Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy

I was going to post my review of People of the Book today, but instead I spent the last two hours waiting in line to vote. I am all for civic responsibilities—but two hours. Instead, I will have to piggyback on notaconnoisseur's review of Ally Carter’s Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy from last week. Since I’m such a know-it-all, I might as well throw in my two cents.

I read Cross My Heart’s prequel—I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You—last July at notaconnoisseur’s recommendation. I enjoyed, but didn’t love, the book, and it clearly made very little impression on me. I honestly couldn’t remember a majority of what took place in I’d Tell You, including most of the characters. This forgetfulness is either the fault of an aged brain (entirely possible) or a not-so-thrilling storyline (also possible).

Maybe it’s because of my amnesia or since reading I’d Tell You I’ve overdosed on young adult novels, but I much prefer the sequel. The hijinks of high school sophomore Cammie Morgan and her best friends at an all-girl spy school are delightfully fun. And I also enjoyed the romance (or was it just a cover) between Cammie and another teen spy, Zach.

This is not to say the book is perfect. For someone trained to be a spy from birth, for someone who supposedly developed spy gear at age seven, and for someone who speaks fourteen languages fluently (Carter repeats this fact about a thousand times in the book), Cammie sure does some stupid things. Can she really be angsting at the same time she’s scoping out how many bald males in a crowd are wearing watches?

The book is entirely fantastic—and some descriptions of the CIA-sponsored school and gadgets are just too much to handle—but one aspect of the book was just too unreal to believe.

SPOILER ALERT: Fifteen male students from an all-boy boarding school move into the all-girl boarding school. Talk about a recipe for disaster. What could be worse—hormonally speaking—than throwing together teenagers who have been deprived of the opposite sex most of their lives? Yet, the book makes no mention of the complications inherent in the situation—surely to maintain its G-rated tone—but I was reminded of my uncle who invited a male foreign exchange student to live with him and his five daughters. Was he really surprised when one ended up pregnant?

Overall, the book is entertaining, and, as notaconnoisseur says, contains nothing offensive for a 12-year-old girl or a 58-year-old grandmother.

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