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Also Known As

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Which is more dangerous: being an international spy... or surviving high school?

Maggie Silver has never minded her unusual life. Cracking safes for the world's premier spy organization and traveling the world with her insanely cool parents definitely beat high school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations. (If it's three digits, why bother locking it at all?)

But when Maggie and her parents are sent to New York City for her first solo assignment, her world is transformed. Suddenly, she's attending a private school with hundreds of "mean girl" wannabes, trying to avoid the temptation to hack the school's elementary security system, and working to befriend the aggravatingly cute son of a potential national security threat... all while trying not to blow her cover.

308 pages, Hardcover

First published February 26, 2013

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About the author

Robin Benway

13 books1,943 followers
Robin Benway is a National Book Award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author of six novels for young adults, including Far From the Tree, Audrey, Wait!, the AKA series, and Emmy & Oliver. Her books have received numerous awards and recognition, including the PEN America Literary Award, the Blue Ribbon Award from the Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books, ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults, and ALA’s Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults. In addition, her novels have received starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, and Publishers Weekly, and have been published in more than 25 countries. Her most recent book, Far From the Tree, won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, the PEN America Award, and was named one of the best books of the year by The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, NPR, PBS, Entertainment Weekly, and the Boston Globe. In addition, her non-fiction work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Bustle, Elle, and more.

Robin grew up in Orange County, California, attended NYU, where she was a recipient of the Seth Barkas Prize for Creative Writing, and is a graduate of UCLA. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her dog, Hudson.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,302 reviews
May 14, 2014
I sat back in my chair and sighed. “I have to seduce someone,” I announced to my parents. “High school is already destroying my moral code and I haven’t even set foot on the campus yet.”

My mom peeked at my dossier. “I think ‘befriend’ is the word you’re looking for,” she said after a minute.

Sometimes she’s no fun.
This book was a fucking blast. Every other page had me giggling. I can't even remember the last time I gave anything a 5. This book is about a female sleuth. You might be expecting Nancy Drew, and you'd be so fucking wrong. The main character is more female Johnny English than Nancy Drew. Nancy Drew is far too sophisticated and far too reliant on deus ex machina. This book is about a fiercely competent spy who finds herself a fish out of water...and into high school. Hell might be more easy to crack.

The main character is not perfect, the premise and execution of this book is incredibly convincing, despite the premise of a teenaged spy. This is due to the fact that the main character feels so real, and her errors are due to not incompetence, but a lack of experience in an arena she's never been through before. High school is terrifying. I'm sure we can all relate.

Why did I love this book so much?

- An awesome spy/safe-cracker who is fiercely competent at what she does until she meets her biggest challenge yet...HIGH SCHOOL. She is hilariously believable, sweetly bumbling, and completely convincing.

- No insta-love, not an overwhelming amount of romance, and one of the most likeable, sweetest, funniest love interest I've ever encountered in an YA novel.

- An awesome female best friend who is the most likeable 17-year old drunk I have ever met. This friend is a cheater, and there is absolutely no slut shaming here.

- Fucking fantastic parents: spies who are just twiddling their thumbs bored out of their minds while waiting for their daughter to finish her "job." They're about to learn what it's like to be parents to a high school student...who actually goes to high school. HA!

- Angelo: He always gives good advice, too, especially about safecracking and lock picking. It’s like if Tim Gunn and James Bond had a baby, and that baby was Yoda. Angelo’s response? “Who’s Yoda?”

The Summary:
“I get to go to high school?” I said. “No more homeschooling? Do I … do I finally get an assignment?”
“Holy crap!” I said. “Hallelujah, it’s a miracle! I finally get to do something besides watch everyone else have fun!” I raised my bagel in the air like an award, then pretended to wipe away tears. “This just means so much to me! I’d like to thank all the little people that I crushed on my way to the top.”
Maggie is the 16-year old daughter of spies. Her parents work for an organization called "The Collective," which does a lot of cool shit behind the scenes that us normal mortals don't know about.
Tobacco executives on trial because of damning evidence? Human smuggling rings being broken up? The fall of that Peruvian dictator? That’s us.
She's a safecracker, a lock breaker, and she is damned good at her job. Except being the daughter of spies who are constantly moving from place to place is pretty fucking boring. She's hardly attended school, she sometimes accompany her parents to different jobs, and she has no friends. She has imaginary conversations with cute boys, but that's pretty much it. Her life is boring.
I even managed to mortify myself by having a long-running and completely one-sided “How you doin’?” imaginary conversation with Cute Boy.
Where’d we move from? Oh, nowhere you’d know. So what do you do around here for fun?
Ice cream? Yeah, I love ice cream. With you? Of course! No, my parents are totally cool with me dating.
See? Pathetic.
Maggie is ready for a change. And she gets it! Halle-fucking-lujah! Her assignment: Jesse Oliver. Son of Armand Oliver, a magazine editor. A magazine editor who's about to blow the lid on The Collective.
“So you get in through Jesse,” my dad said to me. “This one’s on you, kiddo.”
Hooray! Go to high school, get close to Jesse Oliver (who, from a background search, seems to be kind of a loser).
“He’s a delinquent!” I yelled out to my parents. “He was arrested for shoplifting last year!”
No response.
“I just want you to know that I’m going to be hanging out with someone who has a criminal record!” I cried.
“Let’s not forget that our family can never reenter Luxembourg without being arrested!” my dad yelled back.
Get into Oliver daddy's safe, steal the information. BOOM. Easy, right?

Not exactly.
After my first week of high school, I was ready for it to be over.
It turns out that The Collective are fucking idiots. How the fuck is Maggie supposed to infiltrate the high school social structure in the middle of the fucking quarter? She's the new girl! She's never been enrolled in school for long! She has no idea what to do!
The Collective should have enrolled me on the first day, not three weeks into the semester. What were they even thinking? I didn’t know who made up the Collective, but clearly, there wasn’t a teenage girl among them.
To top it off, it's a big fucking school. It's not easy to get close to Jesse Oliver. She hasn't even fucking SEEN Jesse Oliver. She's made a possible friend/spy...
I was sure I knew her! Maybe she was a spy, too. Maybe the Collective had two of us infiltrating the system. That would be a first, but hey, it wasn’t any crazier than enrolling me in geometry.
But where the fuck is Jesse Oliver?! Maggie's so fed up with this shit, so she calls mommy to complain...
“Sorry,” I said immediately. “Look, I can do this. I can do this better than anyone because I am a spy, okay? I am a great spy and—and something is licking me.”
There was a definite wetness on my calf and I glanced down to see a huge, shaggy golden retriever pushing his nose against my leg, then giving me a big doggie grin. I had seen this dog somewhere before, and I looked from the dog to his leash to his very cute owner.
Oh, no, I suddenly realized, my heartbeat flying into overdrive. Oh no, oh no, oh no.
“So,” Jesse Oliver said, “what’s this about being a great spy?”
Well, fuck. Luckily, Jesse Oliver, like most normal people, thinks she's joking. After all, who in their right mind would believe a 16-year old girl is a spy?!

