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NB. Reviews of I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You (Book 1) and Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy (Book 2) can be found on my profile.
After reading Cross My Heart and Hope To Spy (book two), I was quite keen to get started on book three. Unfortunately, I didn't feel the same connection with book three as I did with book two, but it was a brilliant book nonetheless.
Don't Judge A Girl By Her Cover starts off in the school holidays as Cammie goes to visit her friend and daughter of the future vice president, Macey McHenry. Things seem pretty normal at first until the pair of friends, and Preston Winters, son of the future president, end up on the derelict roof of a hotel. Cammie's spy instincts kick in, but there's nothing she can do to stop an oncoming helicopter that's heading straight for them. Macey and Cammie manage to get Preston out of the line of fire and kick some serious ass but not without a whole heap of injuries and a thoroughly traumatic experience. It's campaign time for Macey's father and so she's being transported to and from major publicity events but ever since the attacks, everyone has been on edge and the security has been topped up. Cammie's mysterious Aunt Abby appears and takes on the role of Macey's special security agent since she is a former Gallagher Girl herself, none of their spy school secrets are revealed. Although there has been no trace of the group that attacked Macey and Cammie on the roof, "The Operatives", Bex, Liz and Cammie, are still highly concerned for their best friend's safety, so they start making investigations of their own. Things don't go so smoothly but they need to find out who the group that attacked Macey was and what they wanted.
Cross My Heart and Hope To Spy (book 2) was largely unrelated to book one in my opinion, so I was expecting book three to be a sort of stand-alone novel as well. In many ways this was the case as there was only really one plot strand that followed through into book three and that was that spy-boy Zach made a few appearances. I'm glad that he did because I was very disappointed that Josh from book one just dropped off the radar with very little explanation and I would've been quite annoyed if Ally Carter had done that to another one of the love interests. Although Zach and Cammie weren't really the focus of this novel, I was glad that these little snippets were included because they added to the mystery and suspense of the novel. We're not really sure why or how Zach keeps popping up and I don't think it was revealed at the end of the novel so it's all still up in the air.
Again, this book was very much focused on Cammie and her spy antics. Although the story revolves around Macey McHenry, I don't actually think that she had that much more of a role than she does in the other books. A lot of Cammie's action/thoughts seem to be independent of most other people and I think she did quite a lot of the work herself in this one. It wasn't necessarily a bad thing and I completely understand why this was the case (Apart from Macey, Cammie was the only one directly involved in the attack), but I felt that his book wasn't as funny as the other two, probably because Cammie had to be serious as she was acting alone. I wish there had been more comedy, or more boarding school drama to lighten the mood but then again, we've already had two books of that so it was refreshing to see a change. You can definitely see a progression in Cammie's character and their spy training. All the Gallagher Girls are becoming much more adept at their spy studies and to match that, the situations seem to be getting more dangerous and exciting.
I wasn't particularly fond of the plot of this novel because I thought it was pretty predictable and a bit simple, but towards the end there are some pretty big plot twists which are exciting. There were a few moments throughout the book where I was pretty surprised by what was going on but it wasn't until the cliffhanger (not really a cliffhanger, more of an open door) at the end of the novel that I felt myself really engaged. I just didn't particularly find Macey McHenry's personal security that interesting as a story line, but the effect of the events on Macey's state of mind and character development was really interesting and really quite sad at times. As Macey was a 'new' character at the start of the novel, I always felt like she was the character we knew the least about, but after Don't Judge A Girl By Her Cover, we've learnt quite a lot about what was under Macey McHenry's hard exterior.
This book ended on a cliffhanger, unlike the previous two which had more of a sense of finality about them. I'm hoping that book four will answer the questions that arose in book three because otherwise I'm going to get very confused, very quickly. This series is definitely moving from strength to strength and I hope it continues in that way.
Just because I'm not necessarily the target audience exactly for these books anymore, I don't think thats its particularly any reason to stop buying them - I still want to know whats happening at Gallagher Academy! In fact sometimes I think that young adult books are a lot better than normal books - teens are a very fussy audience! I had read the previous two books in this series so purchased the 3rd the other day, entitled Don't judge a girl by her cover.
The Gallagher academy books sort of combine James Bond and Gossip Girl, as it centres around a secret school training spies. As its exclusively for girls, the novel ends up as a mix of thrills and intrigue when they are carrying out missions and run into trouble, but then you get a little bit of chick lit with the friendship, relationship and forbidden love that comes into it. The story's protagonist is Cammie Morgan, whose mother is the headmistress at Gallagher Academy, a spy in training with a penchant for breaking the rules who is firm friends with roommates Bex, Liz and Macey. In this novel the main storyline is when Macey is targeted by a gang, and they must protect her. But it turns out to be a lot more sinister than they'd thought.
I really enjoyed this book, it lived up the rest in the series. At just 288 pages it was a fast paced read, with a lot of action happening! I thought it was something different, and a nice change from all the paranormal young adult novels at the moment, even if this isn't really that realistic! I'd recommend you get this, its available on amazon for £3.35 currently which seems like a very reasonable price!
..but in this case, the book cover looks as awesome as the book itself IS!
I've said it once but I'll say it again: I LOVE ALLY CARTER. I honestly don't know how I ever lasted so long before I got the chance to read this. Seriously. I hope a copy of Only the Good Spy Young makes it's way to my doorstep. *waits*
I love how Carter manages to give us a totally new, different story each time! You'd expect a spy story like this to get boring after the first book, but no, that really isn't the case with the Gallagher Girl series.
I don't want to say too much about the story in fear of giving away too much (and spoilers!) but ZACHZACHZACH. LOVED him in Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover! I would have liked to see more of him though! I had so many questions running through my mind, most of them left unanswered like, is he really on Cammie's side? Or is there a chance that he's made a friend in the enemy?!! AND WHY OH WHY DOES SOMEBODY WANT MACEY? Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek.
Oh and I really liked meeting Cammie's aunt, Abby. She was such a kickass character and I loved the little peeks that she gave us into the Morgan's family life and past. It was great to read more about them, and I'm looking forward to discovering more about the Morgan's since I have a feeling we'll get an insight!
Have I mentioned how much I LOVE this series? AND ALLY CARTER?
BUYBUYBUY if you haven't already and if you haven't WHY ON EARTH NOT?