Book Review of Also Known As by Robin Benway

Posted February 14, 2013 by Kara in Uncategorized / 14 Comments

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Release Date: February 26th, 2013
Pages: 320
Genre: Young Adult-Contemporary
Source: NetGalley

Description from GoodreadsBeing 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.

Review: I was really looking forward to this book. Audrey, Wait was one of the first books I read as a new book blogger and I loved it. I still love that book. I’ve given away a lot of my books, but Audrey, Wait holds a special place on my shelf. So you can imagine that I had high expectations for Also Known As. And it mostly lived up to them. But my main disappointment came from the ending. I’ll get to that in a minute. But first, what I liked.

I am pretty much a huge fan of Robin Benway’s writing. She’s hilarious and her sense of humor really meshes with mine. I found myself laughing out loud a lot and really enjoying the funny moments in this book. And there were a LOT of them. I expected this to be a lighthearted read, but I did expect there to be a little more tension than there was.

I also really enjoyed the characters in this one. Though perhaps they were not the best developed characters I have ever read, they certainly were a lot of fun. Though I really enjoyed the protagonist, Maggie, my true favorite was her best friend Roux. She’s ostracized at school because she did the very bad thing of sleeping with her ex-best friend’s boyfriend. Roux used to be a horrible person. But Roux is more than just the bad thing she did. She becomes a great friend to Maggie; she’s quirky, funny, and kind of pathetic because all she wants is a family that cares and hers doesn’t.

The book is fast paced and fun, but this is kind of where I ran into problems. It’s supposed to be a spy thriller, right? I expected there to be more of that in the story. It’s a lot more about high school and romance and teen problems than it is about actual crime, safe cracking, and spying. If you are looking for a teenage James Bond, you will not find it in this book. There is VERY little of that. 

And that’s also why I was disappointed in the ending. It wrapped up too neatly. It was too lovey-dovey, and I didn’t feel it was realistic. I know this is fiction, but real life doesn’t work this way. And yeah, it’s just a personal preference of mine, but I like my books to feel realistic. The writing kind of fell off and disappointed me with its quality towards the last thirty pages. I expected there to be a decent twist and there wasn’t. It was all pretty predictable which underwhelmed me to say the least. And if I may be frank, though it was fun, it was a little hard to suspend disbelief for this one. The mystery was not much of a mystery, and though it was fun, the spies in this book weren’t very good at their jobs. Though it was funny to watch them try.  

But this book gets 3 stars because I still enjoyed the writing, humor, and characters. Just because the plot let me down a bit, I still did enjoy it and I recommend the book to someone looking for fun and a few good laughs. I do believe, however, that Audrey, Wait is a much better book by this author and I would recommend that before I recommended this one. 

3/5 Dragons

14 responses to “Book Review of Also Known As by Robin Benway

  1. From what you’ve said, I think I’ll give Audrey, Wait! a try first. It seems to be much stronger than this novel and I’ve heard so many great things about it, so I really do need to pick it up soon. Great review, Kara! 🙂

  2. Amy

    I almost got this from NG. It sounded really fun. I think I will try Audrey, Wait before this one though. Thanks for the honest review!!

  3. Hmm. I’m gonna go hunt down Audrey, Wait I don’t think I’ve heard of that book before. I’ve been curious about this one since I first saw the cover–which was actually not THIS cover but one with 3 faces–anyways, it sounds like a fun read I always love books that can make me actually laugh for real. Shame that it was such a quick and neat ending though–I do notice that happening more and more, too! Lovely review, muffin cups!

  4. Sam

    I expect my endings to be realistic, too, but if it all wraps up too neatly, then it’s nearly always underwhelming. I like the sound of the writing, though. Witty and humorous works brilliantly for me.

    Great review!

  5. BLERGH.

    I love romance, like I really, really do. Confession: this hard-hearted wench likes for their to be at least a hint of romance in her books. She really does. And now she’s gotten stuck in the third person.

    *whacks self on head*

    Okay, I’m back! Seriously “lovey-dovey” should NEVER describe the romance. It’s way too close to ooey-gooey for comfort. It just screams pet names and instalove.

    Also, there seem to be a ton of books in the last couple years about girls breaking the best friend chose by sleeping with their friend’s boyfriend. What’s with all this girl on girl crime, my sisters?

    • Ha. You are hardly hard-hearted.

      ROFL! Don’t hurt yourself!

      LOL it wasn’t quite that bad. Just a little too neat and perfect for me.

      I don’t know. But despite all that, Roux was probably my favorite character in the book.

  6. Lovey-dovey endings (as we’ve discussed) are not my thing generally speaking, so that’s a definite disappointment to hear from you. It is good to hear that the characters, even if they lack a bit of depth, are likable and have mostly well-rounded personalities. And I like funny books, so long as the author’s sense of humor isn’t overly vulgar or tasteless.

    • No, this author is definitely not vulgar or tasteless. She’s just really funny!

      I just like my books a little messier, more edgy. I like lighthearted comedies, but I was expecting a little more from this one.

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