Monday, July 9, 2007

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You

I am a daydreamer—I think most readers are. As a freshman in high school, I had a recurring fantasy about being a spy. At the time, I was taking Russian classes (back when the Cold War was a recent memory) and spent hours imagining what life would be like if I’d been bred for espionage. What if I were fluent in fourteen languages? What if I could kill a man (or woman) with a ketchup bottle?

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter is my teenage fantasy come to life.

Cammie Morgan has an elite spy heritage. Her mother is a former spy, and her father died plying his trade. She attends Gallagher Academy, an all-female spy school, and knows over a dozen languages, several forms of martial arts, and the tango. Cammie is the epitome of female empowerment.

So, why did this young adult novel leave me disappointed?

I often had the sense that the book, the first in a series, is just a glorified screenplay. The action scenes—and there are several—do not play well on paper and seem better suited to the screen. In one scene, Cammie’s friend, Liz, dangles precariously from a rooftop: “She tried to hang on to a gutter, but slipped, and soon she was swinging off the side of the . . . house” (112). I couldn’t help but wonder if Carter envisioned a movie as she wrote these scenes.

I love young adult novels—and sometimes I worry I still have the mentality of a 13-year-old. This book, though, allayed my fears. One of Cammie’s teachers—Mr. Solomon—is a sexy former spy. I kept wishing for more of Mr. Solomon. I wondered if there was a possible romance brewing between him and Cammie's widowed mother. I cared more about his love life than Cammie’s. And that is not a good sign.

I am, officially, old.


Wanna-Be Lit said...

Ha. This book made you think you're old? This book is a loser then.

I will continue to read Harry Potter and Traveling Pants--and enjoy them both while imagining I am 17.

Blogger said...

A day after finishing the book, I worry I was too harsh--and I may actually read the sequal. It really was a light and harmless read. I just found that I wasn't as invested in it as some other YA books I've read--like the Sisterhood.

Wanna-Be Lit said...

Even I know that Sisterhood is not great writing, but for some reason I love them. Maybe I wish my teenage life was like their lives? I don't know.

notaconnoisseur said...

I have to admit that I am very old. I too was wondering about the potential for the older characters' romance and really could not identify with the anxieties of young love. However, when I read this book it was like a breath of fresh air. More than anything, I thought, here is a book I would not be embarrassed to have my granddaughter read. See? I really am old.