And as it turned out, Jesse's not a bad kid. He's actually kind of nice. Despite the fact that he eats all the cherries out of their pint of shared Cherry Garcia ice cream. I mean, this is the kind of teenaged boy who doesn't flinch when a girl makes a joke about marriage over a cherry-flavored Ring Pop!
“Are we sworn now?” he said, his eyes crinkled at the corners.
“Yes,” I said, and tugged on his finger for good measure. “It’s also possible that we’re now considered married in the country of New Guinea.”
We both cracked up at the same time. “Kidding!” I giggled. “Kidding! At least I think I am. Who knows?”
“Let’s Wikipedia that when we get home,” Jesse suggested.
Well, crap. This mission is going to be harder than she thinks, not least because it's KIND of hard to get into his penthouse and sneak around and find a safe and crack it...it's pretty much like finding a needle in a haystack to bring down daddy Oliver.

Along the way, Maggie finds that she actually likes being a normal teenager.
Somewhere in the deep, shameful part of my heart, I knew that I wouldn’t always be friends with Roux, or even together with Jesse. It wasn’t in the job description, and I had watched my own parents pack up and move so many times that I had lost track. None of this was a surprise.
But that was before I had made friends.
Her parents find out what it's like to be parents to a high schooler for the first time.
I entered the code to our front door and opened it carefully. My parents were probably sleeping and I didn’t want to—
“Where have you been?”
Both my mom and my dad were standing in the kitchen, arms folded, staring at me. I hadn’t seen them look that angry since … well, ever.
“Oh, hi,” I said. “I can explain.”
And can Maggie bear to leave this new, wonderful life behind when the mission is finished?
“But how can you expect me to make a choice about my life, my future, when I know only one option? All I know is this job. Yeah, I’m good at safecracking, but what if I’m better at being a normal person? What if it makes me happier?”
The Parents:
“It’s two thirty in the morning!” my mom cried. “In Manhattan! Do you know all the things that could have happened to you?”
I looked at my parents like they were speaking Korean. (And to be fair, my dad can speak Korean, so it wasn’t outside the realm of possibility.)
OH MY GOD, WE HAVE ACTUAL PARENTS? And they are all sorts of adorable. We have computer hacker mom...
She’s an amazing computer hacker, which I think sort of rankles my dad. He’s useless when it comes to electronics. One time, we were in Boston and they got into this huge fight because my dad thought my mom was taking too long to do her job. She just handed him the TiVo remote and said, “Tell me how this works.” And of course he couldn’t, so she was all, “Don’t tell me how to do my job,” and believe me, he doesn’t anymore.
To linguist dad. They are cool parents, but they weren't really normal parents, because they were spies first. And really, Maggie's never been a problem. Hell, she tags along safecracking with them on their jobs. So they were parents, but they never did the parenting thing until Maggie goes to school.

And damn, they freak out. All of a sudden, their little safecracking darling is STAYING OUT PAST CURFEW and DATING BOYS and MAKING FRIENDS and HAVING SLEEPOVER and I mean WHAT KIND OF HIGH SCHOOL GIRL DOES THAT ANYWAY?.

Oh. Well, crap. So Maggie's parents are learning to be parents for the first time, just as Maggie is learning to be a high schooler for the first time. And it is such an awesome learning experience. For me, that is.

Make nicey-nice with Jesse Oliver? Check! Get into his house so I can scope out his father’s office and see what his safe situation was? Check, check! Foil Dad Oliver’s plan, save the world, and be promoted to head spy of all time? CHECK, CHECK, AND CHECK!
AHAHAHAHA. I have to admit that Maggie might come off as immature to some, but to me, she is so endearing. She has the right amount of self-consciousness and immaturity that I totally love. She is so good at what she does (being "beige" and safecracking), but normal things like making friends and going to school is something so completely new for her and she's completely cowardly.
“Right back atcha,” I said, taking my class schedule and sauntering out.
Bring it, Harper School.
The Harper School definitely brought it.
By the time lunch rolled around, I felt like I was ready to retire.
She is not incompetent, she's just not used to this whole situation. Maggie has never had friends outside of the suited (and awesome) 50-something Angelo. She doesn't have girlfriends. She's never dated. She doesn't know how to flirt. She doesn't know anything but blending in (because spies don't stand out).

She is so teenager at times, but she sees her own faults.
You know how sometimes you realize you’re doing or saying the wrong thing, but you just can’t stop yourself? You can literally hear the words coming out of your mouth and you just want to shove them back in because the real you, the good you, would never want to be this way, but you just keep going?
Yeah. That was me. Because instead of agreeing to try harder, be better, I got whiny.
This book did such a great job of highlighting Maggie's insecurities, with just the right amount of humor.

The Romance:
“Look,” I said. “I like you. Like, like like you. Like, a lot.”
“That’s a lot of ‘likes.’”
“Yes, it is.” Angelo was right about the West Coast ruining my grammar. “But don’t you feel like it’s happening kind of fast? Shouldn’t we just slow down a little?”
Jesse Oliver made it onto my book boyfriend list. He's just fucking adorable. Initially, he seems like a douche. He shoplifted, he has stupid pictures on his profile.
Even Jesse Oliver’s photo page was banal. Hanging out with friends in one shoot, giving the finger in another, hugging a golden retriever in the third.
But as it turned out, it's just a facade. I usually hate poor-little-rich-boy tropes, but Jesse is so likeable that I completely forgive him.
“It’s like, I have all this luck and wealth and privilege, but who gives a shit? People expect me to be some spoiled brat, so then I act like some spoiled brat—I mean, I stole that book, what a dumbass—but it’s not me at all. And then when I try to act like an upright citizen, volunteer and all that, they accuse me of using my dad’s connections to get ahead. But if I don’t do anything, then my dad gets pissed that I’m not doing anything."
The thing with Jesse is that he is such a sweetheart. He never, EVER acts like a jerk to Maggie. He has a sense of humor. He never flinches. His only fault is that he trusts and falls for her too easily (although it's not insta-love).

