Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Also Known As - Robin Benway

Also Known As book cover
Also Known As by Robin Benway
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: February 26, 2013
Source/Format: Netgalley (Thanks Bloomsbury!) || e-galley
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

Being a 16-year-old safecracker and active-duty daughter of international spies has its moments, good and bad. Pros: Seeing the world one crime-solving adventure at a time. Having parents with super cool jobs. Cons: Never staying in one place long enough to have friends or a boyfriend. But for Maggie Silver, the biggest perk of all has been avoiding high school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations. Then Maggie and her parents are sent to New York for her first solo assignment, and all of that changes. She'll need to attend a private school, avoid the temptation to hack the school's security system, and befriend one aggravatingly cute Jesse Oliver to gain the essential information she needs to crack the case . . . all while trying not to blow her cover. (from Goodreads)

The first word that comes to mind when I think about this book is hilarious. I laughed a lot while I was reading Also Known As, and I consider that a major bonus when I'm reading. I loved this story, which should come as no surprise since it's full of elements that appeal to me - a main character that I could relate to, a set of friends that I totally would want to have in my life, parents that are pretty much the epitome of awesome, and a fun mystery to solve. This book is the book that I didn't know I was craving until I read it - and I'm so glad that I did!

I'm partial to books where I connect well with the main character. I absolutely loved Maggie! She was refreshingly honest with herself, and so funny when she was thinking about things like high school and "normal" life. I loved that I felt like we shared the same brain sometimes, because her reactions and her thoughts are so much like mine. Plus, she's totally cool for knowing how to crack safes and for the mere fact that she's a living, breathing spy.

I totally want to have Maggie's friends in this book as my friends in real life. Her mentor and family friend Angelo was so cool, and obviously very talented (and you'll have to read the book to find out what that talent happens to be!). He often helped her deal with problems that cropped up, and just provided a listening ear whenever she needed it. The way they set up meetings is pretty darn cool too!

And then there's Roux, who is the wild card and Maggie's first friend at school. She's a bit of a loner because of an incident at school, but she's really a kind person who's just misunderstood. It's nice to see how well she and Maggie get along, even though she's tons more exuberant and definitely more well-versed in real, regular, high school life than Maggie is.I thought her character definitely had some witty lines, and she added to the humor in the book with her antics! Her name is really cool too.

Maggie's parents were also pretty great characters. They're awesome, first of all, because they happen to be spies too! They have their specialties, and I think it's fun how each of them (her mom, her dad and Maggie) all have talents that lie in different areas. What I loved most was how they were both typical and unusual as parents. They were unusual in terms of their career choices and what they encouraged Maggie to do, but they were also typical in terms of worrying about Maggie and her safety, as well as trying to set house rules and the like during this case.

There's one more character that needs to be mentioned - Jesse Oliver. Yes, he sounds cute and yes, that's a name that certainly rolls off the tongue. But, honestly, their relationship felt like things were getting a bit serious too quickly, which is probably why I feel a little indifferent towards him. It was hard to be too annoyed with it though because he does have a great personality, and considering Maggie had never really been in one place or with kids her age for too long, I could understand the immediate fascination.

The book's biggest draw was the whole promise of spies and a mystery. The mystery was fun to read about, considering I figured nothing out if Maggie wasn't able to. Though it was decidedly simple in terms of objective, I like how it appeared to be something that was complicated to solve. Maggie had her fair share of trouble figuring out the solution to the mystery, and it was interesting to read about the case.

I've never read anything from Robin Benway before, and I now consider that a tragedy as I enjoyed Also Known As so very much. This book is laugh out loud funny, packed with superb characters and possesses a plot that kept me eager to read from start to finish. I highly recommend you grab a copy of your own!

29 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you liked Also Known As. I loved it, and it was the first Robin Benway book I ever read. I definitely plan on reading her other two books. My favorite part of the book was the characters, for sure. Maggie was just awesome, but Roux, oh my gosh, she almost stole the show, I thought.

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    1. Roux is seriously a character that deserves her own book. She's got such an awesome, pop off the pages personality, and I LOVED it!

