by Robin Benway
From the first sentence, "I cracked my first lock when I was three," readers will be captivated and taken for an entertaining ride. Maggie Silver has always been a spy; it's in her blood. Maggie and her parents work for the Collective, a secret international spy ring that rights corporate wrongs and takes down evil, corrupt government bullies.
Maggie's latest assignment takes her family to New York City and to a prestigious private school. Maggie is to infiltrate high school and befriend Jesse Oliver, the son of a magazine editor. Armand Oliver is planning to run a story on the Collective and "name names"--putting every spy in the Collective in danger. Maggie must get in close with Jesse, hack into his father's computer, and destroy the files about the Collective--all this, and still pass Chemistry and French classes!
Readers will love Maggie: she is funny, ironic, sardonic and sarcastic; she is also amazingly adept at the hyperbolic statement. Getting ready for her first day, Maggie pumps herself up by telling herself, "You could eat these kids for breakfast. You won't, though, because that would be cannibalistic and wrong."
When Maggie befriends former mean girl Roux, they become fast, albeit awkward, friends. Roux fills Maggie in on Jesse's personality and history. Sparks fly when Maggie finally meets Jesse. He is so different than what she expected. She actually likes him! Readers will like Jesse, too. He is that guy that girls will swoon over. Charming, awkward, unsure of himself in social situations, but oh, so handsome, Jesse is the perfect crush-worthy male lead.
Beautiful, eye-catching cover art is appealing and smart. The pink letters A,K,A stand out on the green background and barely visible words become distinguishable when the light catches the cover. The words on the book: Mole, Espionage, Emissary, Detective, Sleuth, Undercover, Informant, Spy, and Double Agent are "hidden" on the cover. I love the play of the title Also Known As and then those hidden words because a spy happens to be all of those things. The publisher reveals an adept hand in packaging for the teen market.
Highly, highly recommended grade 7-up. Readers who love a great spy book will love Also Known As.
Some not so "bad" words: sh#& and as#. Roux jokes about drinking and does in fact get hammered at a party, but Maggie and Jessie make sure she gets home safely, and they don't imbibe. No sex, a few kisses.
FTC Required Disclaimer: I purchased this book for the library. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.
This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)