Their romance was so seriously sweet. I feel like I'm swimming in a vat of dark chocolate and getting giddy on a sugar high.
“Maggie.” He got up and came over to stand next to me, taking my hand in his. “Would you like to go on a date with me?”
At that point, I would have run away to Zimbabwe and raised herds of elephants with him.
“Yes,” I admitted. “Do you want to go on a date with me?”
“Are you kidding? I’m going to show you how it’s done. I’m going to date you like you’ve never been dated before. We’re talking fireworks, okay? Literal fireworks. None of this ‘let’s eat ice cream in the freezing cold while we sit on a dirty stoop’ shit. I’m pulling out all the stops. Call me LL Cool Jess.”
Jesse is not smooth. He's the biggest dork in the whole world, as you can tell from that quote above, and I absolutely adore him for it.

Overall: a fantastically fun book. Even better than Prep School Confidential.
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
841 reviews3,774 followers
February 15, 2021

2015 reads : Give me a cute and funny story, 'kay?

Where are the teenagers? What, it seems that in contemporary YA, we often get this oh-so-delicious choice :

▧ Either teenagers sound like wiser than Yoda freaking Jedi : The Fault in Our Stars
Or like predators in the jungle : Every book with some devil cheerleader in it.

So, no, my question is genuine and I end asking this to myself pretty often : WHERE. THE. FUCK. ARE. THE. REAL. TEENAGERS?

Strangely, I had to read a story about SPIES to find teenagers who sound like fucking teenagers. Frankly, I don't know what that says about the genre, but it can't be positive, don't you think? Anyway, it made this book so refreshing I just can't rate it lower than 4 stars, even though then it's quite... immature at times, because, surprise! Teenagers ARE immature like some adults, but that's not the point here.

▓ What can you find in Also Known As? ▓

Hilarious dialogues : Indeed Also Known As is the kind of book you need to read alone, if you don't want to sound super crazy with your giggles, let's say. That's definitely too late for me, I'm afraid. Nobody warned me! Damn!

"Are we sworn now?” he said, his eyes crinkled at the corners.
“Yes,” I said, and tugged on his finger for good measure. “It’s also possible that we’re now considered married in the country of New Guinea.”
We both cracked up at the same time. “Kidding!” I giggled. “Kidding! At least I think I am. Who knows?”
“Let’s Wikipedia that when we get home,” Jesse suggested."

➋ Absolutely ♫ ♬ no dramaaaaa ♫ ♪

Bring the pop-corn, though.
"They were fighting over this clown? Now I had seen everything.
“Jake?” Julia said, crossing her arms and looking over at Stoner Boy. “Is it true? Who did you like better, babe?”
Babe? They were still together? Jake cheated on Julia and she took him back? If this were a TV show, I would have been recording every single episode on my DVR. "

No slut-shaming and other ridiculous stereotypes, as evil cheerleader, football-player manwhore, bitchy girl friend....

➍ Did I say cute? Yeah? The truth is, Jesse Oliver is one of the sweetest, cutest male lead I had the pleasure to meet. Seriously, while staying realistic and not over-the-top cheesy, the guy melted my heart with his insecurities and his kindness - he is a complete dork, yes, but oh so fucking fantastic. Not to mention his sparks of light humor I adore. Now, that's the kind of guy who could date my baby sister with my whole approval (not that she needs it, obviously).

" (...) Are guys always like this?"
"Um. Kind of?"
I threw my hands into the air. "This is why the world's a mess!" I yelled. "Because no one can just say what they want to say!"
"I think that's a John Mayer song," Jesse pointed out."

A witty and kick-ass heroine, who takes her job as a spy safe cracker seriously, although she's a teenager with, well, teenagers issues. What I found so endearing and realistic is the fact that she's so clueless at the same time, especially concerning teenager stuff, being around her peers for the first time and all because no, the cute Islander guy doesn't count, even if his imaginary conversations skills looked great.
"It was time for the mirror pep talk.
“Okay, Maggie,” I said to myself after my shower, wiping the steam off the medicine cabinet.
“You could eat these kids for breakfast. You won’t, though, because that would be cannibalistic and wrong."

Icing on the cake, I never found her inner monologues annoying, and that's saying something, right?

"You know how sometimes you realize you’re doing or saying the wrong thing, but you just can’t stop yourself? You can literally hear the words coming out of your mouth and you just want to shove them back in because the real you, the good you, would never want to be this way, but you just keep going? "

→ Oh YES do I know that >.<

Girl friendship : Now, I need to say it : I. LOVED. ROUX. This girl is just plain awesome. Forget the bitchy friends we find way too often, and meet this unapologetic girl who has a passion for French vine and never stops talking. Of course I can relate, duh.

"Seriously. Feathers. Why?”
“No clue.”
“I think I dreamed that I was the Black Swan. Oh my God, I need coffeeeeeeeee. If I don’t have coffee, I will shrivel up and die just like one of those little roly-poly bugs.” She paused. “There’s a feather in my mouth. Blechhh.”
“Roux,” I said, trying to bring her back to the present. “I need to talk to you.”
“Is this an intervention?”
“What? No. God, no.” I didn’t have that kind of time, for starters. “I just have some questions."

➐ An adorable and swoon-worthy romance whose growth is believable. What I loved is the smile-inducing way this first love is portrayed, without all the awful angst we have to stand more often than not. Yes! Because! Love! Isn't! Always! Angsty!

"It’s not going to be all good for Roux tomorrow,” I pointed out, “but wait. Why didn’t you say anything?”
Jesse shrugged and ran his hand through his hair in a way that was not adorable or charming. At all. “Well, um, you’re kind of intimidating?”
I was definitely intimidating, but not for any reason that Jesse Oliver would or should know about. “What do you mean?”
“Well, in class you’re always taking notes … and frowning?”
“Are you asking me or telling me?”
“See?” Jesse protested. “You’re really argumentative, too."

➑ And spies - I mean, SPIES! Who doesn't like a spy story? Hmm. Wait - Who doesn't like a spy story without a girl portrayed as a sex object?

