by her in the future! If you are a fan of spy stories or fun, light-hearted contemporaries, then this is a book you definitely need to check out. Push through the slower parts and the unrealistic story and get to know the amazing and witty characters.
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March 14, 2013
I actually really liked the romance. I like when I come across a cute, awkward romance since they aren't always sexy banter and crazy kissing sessions.
I definitely have too agree on Roux's awesomeness, though. She was probably my favorite character.
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