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  2. This looks really, really good! I am ALWAYS hoping my next read will be super funny and this sound like one of those. Plus, I really love the colours in the cover ... the pink and green go great together!

    I'll definitely have to find a copy of this! :)

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    1. This book really made me laugh because Maggie's way of thinking was HILARIOUS to me. I honestly loved her dialogue (spoken and inner) and I think that Robin wrote it so authentically.

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  3. Fabulous review, Alexa! I'm reviewing this one soon, and I just hope that so many people love it like I/we did! I agree with you, in that I figured out things along with Maggie. I love it when I'm able to do that, and to just click with the MC. Maggie was great, her "voice" was spot-on, and I SO wanted to zap myself into the book and have her friends and family.

    So happy you liked this one!

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    1. It's always important to have a character's voice shine through in a story, and Robin certainly delivers with Maggie. I thought she was real and really funny!

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  4. I am dying to get my hands on this book! I keep hearing amazing things. I LOVE spy books, especially when they're smart and you don't figure everything out ahead of time. Plus friendships, romance and great family relationships, sign me up!

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    1. This is definitely one worth grabbing! The writing is easy, the characters are fun and the story moves along at a nice pace :)

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  5. Awww, it sounds like such a fun read!! I love when a book surprised you in a good way! And I love it when you want to be friends with the characters :) I'll have to see about getting my hand on this one!

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    1. I want to be friends with all of them, but most especially Roux and Angelo. You'll see why when you meet them!

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  6. I'm looking forward to reading this one. Benway's book "Audrey, Wait!" was a good one, too--you should check it out. Nice review!

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  7. Ahhh so I was already excited for this book and to know that it will likely make me laugh gives me incentive enough to prioritize it! But to know that the characters are something special and the mystery isn't easily predictable really seals the deal! I can't wait to pick this up! Thanks for sharing!

    Nicole @ The Quiet Concert

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    1. READ THIS NOW. I seriously recommend it. It's a nice break from all the fantasy and dystopia that were crowding my TBR!

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  8. I LOVED this one, too Alexa! I thought Roux was so snarky and funny and wonderful. In fact, I thought all of the dialogue in this book was pretty great. Very snappy! And I really enjoyed that there were parents who were actually present in this book, too. You're completely right to call them usual and unusual! I think I heard somewhere that this was going to be a series? Maybe? If so, I'm excited to read more!!

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    1. YES. It's going to be a series, so we get more Roux! YAY!

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  9. The humor was a big plus for me about this book-I love to laugh and this book made me laugh and smile throughout its entirety.

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    1. Agreed! I laughed a lot while reading this - so much so that I got weird looks on the subway.

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  10. I loved Audrey, Wait! and have heard such amazing things about this book, but hearing your love for the characters and the humor makes me even more excited to read this. Fabulous review! :-)

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  11. I've heard a lot of good things about this book. I'm going to have to pick it up soon. Amazing review!

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  12. I just love Robin Benway! I feel like she isn't as well known as she should be. I just adored AKA! I'm glad you did too!

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  13. What a fantastic review! I have this on my TBR list but I didn't realize it would be THIS entertaining so I am moving it up my list now!

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  14. I'm not familiar with Robin's books. This sounds like a great mystery YA.

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  15. Ohhh, this sounds like a great, fun read! I haven't read anything by Robin Benway before, but Audrey Wait has been on my list forever. The characters, the mystery and hilarity sound amazing. Definitely have to pick this one up soon! Great review :)

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    1. After reading this one, I now want to read Audrey, Wait! Her writing is spectacular!

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  16. Though I usually reach for kissing books, I am always up for a mystery! Plus, I am a huge fan of FUNNY so I might have to pick this one up!! I love how thorough your reviews are. :)

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    1. Thank you! <3 I hope you do get to pick this up - it's pretty fun!

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  17. I've never read anything from Robin Benway before ---> AUDREY, WAIT! is really fantastic. It's the only Benway I've read but this one is getting great remarks from everyone that's reading it. Great review, Alexa!

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    1. I want to read Audrey, Wait! I've heard nothing but awesome things about that one.

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