Parents! I know, amazing right? The MC has parents who - wait for it - care about her and worry when she takes risky decisions. Moreover, their job as spies makes them hilariously off the wall and I can't deny that their reactions cracked me up several times.

➓ A compelling writing, serving a fast-paced, never boring plot.

To sum up : Here's a funny, drama free and adorable story. One might say it isn't unforgettable, and yes, that's true. But now, tell me, don't you ever need to lighten your mood? Because I do, and it was the perfect book for it. In any case, I'd take this fluffy read over a manipulative drama on any day. I can be shallow like that.

For more of my reviews, please visit:
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,608 reviews1,481 followers
March 15, 2017
On sale for $1.99 on Amazon 15Mar17 I'm not sure how long it will be on sale.

One thing that can really grab me in a book is the dialogue. If the dialogue is really good I will let some of the plot stuff slide since I’m having such a fun time reading through the characters conversations. I LOVED the hilarious dialogue in this book. Also, I want a teenager to sound like a teenager; I don’t need them to be sophisticated, there should be a general silliness to them as they are discovering language and how to communicate the abundance of new emotions and experiences. This book had that in spades and I out right giggled at so many conversations and instances.

Maggie has lived an exotic life of intrigue and mystery in her sixteen years. Her parents are spies and she is a masterful safe cracker. She has had an unusual upbringing traveling all over the globe righting wrongs and getting the goods on the bad guys. But she has always been in the background, her parents do the intel work and then she comes in at the end to crack the safe and get the proof. That is until now. She had been given her first assignment as the front man and she is totally excited.
Holy crap!” I said. “Hallelujah, it’s a miracle! I finally get to do something besides watch everyone else have fun!” I raised my bagel in the air like an award, then pretended to wipe away tears. “This just means so much to me! I’d like to thank all the little people that I crushed on my way to the top.

Maggie has been home schooled her entire life but the assignment means that she will need to attend High School. I’m not sure that all her time as a spy has prepared her for this.

I have to say that I absolutely adored the characters and their relationships in this. First there is Maggie and her parents. They have always worked as a team and it has really been the three of them against the world. Maggie has been a remarkably easy teenager up until now, probably because she never had a relationship of any kind with anyone her own age, but it seems the game has changed and none of them are sure what to do.
“Look, I’m sorry, but what do you want?” I said. “You signed me up for this, so this is what I have to do. I have to go to Halloween parties and spend time with people! It’s my job!”
“It’s two thirty in the morning!” my mom cried. “In Manhattan! Do you know all the things that could have happened to you?”
I looked at my parents like they were speaking Korean. (And to be fair, my dad can speak Korean, so it wasn’t outside the realm of possibility.)

But it is always clear that they are trying and this is just new to all of them.

Maggie finally gets to make a friend her own age. Roux is absolutely positively fantastic and I want a friend just like her. She is a little bit of a mess but in the most fun way. Roux isn’t perfect she is lonely, drinks and had an unfortunate incident last year but I loved her all the more for it.
“Were you a Mean Girl?” I asked. “I saw the movie.”
Roux paused for a long time before finally saying, “Yes. I was a bitch to people. I talked about girls, made up rumors, all of that. Ever since fifth grade.”
“So now you’re persona non grata,” I said. “Wow. Social justice, like, never happens. I’m sorry!” I told her when she frowned and started to walk away. “I’m really sorry, it just slipped out.”
“Yes, please, enjoy my karmic retribution.

Who better to steer Maggie through the social jungle that is high school and also help her with Jesse Oliver her assignment that just happens to be a cute boy, the first cute boy who Maggie has had a non-imaginary conversation with. I loved the cute semi-innocent chemistry between them. They have a very natural playful banter that is perfect for that age.
“I couldn’t help but notice that you weren’t wearing your ring,” Jesse said.
I yelped and quickly moved to cover my hand. “It’s being resized at the jeweler’s!”
“I don’t want to make it weird or anything!” he said, even though we were both laughing by now. “I just couldn’t help but notice!”
“It was sending me into diabetic shock just by wearing it!” I cried. “I didn’t do it for me, I did it for us!”

There is also Angelo who I just adored. He is like your grandfather if your grandfather was a world renowned forger, with great taste in clothes, who draws picture clues for where you are supposed to meet. Maybe he isn’t even old enough to be your grandfather perhaps a super cool uncle or something. He always has Maggie’s back and I loved the time they spent together.

I had soooo much fun with this book. It isn’t all spying and espionage, but I never cared. It was a lot of time trying to get to the information wanted and discovering that it is hard to be a fake friend and have fake emotions when you really like the people you are spending time with and it is easy to get distracted from the mission when the cute boy who is your target is so much fun to spend time with.
“Are you insane?” my mother said to him. “What were you thinking!”
My dad closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Maggie,” he said, “explain to me again how you have a date.”
“Um, he asked?” No one said a word. “And I said yes?”

Plus Jesse Oliver was cute and sincere and a little bit dorkie but in the best way possibly. How could she possibly say no? He was like the cutest wounded puppy in the litter.

The only downfall to the entire book was possibly the lack of super spying. She is a wiz safecracker that means she doesn’t chase the bad guys. They have other people to do that. I really appreciate that they didn’t try to make her a self-defense expert or something like that. She is a teenage safe cracker with a few other spy related skills and she sticks to what she is good at.

I recommend this to anyone who wants a super fun, hilarious read that will have you giggling out loud. This is one of the better YA books I’ve read recently perfect for 12-18 age range, or the young at heart.
Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,828 reviews2,189 followers
September 3, 2015
3.5 super cute stars!

Maggie has been a spy for the Collective along with her parents for her entire life. At the age of four it was discovered she has a rare knack for picking locks, a gift that develops and grows as she reaches her teens. Maggie’s family has traveled the world, helping to stop human trafficking rings and other various crimes.

After their latest assignment in Iceland, Maggie and her parents are brought to New York City, where Maggie is given her own assignment, to execute without the help of her parents. Maggie is to attend private school and befriend fellow student Jesse Oliver in order to gain access to his father’s safe and obtain the information inside. Maggie’s mission means she will have the lives of many secret spies in her hands, but as she works, she finds it harder and harder to lie to the people who have become her friends.

“I just want you to know that I’m going to be hanging out with someone who has a criminal
record!” I cried.
“Let’s not forget that our family can never reenter Luxembourg without being arrested!” my dad
yelled back.

