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I think I've been subconsciously hyping this book up in my head for years so when I finally got round to reading it, I was a little disappointed. It took me quite a while to get into this book and I read it awfully slowly , but in the end it was worth it. Also, although the title is really quite clever, I'm still not sure what relevance it had.
Cammie isn't your typical 15 year old girl. She's grown up in an all girls boarding school, that her mother just so happens to be the headmistress of, and she doesn't really get much time to experience life outside of the school grounds unless if she's visiting her Dad's family on their ranch. That's not the only thing slightly odd about her upbringing, Gallagher Academy isn't just any boarding school, it's a school for spies (though, of course, nobody will admit it). All the girls who attend Gallagher Academy have extraordinary IQs, can speak multiple languages and probably know a hundred or so different methods to kill a man but none of them know how to talk to boys. In fact, most of them probably haven't ever interacted with boys. One day whilst on an outing as part of her Cove Ops class, she bumps into a boy, Josh, who really shouldn't have seen her at all given that she was undercover, and suddenly Cammie's life is way more interesting than it ever was before. Cammie starts using her spy skills to sneak out to see this boy doing normal every day things like going to the cinema, that are just so alien to Cammie and her school mates. This is a whole new learning experience for Cammie and her friends who really don't know anything about how to be normal, but they've got to make sure she doesn't get caught...
As Cammie has been brought up as a spy in training she's incredibly intelligent but doesn't have a clue about boys which just goes to show that no matter how old you are or how clever you are, girls are never going to figure out how the mind of the opposite sex works. Weirdly enough, I think that Cammie and I are fairly similar and I think that's why I loved this book. In case you're now thinking that I, too, am a spy a training, don't be silly. I do; however, go to an all girls schools, full of incredibly intelligent students who know lots about everything, apart from boys. When I go out with boys, I lie to my parents and get my friends to cover for me and last of all, I have no idea how to be normal. I don't particularly like reading books about characters that are too many years younger than me because I find their naivety a bit irritating but I could relate to a lot of the things that Cammie was going through (was having a bit of a boy crisis myself whilst reading this). This book is written from Cammie's perspective so you see everything first hand and it's rather funny reading all the thoughts that go through Cammie's brain.
I didn't find Cammie's relationship with Josh all that interesting because I don't think we got enough details about his character and I enjoyed this book because of Cammie herself, not because of the plot or anything. If you're looking for a really good teen romance, then this wouldn't be my first choice, but the love aspect of this novel certainly brings hilarity to this story. I'd say this book was more of a coming-of-age (or coming-of-normal) book rather than a teen romance but maybe we'll see more of Cammie and Josh's relationship in the subsequent books. I'm not sure that all that happened in this book in terms of plot and to be honest I don't think the story-line was that strong, but with Cammie's character, it was enough to carry me through to the end so it wasn't all that bad.
All in all, this was a really good book, but it wasn't as great as I imagined it would be. It'll probably appeal to people in their mid teens as the main character is 15 years old and seems to be having a typical 15 year old crisis but maybe those of you who still haven't figured out how to be 'normal' will find this interesting too. This book made me laugh out loud at some points and I guarantee you'll fall in love with Cammie's character. I actually found a lot of the advice given in this book or reading about the situations Cammie found herself in to be really helpful. It's not like a life guide for teenagers or anything like that, but it's full of relateable incidences that most people will enjoy reading about. Although the first book was good, I am wondering what the heck Ally Carter could've possibly filled another four books with. I guess I'll have to read them to find out, but I hope this series doesn't fizzle out like so many other YA series I've read!
In the series of the Gallagher Academy books by Ally Carter, I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You, Is the very first book in the series and a very good launch to the books.
The main plot of the book is a teenage girl named Cammie Morgan, daughter of the headmistress of the Gallagher Academy, which is no ordinary school, it's a school for spies. Cammie can speak 14 different languages and sentence a man to death in 7 ways, but there is one task that they haven't taught her to do, fall in love. They may have prepared Cammie for the outside world as a spy, but not for a teenage girl.
When Cammie makes her way into town, she meets Josh and is in no way prepared to handle her emotions, she may be able to find out all about his life, but can she face trying to tell him about hers, especially when she has a spy life, so can't even try to tell him. Can Cammie really fall in love?!
I found this book a real page turner, after the first chapter I was sucked into the life of being a spy at the Gallagher academy, wanting to know how this came to be, and most importantly to see how Cammie could handle being an ordinary teenage girl for a while, but as I found, it can be very hard. I also liked the way that the lead role was taken by a girl for once instead of a boy in a spy book.
