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It's the start of a new semester at Gallagher Academy and Cammie is trying to start afresh. After the disaster at the end of I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have To Kill You when her non-spy boyfriend, Josh, attempted to 'save' her whilst she was in the middle of a cover operations test, she's got to regain the trust of her teachers and her fellow classmates and try to stop thinking about Josh. When she arrives back at school; however, she starts to notice some odd things. For one, an entire corridor of the school has been 'locked', something unheard of at Gallagher Academy given that every single student knows how to pick a lock anyway. Cammie and her friends are determined to uncover the secret that the headmistress, also Cammie's mother, is hiding and what plans are about to be unveiled in the new locked corridor. Cammie's Josh drama from the previous semester convinced those in charge of spy training that although the girls have the highest IQs in the country, they don't know a thing about boys and they're going to do something about it. I really loved I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have To Kill You (man, that is long) but it took me quite a long time to get into it so I wasn't sure what to expect from Cross My Heart and Hope To Spy. I whizzed through this book in one sitting and I love that these books are so easy to fly through in a few hours. Book 2 in this series is definitely better than book 1 in my opinion. The pace is a lot faster and the plot was far more interesting with more twists and turns along the way, especially towards the end. I thought that this was going to a really predictable book, but actually, the ending turned out slightly different to what I had imagined which is a plus for a YA book. As with book 1, these books aren't really about the romance, but more about the spying and Cammie Morgan, the main character. Although the plot was far more interesting in this one, I still found that the best thing about this book was not the story line, but the character of Cammie. In book 1, I didn't think that we got to see much of Cammie's love interest, Josh, at all and so I never really connected much with his character, but things are different in Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy. The main boy of interest is Zach and there just seemed to be so much more to him than Josh. I probably think this because Zach is much more my type - mysterious, intelligent, possible dark side, whereas Josh is just a bit of a marshmallow all round. Zach and Cammie interact a lot more than Josh and Cammie did which makes it easier to visualise and root for their relationship. That said, I was never really sure if we were supposed to be rooting for Zach or not and I didn't really decide how I felt about him until the very last page, but it was good that this book kept me on my toes. Cammie hasn't really changed all that much since book one, except that she is slightly less naive and clueless about life. This was definitely a plus because although we miss out on some comedy, her naivity was starting to grate on me by the end of book one. I like that Cammie is a character who doesn't get completely absorbed by just one thing, usually boys, but has time to care about her family, her friends, her school work, and boys. I think Cammie's character was stronger in book two and I hope that she continues to develop throughout the rest of the series. Cross My Heart and Hope To Spy had a pretty similar format to I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have To Kill You, in fact, you didn't really need to read the first book at all in order to understand this one as it's pretty self explanatory and in my opinion, there are few references to the first book. Personally, I thought that book two was far better than book one in terms of plot and character. I'm still not really sure what to expect from book three, given that books one and two could basically be two standalone novels. Either way, I'm really excited to read it because I absolutely loved Cross My Heart and Hope To Spy!
All I can say is, HOW CAN I HAVE LIVED WITHOUT THE GALLAGHER GIRLS FOR 3 YEARS??! THREE YEARS PEOPLE?!!WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE OH THE WONDER THAT IS ALLY CARTER? ^^I may be overreacting. Slightly. But still. The story begins when Cammie returns from winter break and is off for an interrogation at the top-secret CIA headquarters. The whole thing just brings back old memories of her time spent with Josh and she can't help but feel agitated throughout the interrogation. The way back home to the academy is confusing after Cammie finds her mother is acting weird and doesn't say much when she asks her how she thinks the debriefing went. Clearly there's something bothering her but she doesn't seem to elaborate. Back at school and Cammie is relieved to be back with her friends and in behind all the boy drama of the last semester, but she's got a feeling that something is not the same... Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy answers the question we always wondered but never asked whilst reading I'd Tell You I Love You: if there's an Academy for Exceptional Young Women, surely there must be an equivalent Academy for Exceptional Young..Men? The girls haven't been exposed to to boys all that much and they are shocked at how to handle the situation- while some of the girls are overjoyed at the sight of the Blackthorne boarders, Cammie and her friends and not so sure about the visit. Except then Cammie falls for cute Zach, but there's a feeling of hesitance somewhere inside her. Why are the Blackthorne boys really at Gallagher? Is there a genuine reason..or are they up to no good? It was fun reading about the way things changed when the boys were at the scene - everyone spent much more time fixing their hair in before going to class because there were boys!! It was a cute touch and something that wouldn't have been missed it was left out, but added precision to the story. The whole 'There's-boys-staying-at-our-school-for-girls' thing added a whole new world of obstacles for Cammie and her friends. It led to the unthinkable 'Code Blacks' and a whole lot of accusations on top of that. Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy was much less predictable than the first book, the action scene at the end was a great twist to finish off the book. This fast-paced, adventurous second installment shows the more vulnerable side to Cammie and her ability to fall for someone who is allowed to be in on her little spy secret..but is it enough?