This was a super cute and clean tween contemporary book. While it does require quite a bit of suspension of disbelief from older readers, this book is about a teenage girl who is able to accomplish missions and tasks by herself using her own brains and skills. Robin Benway has such a wonderful voice present in her books, her sense of humor is unique and appealing to all ages.

“As much fun as it is watching you elbow small children
out of your way while clinging to a makeshift wall …”
“That kid was hogging all the space!” I huffed. “He had it coming!”

The idea that the main character can set out on her own and complete a job normally reserved for adults is appealing to younger readers, and while her parents were not always very supportive, she had enough of their trust and confidence for them to even allow her to work this job. This book also held a strong theme of identity. Maggie has only known one life, the one her parents have decided on for her, and her glimpse at a normal life has her questioning her future motivations.

There were moments that did not really add up in terms of the mystery plot, the resolution was fairly quick and sloppy, but at the end of the day a tween is going to want a happy ending and not always care so much about every loose end. Not only is this a good book for tweens, it’s an enjoyable read for older readers as well.
Profile Image for Farah &#x1f308;.
94 reviews19 followers
August 27, 2013
First of all, I want to say 'I LOVE YOU STEPHANIE PERKINS!' (for recommending this book on her blog. Otherwise, I probably wouldn't even have heard about this book.)

"French is one of the romance languages after all."
(-Said a girl who kissed a guy in a French class after they were caught doing so by the French teacher.)

I learned more about spies from reading this one book as compared to my entire life. I completed reading this book at about 3:00 something AM (because the idea of sleep becomes insignificant when I'm reading a good book.) but I oh-so didn't want this book to end. I couldn't imagine it ending. How can a book like this end?! HOW?! Argh.
I felt happy

and sad when the book ended because the book ended.

asdfghjkl; I LOVED THIS BOOK!
Profile Image for Julia.
115 reviews96 followers
October 15, 2016
You know how sometimes you realize you’re doing or saying the wrong thing, but you just can’t stop yourself? You can literally hear the words coming out of your mouth and you just want to shove them back in because the real you, the good you, would never want to be this way, but you just keep going?
Yeah. That was me. Because instead of agreeing to try harder, be better, I got whiny.

There is always a fine line between light and cute and annoying and ridiculous. Unfortunately, instead of trying harder to be the first one, Also Known As happens to be the latter. Spice it up with kisses and giggles every two pages, add some whiny characters, almost no scenes about the whole "spy" thing and here you go.

Maggie Silver has a gift. Or so she's been told. While some people are ace musicians, speak nine languages or can solve a Rubik's cube in under a minute, Maggie picks locks and cracks safes almost effortlessly. That's why she works for the Collective — a huge spy organisation — from the very young age with her parents. Iceland, Russia, Buenos Aires, Luxembourg (don't remind her about Luxembourg..) and now New-York. And finally it's Maggie's chance to shine. After so many missions where she was in the background, she gets a real chance to prove herself, to have a leading role. But what if being a real girl, going to school and having friends is much more difficult than breaking and entering? Especially when the assignment includes a very cute boy Maggie might accidentally fall in love with. If only his father weren't a target she needed to get close to... Now Maggie has to make her own choices; after all, safes aren't people and some cracks have consequences..

Why did I even pick this book up? I was in the mood for some entertainment, and this one had spies in it and was supposed to be funny. Was. Because the main thing this book failed to be is funny. Maybe it's just me, but I felt like an old grandma which was too old for this shit full of all the ridiculous dialogues and plot lines. I fully understand that it's not a deep read, but it was such a disaster of a read nonetheless. And it didn't really have spies in it, just a so-called safecracker that had absolutely no idea about anything and some parents and agents in the background. I wanted some kind of Kingsman, but with a girl in the leading role, but instead got an episode of Hannah Montana in the Barbie Land AKA Private School.

Also Known As has it all. Obsessing over British? Check.
“Why does everything sound better when a British person says it?”

Sugary sweet lines causing a diabetes? Check.
Forgetting about the mission while obsessing over a super-duper-cuty Jesse Oliver? Check.
Lines with non-existent logic like this one...

Heart Brain-melting cheesy lines from some Disney movie?

The spy that cries and whines about the mission she-was-sooo-looking-forward-to-get all the time? The "spy" that finally remembers about her mission at about ? CheckCheckCheck
“It’s not a matter of saying,” my dad told me. “It’s a matter of doing.”

Yes, you got it right, before that "finally!" mark all Maggie did included talking and laughing and giggling and kissing and that was it.

What I especially loved were Maggie's thoughts. I'm not trying to be SJW, but are you serious right now?
“I hoped Roux wasn't going to the movies by herself. That would be just sad.”

“I wondered how many days she had spent in her room watching movies while her parents were halfway across the world. It seemed fun but not really, like being the only person in an amusement park. No one wants to go on rides all by herself.”

Now, what's wrong with going to the movies by yourself? Spending time on your own? And what do you mean by "no one wants to go on rides all by herself"? Um, hello? I do? The whole "oh you poor thing that has no friends, I know I'm your salvation, so here I am for you" thing was not only annoying, but also ridiculous. Is it what friendship is in Maggie's world? Maybe that's just lack of social skills due to her occupation, though.

I might have felt like an old grandma reading the book, but the thing is, I'm still not sure it would've been enjoyable, even if I were ten. All the characters are walking stereotypes, exaggerated and flat. Jesse Oliver — a poor rich kid everyone sees as a typical rich kid, but of course he has a deep personality. A batshit crazy best friend Roux, which is all that grumpy and sarcastic, but at some point becomes all "awww" and giggles (okay, maybe the amount of giggles in this review is already higher than in the book, but that's just the impression the book left). Parents that care too much about the mission and a little about their daughter's mental health. And, of course, a really cool and understanding and wise family friend that appreciates our little Maggie much more than her parents. I don't mind these stereotypes — life is pretty stereotypical too — but when they're done well. Which they weren't.