I absolutely loved Cammie's character while she was funny and silly, she was witty and very deadly. Accompanied by her best friends, Rebecca Baxter and Elizabeth Sutton, or known as Bex and Liz, and a new addition to their trio, Macey, the senators daughter, Cammie manages to scrap through the tough on all of her life changing journeys!
This book is exceedingly good and I recommend it to anyone who likes a fast pace good spy book where you get sucked into the action! A big well done to Ally Carter on her amazing talent to create such books! Keep them coming!
Have fun reading guys!
I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You is the first book in the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter. It was released by Orchard Books on 6th May 2010 and the book is 320 pages long.
The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women is unlike any other school you will have heard about...mainly because they don't want you to know what goes on there. The Gallagher Academy is an all girls school for spies!
Cammie Morgan, daughter of the headmistress, can speak fourteen different language and has the ability to kill a man in 7 ways, amongst being able to do an array of other crazy things normal teenagers can't do. The Gallagher Academy has trainer her and made her ready for living in the outside world as a spy but there is one thing they haven't prepared her for. Being a normal teenage girl. When Cammie meets Josh in town, she doesn't know how to handle her feelings for him. Sure, she can find out any tiny detail about his life but she can never tell him who she really is. Falling in love may be the riskiest thing Cammie has ever done!
What I thought
After winning the third book in this series from another blogger, I realised I should probably read the first book beforehand. Luckily, Vicki (my blogging partner) had a copy and lent me it. Now that my TBR pile is at a manageable level, I decided it was time to read some non review books.
I wasn't really sure what to think when I started reading this book as I hadn't heard much about the series in general so for once, I went into this one knowing nothing. As soon as I started reading it though, I realised I was in for a treat. The opening chapter grabbed my attention and I instantly wanted to know more about the Gallagher Academy and the girls that attended. What I loved most about the idea of the book was that it was overtaken by female characters. Usually in a spy book, I would expect a male to take the lead. Spy films have given us way too many male leads and not even close to enough kick ass females so I was really glad to see this happening in a whole series.
Cammie was a great character who has more baggage that I would have thought possible for a girl hiding away at spy school. Cammie, along with her friends, were witty and funny at the same time as being tough and extremely intelligent. I do wish that I had gotten to see Cammie in more of the action scenes instead of the majority of the book being about her relationship with Josh though. The interesting part about Cammie and Josh's relationship was the fact that Cammie and her friends turned him into their own private mission, finding out everything they could about it. I don't know that I would ever want to know everything about a guy though. Finding things out about them is half of the fun!
I think Ally Carter has written fantastic characters and it really does something great for female characters in the YA genre. These girls know how to handle themselves but they also want to have normal lives as teenagers too and I loved the mix of these qualities. Although the girl at this school get pretty much the same training to begin with, each character has their own, distinct personality, which I loved. Cammie's friends are all very different and I think I would probably like each of them to get their own story. I don't know if the rest of the series follows Cammie or not but I would love to see the other girls featured more.
The one thing I didn't really like about this book was the pacing. While it got off to a good start, the pacing felt a little all over the place. The action scenes didn't last nearly long enough and they were quite rushed for me. I would have loved for this part of the book to be explored more and with more detail. The addition of certain gadgets and tricks was fantastic but I don't think they were used enough. Then, there is the relationship between Cammie and Josh. It didn't feel very realistic to me because of how it ended up working. I didn't think that a normal teenage relationship would have worked the way it did in the book or that a teenage guy would put up with what Cammie had to do just to be able to see Josh.
I did really enjoy this book a lot more than I thought I was going to but it wasn't perfect. I have high hopes for the other books in the series though and I cant wait to see what crazy things are going to happen to and for the Gallagher Girls!
I'd heard of this book, and the rest of the series, quite a while ago, but that was while it was actually out in the US, when I thought it was out here, as well. Turns out it wasn't! I got an ARC of this from its publishers, Orchard, and was intrigued when I reread the plot after a very long time.
I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You was one of those books that you just have a feeling about- a feeling that it will blow you off your feet. Cameron Morgan is a normal young lady, except, not totally. Cammie attend an all-girl spy school, The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women. They have been taught fifteen different languages, how to hack a computer, kill a man in seven different ways, and probably have a higher IQ than [insert person who has a very high IQ].
