Which is more dangerous: being an international spy… or surviving high school?
Maggie Silver has never minded her unusual life. Cracking safes for the world’s premier spy organization and traveling the world with her insanely cool parents definitely beat high school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations. (If it’s three digits, why bother locking it at all?)
But when Maggie and her parents are sent to New York City for her first solo assignment, her world is transformed. Suddenly, she’s attending a private school with hundreds of “mean girl” wannabes, trying to avoid the temptation to hack the school’s elementary security system, and working to befriend the aggravatingly cute son of a potential national security threat… all while trying not to blow her cover.
From the hilarious and poignant author of Audrey, Wait! comes a fast-paced caper that proves that even the world’s greatest spies don’t have a mission plan for love.
Being permanently based in a local New York City high school as an undercover operative has its moments, good and bad, for 16-year-old safecracker Maggie Silver.
Pros: More quality time with her former mark-turned-boyfriend Jesse Oliver and insanely cool best friend, Roux.
Getting to spend quality time with her semi-retired and international spy honorary uncle, Angelo.
Cons: High school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations.
But when Maggie’s parents are falsely accused of stealing priceless gold coins, Maggie uses her safecracking skills to try and clear their names.
Too bad it only serves to put her and everyone she loves in danger. Maggie and her “new team” flee to Paris where they must come up with a plan to defeat their former allies.
This review will encompass book 1 & 2 so some spoilers ahead!
So basically the Also Known As Series is now one of my favorites. I don’t even know why I waited so long to read these, but I’m glad I finally found the time.
At the ripe old age of 16 Maggie Silver is a seasoned International spy…. Yes, I said spy. She and her parents are part of a group called The Collective and they do what they need to do to keep the world safe. Her mom is a master hacker, her father a connoisseur of languages and Maggie herself has a talent… she can crack just about any safe or lock around.
When Maggie and her family are moved to New York for her first solo job, she finds herself in a world she never could have imagined. High school. She knows better than to make friends… the life of a spy just doesn’t make that possible… but once she meets Roux and Jesse she knows that plan is going to be harder than she ever could have imagined.
I have to say that the best thing about these books are the characters. Maggie is snarky, funny, sarcastic and smart… and one of the best heroines I’ve read in a while. Roux, her outcast best friend, is probably one of the best things about these books. She’s fun and funny and while she may now be an outcast, she was once at the top of the social ladder and knows all the gossip and drama… and who better to be Maggie’s first best friend?
But let’s talk Jesse Oliver! Oh the swoons from this boy. He starts out as just an assignment for Maggie, as it’s his father who they fear is going to spill all the information on the organization, but he becomes so much more! I loved the build of their friendship and eventual relationship and can we just talk about their first date for a minute? But of course there are secrets being kept and feelings of betrayal to be had. BUT I have to commend Benway for not keeping our hearts in a sling for too long!
Ultimately book one deals less with the mystery and suspense of a spy story, instead the focus falls on Maggie’s growth and coming to terms with the things her parents decided for her future before she could even consider anything else, and I thought it was really well done. Her focus has always been on being a spy, but she also hasn’t known anything else either. Seeing her make connections and relationships is such a great part of this story.
Book two is the same kind of fun. Only this time Jesse and Roux know exactly what it is that Maggie does, and try as she might to keep them uninvolved in what is going on, it’s just not possible. This time around though, someone is trying to frame Maggie’s parents.
We get a bit more sleuthing and some definite capers but we also get a lot more relationship growth… especially between Maggie and Jesse… who I love. Have I mentioned that yet?
I’m kind of hoping that there might be some more of these books down the road for Benway, they were absolutely that much fun. I wasn’t expecting to love them as much as I did, but I’m so happy to have found them.
If you haven’t read these two books yet, definitely put them on your list for when you’re looking for something with less drama and more laughs!