Also Known As isn't a story about spies. It's the story about a girl with one flat dull personality and her teenage problems, about talking, not doing. It's the story that might make your brain itch, your eyes roll and your hands throw it away. Unfortunately, instead of a funny and light read it might only be known as a really bad one.
Profile Image for Muse-ic ♬.
386 reviews111 followers
January 4, 2016
Also Known As was such a fun and enjoyable read! I flew right through it and I don't regret anything!
“It was time for the mirror pep talk.
“Okay, Maggie,” I said to myself after my shower, wiping the steam off the medicine cabinet.
“You could eat these kids for breakfast. You won’t, though, because that would be cannibalistic and

Margaret, also known as Maggie, and her families are spies that work for the Collective a secret spy organization. They constantly travel the world and fight evil. Maggie's specialty is safe-cracking, her father is the linguist, and her mother is the expert hacker. Their next mission takes them to New York, where there was the suspicion that a man by the name of Armand Oliver was going to publish an expository article about the Collective, while naming names and putting Maggie and her family in danger. This case is mostly for Maggie, because she needs to get to Armand through his son, Jesse Oliver (who also happens to be easy on the eyes). Cue fancy private school in Manhattan.

Let's start with the characters:
The characters are hands down AH-MAZING.
-We have the protagonist, Maggie: As I mentioned before, she is a safe-cracker. She is totally fabulous with a side of sass! Actually more like complete sass! Sass Queen, if you will.
-Roux is Maggie's best friend. She used to be the queen bee type but then she slept with some girl's boyfriend and became a social outcast. She has an attitude similar to Maggie's and it's downright HILARIOUS!
“So, Harold. Friend, pal, chum.” Roux folded her hands on top of the desk. “Are you going to
buzz us in or not?”
“Go on up, miss,” Harold said, waving us through the lobby and toward the elevators.
“Harold, you’re a gem. A pristine gem honed over years of trial and fire.”
“That’s how I would describe my job, too,” Harold replied.”

-Harold is the guy who buzzes people up to their apartments (I forgot the official job title) and I love his character too!!
-Jesse is our love interest, and he is such a sweet guy! I love him :D Of course over the course of the case, Maggie falls in love with him, and rightly so! It was such an adorable romance!
-Maggie's parents are so awesome that I can't even!
-Angelo is the part of the Collective that handles legal documents, such as the twelve different passports and birth certificates Maggie and her parents have. He's also kind of like an uncle to Maggie and she confides in him a lot. He's the sort of eccentric mystical sensei's you read about; calm, speaks in riddles (not too much in Angelo's case but still), wise...etc. I loved his character!!

Then again, the only character I didn't like was the villain, but you know.....he's the villain. No, I won't tell you who it is. Go read the book to find out!

Not only are the characters fantastic, but the writing is great! It is so funny! The back-and-forth banter is great, I was never bored, and I was always smiling!

I would definitely recommend it to everyone!
Profile Image for Keertana.
1,126 reviews2,165 followers
January 19, 2015
Also Known As is a brilliant, fresh, and innovative take on the classic teenage spy idea. While I've enjoyed Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls and Heist Society books, I find that Benway's concept manages doesn't take itself quite so seriously and the end result is not only compulsively readable and instantly relate-able, it's also downright adorable and incredibly humorous. Maggie, the protagonist of our novel, is a genius lock-breaker and safe-cracker. Born to a set of spies who work for an organization known as The Collective which brings down the bad guys of the world, Maggie has spent her life traveling the globe, saving the world one assignment at a time. When Maggie and her parents are sent to New York City, however, this is the first time Maggie has a mission all of her own--one in which her parents can't aid her in the least. And her mission? Befriend local high school student, Jesse, and steal the files his father possess which could expose the members of The Collective, Maggie and her parents included. For Maggie, this meant that she actually had to step into the dreaded institution immortalized by every film, novel, and magazine for its cutthroat citizens, ruthless exams, and downright miserable atmosphere: high school.

Seriously, who doesn't want to read a novel about a kick-ass teenage spy whose greatest challenge is high school? Maggie's voice is so honest and likable from the beginning itself that it's impossible not to fall in love with her sarcasm, wit, and all-round general awesome-ness. Seriously, this not only the girl I'd want guarding my back in a gunfire, she's also the chick I'd love to call my best friend. Maggie and her parents, despite their unconventional lifestyle, share an incredible relationship which is truly put to the test as Maggie becomes a normal high school student, for the first time in her life, and her parents find themselves having to dole out curfews, check up on homework assignments, and attend parent-teacher conferences. For a family who has operated on private jet planes and breaking-and-entering missions, it's a whole new world. I really enjoyed, however, how Maggie's parents played such a large role in her life and their conversations and arguments were completely realistic and all-too-believable.

Another aspect of this novel that I love is Roux, the loner Maggie befriends. As a spy, Maggie isn't supposed to make friends or become attached to the people on her mission, but she slowly begins to realize that normality is what she craves after a far too exciting childhood. Roux, who slept with her best friend's boyfriend the year before, is your classically unlikable and downtrodden high school student. She's the one they all label "slut", she avoids every high school party imaginable, and until she can graduate, the high school population will never let her forget what she's done. Yet, there is absolutely zero slut-shaming in this novel and it is Roux who becomes Maggie's best friend and confidant. Roux has a prickly exterior--one she's been forced to accumulate due to the acerbic quality of her fellow classmates--but inside, she's just a big softie craving love and attention. Her parents, outrageously wealthy, are constantly traveling and rarely check up on Roux who lives alone in the Upper East Side for weeks on end. She's not your classic secondary character in the least but that's what I love about her and her character is simultaneously lovable, loyal, and unforgettable.

Perhaps the aspect of this novel most integral to the plot, however, is Jesse. Though Jessie is Maggie's mark, she finds herself falling for him--hard. At first glance, Jesse seems like a typical bad-boy, good-for-nothing student. Not only is he failing calculus, but he was caught shoplifting a copy of Catcher in the Rye as well. But as Maggie gets to know Jesse more and more, she realizes that there is far more to him than what her initial research revealed. And she likes him. Their romance is utterly adorable and, though you wouldn't expect it, drama-free which I appreciated. I love how level-headed these two are and they manage to balance one another perfectly. Everything about them, from their first kiss to their first date, just made me smile so much; my cheeks hurt. It's the perfect example of a YA romance that really enriches Maggie's life and adds to it instead of causing drama or hurt instead.