One part that I found absolutely hilarious was that the people in Roseville (the town where the academy is) all believe that the girls who attend are all posh, rich airhead-ish snobs! Hah! If only they knew what exactly was going on in there...
All has fallen when Cammie is spotted by a normal boy called Josh on their first Covert Operations Mission. This was my favourite part. (apart from the action scenes, I mean). Part of I'd Tell You I Love You was about Cammie's struggle to lead a normal life - you wouldn't think falling for a boy would be too stressful to her judging by all the things she knows. But it is. Balancing a relationship and trying to maintain her cover is difficult but (as the blurb suggests), can she have a normal thing with a boy who's not allowed to know the truth??
The book was brilliant; sweet and funny and boredom definitely was the last thing on my mind. There was some real raw emotions; friendship, loss, heartbreak. The characters, especially Cammie and her best friends, were great - I loved how they turned Cammie's little crush into some huge spy mission!
I'd Tell You I Love You but Then I'd Have to Kill You is a unique story with a very high interest. It was imaginative, most of all - this fantastic spy world was portrayed very well, and the characters were fun, enjoyable and had a strong voice. Even though half of it wasn't even real (unless there's a Gallagher-style academy somewhere around here) the novel was so realistic, which is a really good trait to have for the writer - being able to write convincing words that thrill the reader.
Okay, I know this is supposed to be a book for teenage girls, but I've really enjoyed reading it and thought it was worth writing a review of. I actually only ended up with a copy in my hands because my Mum's a school librarian and she wanted me to read it and tell her what I thought. Well, it gets a big thumbs-up from me. Teenage girls especially will love it- it could best be described, I think, as a hybrid of Harry Potter, Twilight and Stormbreaker.
The book's narrated by Cammie Morgan, a 15-year-old girl who attends the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women- on the face of it, a posh, private all-girls school, in reality a school for girls training to be spies. As stated on the back cover, she's capable of killing a man in seven different ways (the author Ally Carter tells us on her website that three of these methods involve uncooked spaghetti.) This is a school where girls learn, on a daily basis, to speak fourteen different languages, to break CIA codes and to use advanced martial arts in dangerous situations.
One evening, Cammie is chosen, along with her two best friends, Bex and Liz, to carry out a practise Covert Operation- they must track one of the school staff at a carnival and find out what he drinks with his doughnuts. In a mission gone slightly haywire, Cammie ends up rummaging in a bin for the bottle the staff member dropped in there, and this is when she's spotted by a rather cute guy named Josh. Cammie's forced to assume the identity of a home-schooled girl with a cat named Suzie (who loves playing with bottles, by the way) in order to keep her true identity secret.
What follows is the very amusing tale of what happens when a spy-in-training falls for an ordinary boy from the outside world. The problem is that Cammie is completely unequipped to deal with ordinary occurrences in a 'normal' manner, from how to work out whether or not he likes her (she's recently had a lesson in the analysis of people's garbage, and decides to apply the technique to find out more about him) to Josh coming up behind her and putting his hands over her eyes to surprise her ( as you can imagine, he's dealt with swiftly and soon finds himself in a heap on the floor.)
It's refreshing and encouraging to find a book written for teenagers with a strong female character who breaks all the usual stereotypes, without compromising her girlishness. The girls at the school are just as concerned as girls 'on the outside' about hair and make-up and making themselves look pretty; it's just that they also happen to be highly intelligent, ambitious and able to defend themselves easily.
The style of writing is interesting and often very witty. As I said, it's narrated by Cammie, but there are excerpts written in a different font which are designed to look like mission statements, but which actually refer to her dating of Josh. The humour in how different she is to other girls is exploited to the full, perhaps sometimes a tad excessively, but it does work very well. Here's an example of the style of humour used throughout:
"Do you want to grab a burger?" Josh blurted before I could finish my thought. Grab a burger? I'd just eaten filet mignon with the Deputy Director of the CIA, but I found myself saying, "I'd love to!"
Perhaps the one weakness of the book is that the characterisation is not amazingly strong. We learn that Cammie's mother is the school director, and that her father died, but I felt throughout the book that I would have liked to know more about her. Perhaps this has been saved for the sequels, of which there are currently three (the latest was released very recently.) Likewise her two best friends, Liz and Bex- they are very sweet and very supportive, but aside from these qualities, we know very little else about them. This may be because they are spies and therefore supposed to lead secret lives, but it'd be nice to now at least how they ended up at the school. The person we actually learn the most about is Josh, because his life doesn't need to be a secret.
