Monday, July 05, 2010

Don't Judge A Girl By Her Cover (YA)

Don't Judge A Girl By Her Cover. Ally Carter. 2009. Hyperion. 272 pages.

"We're moving." The man beside me spoke into the microphone in his sleeve, and I knew the words weren't for me.

Cammie Morgan is a Gallagher girl. She attends the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women. If you've read I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You or Cross My Heart and Hope To Spy, then you know just what that means: Cammie and the other girls are training to be spies. (Of course, it's all hush, hush. No outsider is supposed to know the true purpose of the school.)

This third novel opens with Cammie visiting her friend (and roommate), Macey, over summer vacation. Macey is the daughter of a senator who has just accepted the nomination for vice president. But that political convention doesn't go quite as planned. For Macey, Cammie, and Preston (the son of a presidential candidate) are stranded on the rooftop of the hotel. And Macey's and Cammie's skills are about to be put to the test--as a helicopter of hostile 'bad guys' are approaching. And the fight is not an easy one. Was this was a kidnapping attempt? Just who was their target? The girls survive--they are Gallagher girls after all--but this is disturbing to say the least. (Preston also survives, by the way.)

But soon it is time for school to start. Cammie is starting her junior year. And she's so happy to be back with her friends (Bex and Liz and Macey); happy to be back learning. But the semester isn't off to the best start. Because the mystery isn't quite over. They are used to training, to being tested. But can they handle it when the danger, the threat, is real? Can Ally and her friends help solve the mystery? Can they keep Macey safe?

I like Don't Judge A Girl By Her Cover. I like the style, the narration. Cammie is a great heroine, with a great narrative voice. I like the blend of action and humor. I like how Ally can't help being interested in guys. How she just can't forget Zach. She's not sure she can trust him. She's not sure if he likes her likes her. But still...she can't help getting all fluttery when she bumps into him on one of her missions.

Time it took me to tell the whole story: twenty-two minutes and forty-seven seconds. Time it would have taken me to tell the story had I not been constantly interrupted: two minutes and forty-six seconds. Number of times Liz said, "No way!": thirty-three. Number of times Bex gave me her "You could have brought me with you" look: nine. (111)
Don't Judge A Girl By Her Cover is different from the first two books. As the danger and threats become real. Spying--fighting--isn't so much a game, a test, as it is a matter of life and death.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
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4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
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