Angelo is yet another secondary character who really stands out in this series. He's a close friend of Maggie's parents and basically an adoptive uncle to her. Not only is he a skilled forger and a guide to her in her spying endeavors, but he's an adult--who isn't her parents--who Maggie trusts and relies on. His wisdom is aptly given and delivered in such a way that Maggie is more likely to listen to his advice instead of those same words from the mouth of her parents. I just really appreciate that Maggie has another adult in her life who serves as her inspiration beyond just her parents. Also Known As is such a strong novel precisely because of the strength of its characters. Maggie maintains such strong relationships with all of those closest to her, from her parents to Angelo, and slowly her family starts to grow and expand to include Roux and Jesse as well. Moreover, the crux of this novel lies not in assignments and spying, but rather in Maggie comes to terms with what she wants from her life and defining that not only for herself, but for her parents too. Maggie begins to question whether a life dedicated to The Collective is really for her when she sees the advantages that normalcy can bring and the fact that the core of this novel is a classic coming-of-age tale is what makes me love it most. Robin Benway is quickly on her way to becoming one of my most favorite authors ever and if you read Also Known As, you'll definitely see why.
Profile Image for TJ.
978 reviews119 followers
April 30, 2016

Why this book?

It's been on my iPod forever so I decided to finally listen to it

What I thought

This book was a joy to read! The spy thing was was interesting, and the characters are awesome, especially Roux I just love her! The romance was really sweet, Jesse was absolutely Swoonworthy and the ring pop was really cute. I also really liked her interactions with Roux, they were definitely amusing. The best thing about this book is being inside Maggie's head, her inner dialogue was priceless. Overall this was a fun fast paced read.
Profile Image for Maggie ☘.
534 reviews654 followers
February 26, 2020
*3.5/5 stars*

Also Known As is lighthearted, fun - though yes pretty young-ish sounding in tone - adorable little book about safecracker teen spy who got first assignment of her own, which includes attending high school for the first time, fitting in, making friends and spy on one very cute boy. What could go possibly wrong, right?

“I sat back in my chair and sighed. “I have to seduce someone,” I announced to my parents. “High school is already destroying my moral code and I haven’t even set foot on the campus yet.”

Firstly, for you to enjoy this book, I think you have to know coming into this, that this is a rather silly book. In a good way. But still silly. I'd have loved and adored it have I read something like this when I was in my very early teens (around 12/13). Now, I can have fun while reading it, if I don't take everything in here too seriously.

This book certainly doesn't take itself too seriously, either. It's fun, and light and kind of cheesy in a way. The heroine was fun too, but also pretty immature sounding. Her parents were spies, she constatnly moved all across the globe, grew up in this secret stuff, and yet she was eh... dense sometimes. I think for this book to be fun, she had to lack a certain kind of subtlety, that would be otherwise expected from... well, a spy. I still found it weirdly entertaining at times, so if you won't take this book too seriously either, then you'll enjoy it more.

"Are we sworn now?” he said, his eyes crinkled at the corners.
“Yes,” I said, and tugged on his finger for good measure. “It’s also possible that we’re now considered married in the country of New Guinea.”
We both cracked up at the same time. “Kidding!” I giggled. “Kidding! At least I think I am. Who knows?”
“Let’s Wikipedia that when we get home,” Jesse suggested."

This book is very little about romance. I like that it doesn't overpower the story at all. Jesse was so adorable and kind and definitely no bad boy like Roux said at the beginning. There is not even an ounce of jerk in this guy! I enjoyed their interactions, but the romance is not all this book is about.

This story is very much about family (Robin Benway can create such a hilarious and loving family dynamics), new friendships and what it's like to be normal teenager for the first time. There was many great side characters - the sweet Jesse! One former high school bitch queen now social pariah of a best friend - Roux. Or the classy spy forger in chic suit and possibly (not) in retirement - Angelo. They were just such a silly little dorks!

“And Maggie, is that your closet? Because there are some beautiful pieces in there that are wasting away on some equally beautiful hangers.”
I jerked a thumb in Angelo’s direction. “He did most of my clothes shopping for me.”
“Well done, sir!” Roux raised her palm for a high five, and then, in front of my very own eyes, Angelo high-fived her back.
My dad made a strangled sound and started pouring the wine.”

Pretty fun, relaxing read which reads more like a middle grade book, filled with some fun dialogues and likeable characters. This book was in no way some action packed story about devious spies or anything of the sort, but I'd recommend it as an easy weekend read to brighten your mood.

“He’s a delinquent!” I yelled out to my parents. “He was arrested for shoplifting last year!”
No response.
“I just want you to know that I’m going to be hanging out with someone who has a criminal
record!” I cried.
“Let’s not forget that our family can never reenter Luxembourg without being arrested!” my dad yelled back.

P.S. Do try Emmy & Oliver by this author. Also a very fun book, though with more serious subjet matter.
Profile Image for Drew.
449 reviews504 followers
March 27, 2017
My parents weren’t surprised that I cracked the lock. I think they’d have been more surprised if I hadn’t opened it. It would probably be hugely disappointing for two spies to have a completely inept kid, you know?

After finishing this I just wanted to squeal, "Oh my gosh! That was so cuuuuute!"

I'm not going to pretend this book is something it's not. Also Known As is a really adorable, fluffy, light chick lit about sixteen-year-old Maggie who's a spy and works for the Collective. Ever since Maggie was four and picked her first lock, her parents have dragged her along on their save-the-world missions to crack safes and pick Master Locks.

Now, after a long, boring summer in Iceland, Maggie's family is on the move to New York for their latest mission - and this time they're solely depending on Maggie. Her job: pretend to be a high school student, get close to Jesse Oliver, the son of Armand Oliver, who is going to publish an article revealing the names and faces of the spies in the Collective, and steal the information from him. The fate of her family lies on Maggie's shoulders.

Except, the plan doesn't go according to plan. When Maggie "pretends" to befriend Roux, a school outcast, and Jesse, their friendships turn into something more. Roux is a drunk, lonely, ex-smoking, and totally charming delinquent who shows Maggie how to survive high school. And Maggie can't deny her growing feelings for cute, funny, and sweet Jesse. But what would they think if they knew her true identity?

Maggie was such a cute character, from her overly energetic personality, to her coffee addiction, to her amazing ability to pick locks. I really enjoyed reading from her perspective and her friendships with Jesse and Roux were heartwarming. Maggie didn't judge Roux for sleeping with another girl's boyfriend, even though the whole school now calls her a "slut." And, for a while, she tried to push Jesse away, because she didn't want to get him involved in her line of work.

I pulled out a tiny scope camera that had a monitor attached to it. “This lets me see where the grooves are in the lock. Each groove corresponds to a number on the combination and I just have to line them up.”
Jesse and Roux looked at me like I was speaking Martian. “Where do you even get this stuff?”
“Sweet Sixteen present from my parents.”