I'm not sure this is one for adults as well as teenagers, in the style of Twilight or Harry Potter, but it might be worth a go. I've certainly enjoyed it. The women among you will almost certainly enjoy it more than the men, but it's humour might appeal to all. Worth a try.
"All these years I'd thought being a spy was challenging. Turns out, being a girl is the tricky part."
If ever there were a new series chock full of characters to make Harry, Ron, Hermione et al look like wimps, then this is it. Virginia might not be the most exciting of States, and sleepy Roseville may not be the most thrilling of towns, but for our purposes that's good. Boring and ordinary is good. Flying under the radar is good. To the town's residents, the Gallagher Academy is just your typical all girls private school. They don't know much about it, but then who would want to when it's clearly housing a group of snooty, snobby rich kids? Except...it's not. The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women is not the place it makes out it is - this is an elite institution with a difference, for all its boarders are spies in training, with a curriculum in lethal weapons and covert operations as well as exquisite twists on the usual subjects: foreign languages here mean dedicated days where the whole school converses in any one of the FOURTEEN languages the girls have to master.
Fifteen year old Cammie is the headmistress' daughter, but far from being a goody two shoes, she's a proper chip off the old block. The daughter of two former spies she is right at home in the mansion that houses the Academy which is just as well because, for all intents and purposes, this is her only home. Still, with BFFs Liz and Bex by her side, she's quite settled in her familiar, if slightly unusual, routine. But, there's one thing years of spy school haven't equipped the girls for: dealing with ordinary boys in the real world. And, when a chance encounter sends Cammie into full on crush-mode, she has to draw on all her years of training to stick to her hastily fabricated story of who she is and what she does, and not blow her cover.
I could see at once why this book had been a hit with high schoolers on the other side of the pond, and I'm sure British teens will devour it too. The Gallagher Academy is depicted as an insanely appealing place, in much the way that Mallory Towers was to me when I was growing up, and Hogwarts has been to this generation. The key is keeping readers on their toes. Wizards and witches and ghosts and goblins may have been done to death but spies - that's a new one.
This is not the sort of book where you realise that, underneath, the Gallagher girls are just like everyone else, advanced martial arts and computer hacking skills aside. In fact, by the end of it, the story has erased absolutely any doubts you might ever have had on this matter. Gallagher girls are lots of things - talented, quick-thinking, imaginative, even somewhat privileged - but ordinary they are not, and this fact permeates every part of the story. For this reason, watching a super spy try to reel in the boy of her dreams is a whole lot more entertaining than watching the girl next door attempt the same thing. Throw in some witty dialogue, wonderfully acute attention to detail and perfectly captured emotional crises, and you have a wonderful, hilarious read that pulls you in right from the start.
The book cleverly refrains from too many contemporary references (no Heidi and Spencer flash in the pans here, nor one hit wonders on their radios) and instead fixes on more classic ones, from Buffy to Brad Pitt. Though it doesn't explicitly mention the show, there's more than a little 'Gossip Girl' to the tale, and I think this will appeal to fans of that and other similar shows.
I thought this book was rather clever and extremely inventive: a whole new world has been constructed inside the walls of the Academy and, page by page, little snippits are dropped into conversation gradually. So, instead of someone saying, 'Isn't it fab we have x, y and z!', you are instead transported to a world where the super cool features are so much an established part of the girls' lives that their mention is a mere after thought, almost as something that is obviously old news. You mean you didn't know there was such as thing as Evapopaper? Or that Velcro was invented by a former Gallagher Girl, whose ranks also included a certain Amerlia Earhart? Where have you been?
Read this book quickly and you'll be captivated by the rollercoaster story and enchanting characters, from new kid Macey ('food is so yesterday') to honorary Yank Bex and everyone in between. Linger a little longer and you may pick up on the heavy repetition regarding how great Gallagher Girls are and how talented each and everyone is at the, wait for it, fourteen languages they all speak. Details of how they get from zero to double figures in a matter of weeks are skimmed over, but then this is a school for geniuses, so we can allow them a few short cuts.
Overall, I enjoyed the book a lot - perhaps even more than I'd thought I would. This is just the first book in an ongoing series, and I for one can't wait for the next instalment.
This book was published in May 2010 in the UK so not that many used copies are available just yet. Since it's the start of a series, your best bet might be to borrow it from a local library. This will appeal to fans of the better Meg Cabot books and the target readership age - teens - is the same.
This review first appeared on www.thebookbag.co.uk