Book Review: Also Known As by Robin Benway
How Excited Was I To Read Also Known As by Robin Benway (aka my favorite YA author!)? Words cannot express the level of excitement. Y’all already know we’re kinda obsessed with Robin Benway around here. She did make us a playlist. Just saying.
Also, this book is about a teenage safecracker! Right up my alley. I may or may not own The Italian Job and watch it at least once a year.
Favorite YA Author + plot that has excellent Italian Job possibilities + set in my favorite city in the world = Can’t Miss.
Book Rating: 5/5. In my humble opinion… okay, never all that humble opinion… Robin Benway shoots! She scores!
Now I can’t wait for the next book in the series!
Book Jacket: 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.
I am going to resist the urge to make a (long) list of my favorite lines/references/moments in this book. Because Robin Benway, you guys? She KILLS it. Again.
Oh who am I kidding! Here we go:
Describing Angelo, my favorite character in the book, “It’s like if Tim Gunn and James Bond had a baby, and that baby was Yoda.”
“Judging from the knockoff Kandinsky, I was about to get there. When the paint’s an original, that’s when the safe behind it is always difficult. Like the designer Mies van der Rohe said, ‘God is in the details.’” I love a good art history reference, though I’m not sure “designer is the term I’d use for Mies van der Rohe… I’d go with architect. Some readers will be interested to know he designed the Museum of Fine Arts building in Houston, TX!
The CEO cut me off. he spoke the same way my dad did whenever he was annoyed with me. Short sentences. Because the effort. Of talking. Is just. Too much. Ha!
New York apartment with a fancy kitchen and the response is “The microwave looked all fancy. It would be great for heating up takeout.”
It’s like she’s been to MY apartment! I have such a fancy microwave!
Maggie’s great fear about going to high school is having to attend a pep rally. Fair to very fair.
And the parent-child dialogue:
“I just hope for your sakes, I don’t get caught up in a sexting scandal,” I told them.
“Duly noted,” my mom said. “Anyone want more coffee?”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Robin Benway does parent-child dialogues like no other. This type of exchange is the closest approximation of the types of conversations I might have with my parents I’ve seen. Of course she does tend to write drama queen characters. I’m not sure what that says about me?
One final note, you may have noticed I haven’t said much about the spying here. That’s because it’s secondary. This is really just a story about a (mostly) ordinary teenage girl surviving high school – one of my favorite kinds!
(Un?)Resolved Sexual Tension: My favorite thing about the love interest in this book is his name is Jesse Oliver, and Maggie consistently thinks of him as Jesse Oliver. That just feels so right. There are some people you can’t HELP but refer to – at a minimum in your head – by their full names.
Jesse Oliver also proves the exception to my friend Amy’s rule that guys whose first and last names are both first names are consistently jerks. Ponder if you know any. Weight in. What do y’all think? Fun theory in any case! We certainly know a couple who fit the bill! And some who don’t of course.
Recommended for fans of: Ally Carter. If you like the Heist Society books, you won’t be able to resist this! Except Robin Benway is sharper. She writes the super-saturated technicolor version of young adult life/lit. Which I love. In that respect, I’d also recommend her books to fans of Libba Bray or E. Lockhart.
Now that I think about it… Maggie and Frankie Landau-Banks would be seriously unstoppable together. E. Lockhart and Robin Benway should get together and collaborate!
Disclaimer: Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing for my advance review copy! Also Known As will be released February 26th – and can be advanced purchased here!