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.
Received through Netgalley for review by Bloomsbury Juvenile
Maggie grew up in The Collective, the only child of two spies who go around the world foiling the plans of criminals. She cracks safes and picks locks and is very good at it. She’s been doing it since she was 3, and there is nothing else she’d rather do. Maggie doesn’t have a “normal” life; she doesn’t attend school, she doesn’t have a real “home,” just a place to live while they are on assignment, then they’re gone like thieves in the night. In other words, she’s not your typical teenager. She doesn’t have friends, at least none her age, and cannot even get up the nerve to talk to the cute guy next door, which means she is incredibly inexperienced with boys. Then she and her family are sent to New York for Maggie to work on her first solo mission and befriend Jesse Oliver so she can find out more about his father’s potential article outing The Collective, including Maggie, her parents, and everyone she knows and loves.
Maggie’s parents are integral to the plot and her life. They’re raised their daughter to be tough, smart, and to think always of The Collective first. Mom is a computer hacker, Dad is a language expert. Once again, they’re not typical, but in a lot of ways, they’re probably a little over-protective (hey, you would be, too, in their dangerous life/work).
Angelo is a sort of grandfather-figure and probably Maggie’s best friend. He’s an expert forger and Maggie’s mentor. Angelo is suave, a Tim Gunn type, both in dress and demeanor. And Maggie is probably the most important person in his life. I loved Angelo and wanted a little stuffed one of my own to carry around and sleep with.
Roux is one of the first people that Maggie meets at her new school. She’s a social outcast because of things and she pretty much raises herself because her parents are never around. Roux is tough and vulnerable and she breaks my heart a little, but I loved her.
Jesse is the son of a wealthy publishing, who seems, on paper, to be the ultimate entitled douche. But of course, looks can be deceiving. I really liked Jesse, but his character seemed to be a little too good to be true.
Though Maggie is capable, she is a little out of her depth because she’s not used to being around/interacting with people her own age. And Jesse is C U T E, and completely different than what she expected. But Maggie can’t let him or her new “friendship” with a girl named Roux get in the way of her assignment. She cannot let anyone get close, not even a visit to her home, so when she starts dating Jesse (without her parents knowledge), things become a little more complicated.
This was a very cute, funny, sweet book. I loved it from beginning to end. I especially loved any time that Angelo showed up. But I did find that the ending was a little too tidy and easy. The book reminded me a lot of Heist Society by Ally Carter, and that is an excellent thing to be compared to. I wouldn’t mind if Also Known As would be the first in a series because I do think there are lots of places it could go and I would be right there, along for the ride.