Also Known As was all kinds of fun, action-packed espionage. It was addicting, made me laugh, and I loved the characters. If you're looking for a thriller that will keep you guessing, I'd steer you in the direction of Gillian Flynn - but if you're in the mood for something perfectly light and fluffy, then this book should do the trick.
Profile Image for Zyra .
203 reviews81 followers
February 6, 2017
my first spy story ever and such a cute one. i enjoyed it so much. light and fun to read. though i am kind of disappointed that there are only two books in a series. i was hoping for more.
April 24, 2017
I kept comparing this to Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls (which is awesome btw) I didn't want to but my mind obviously doesn't care about my wants. I'm having more and more issues with YA books nowadays. It was cute and all but it focused too much on the relationship stuff in my opinion. I was looking for more action and gadgets and multiply spy talents. Like I said, Gallagher Girls has obviously ruined other YA spy books for me. I also couldn't really relate to the MC and was hoping this to be more humorous. Still, it's not bad at all. Cute but I just found it a bit boring.
Profile Image for Glory.
350 reviews49 followers
October 10, 2016
Если вы думаете, что все истории про подростков-шпионов наивные, неправдоподобные и предсказуемые, то вы точно не читали эту.
"Also Known As" - приятное исключение среди целой вереницы однотипных экшенов про детишек, круче которых только яйца и Чак Норрис. Ну, знаете, кувырки с подвыподвертом, ствол в каждом кармане, сюрикены в носках и пятьдесят редких языков в подкорке.
Нет, Мэгги не такая. По сути, она совсем обычная - не считая навыков медвежатника и родителей-шпионов. Она родилась и выросла в этой среде, она умеет быть незаметной и смеется над фильмами, в которых тайные агенты выглядят как Анджелина Джоли - да такую бы разоблачили за секунду.
Вся семья Мэгги работает на секретную организацию, героиня мотается по всему миру и по мере необходимости взламывает для мамы с папой сейфы. Прежде ей никогда не поручали целое задание с работой под прикрытием... и вот наконец свершилось.

Организации нужно добраться до кое-чьего компьютера, но объект - параноик, так что к нему так просто не подступишься. В иной ситуации мама Мэгги устроилась бы к нему на работу, но из-за его подозрительности на проверку потенциальных подчиненных уходят месяцы, а ждать нельзя. В общем, выход один - внедриться в окружение объекта через его сына.
Вот так Мэгги и оказывается в частной школе для богатеньких детишек в самом центре Нью-Йорка. В своей первой в жизни школе.
Она находчива и умна, но даже этого может оказаться недостаточно, чтобы справиться с подростковыми проблемами.
Первая подруга, первая вечеринка, первая любовь, первый поцелуй, первая трагедия вселенского масштаба... Вот, о чем эта история.
Без ангста и соплей, а с морем юмора и иронии.

У Мэгги очень необычный ход мыслей, она саркастична и практична. И никогда не унывает, что делает книгу не просто веселой, а светлой и позитивной.
Родители - уморительная парочк��, их диалоги с дочерью хочется растащить на цитаты.
Ру - та самая первая подруга. Нетипичный персонаж для подобных историй. Не серая мышь, ботаничка или что-то типа того, а некогда популярная девчонка, переспавшая с парнем лучше подруги, из-за чего стала парией в школе. Ру - фейерверк. Они с Мэгги очень похожи, потому буквально за секунду находят общий язык. Ру умеет быть и стервой, и нежным ангелочком, а еще она остроумна и непосредственна.
Джесси - первая любовь/первый поцелуй/сын объекта/просто милый парень, местами наивный, местами удивительно взрослый, но дико ранимый из-за ситуации с родителями. Тоже на редкость не заштампованный герой, многоуровневый и живой.
Анжело - о, Анжело. Друг семьи, наставник и учитель Мэгги. Помесь Тима Гана, Джеймса Бонда и Йоды. Мудрый и забавный. И всегда появляющийся в нужный момент.

В общем, если вы любите молодежку, милую и по-настоящему смешную, советую.
Скучно не будет))

- Странная у нас семейка. Я единственный шпион в мире, которому говорят, когда ложиться спать.

Я откинулась на спинку стула и вздохнула:
- Мне поручено кого-то соблазнить. Школа уже разрушает мой моральный облик, а я еще даже на порог не ступила.
Мама заглянула в досье:
- Думаю, ты хотела сказать "подружиться".
Иногда она такая зануда.

На Юнион-сквер творился настоящий хаос: столько людей и магазинов... Прямо мечта шпиона. Меня бы, наверное, не заметили, даже носись я кругами с воплем: "Я шпион! Я медвежатник мирового класса, и ваша безопасность в моих руках, муа-ха-ха-ха!"
Profile Image for Sue (Hollywood News Source).
781 reviews1,594 followers
September 11, 2015
Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

As Known As cemented my love for Robin Benway. This author has a flair for dark and dry humour, she certainly does know how to write a cute, fluffy romance. And thank god, the spy plot isn't as painstaking as I expected it to be. Mini review to come.
Profile Image for Cyndi.
2,338 reviews97 followers
April 22, 2017
This is an adorable book! The dialogue is quick and funny, the characters are well rounded and the story is perfectly plotted.
I love that her parents are cool spies but also regular parents who love their daughter. She is loyal to her best friend when most teenage girls would have dropped her quickly and tried to please the more popular girls. All of the main characters are perfectly developed, faults and all,
Profile Image for btwthesepages.
61 reviews41 followers
August 8, 2014
Many people judge whether they like a book or not based on several factors like the character development, world building and what-not. Don't get me wrong, all these things are important. But when it comes to me the only things that matter are how I feel while reading the book and after reading the book. If it can make me laugh like a maniac or better yet make me cry - and believe me that does not happen often. I don't cry easily and I definitely don't bawl. I might get all choked up and spill a few tears though and that's only happened liked twice or thrice so far so - or make me anxious enough that I'm tempted to pull an all-nighter just to finish it then it's that matters.
This book won me over on the laughing like a maniac note. Hilarious and light-hearted with just enough suspense to keep you going (Come on it's a spy book; suspense is kinda synonymous with "spy"); Also Known As is a truly great read. From Maggie (the protagonist) to Harold(Roux's doorman) there is not a character in the book that I didn't like. Maggie and Roux's friendship is very entertaining to say the least - a combination of witty retorts, hilarious scenes and a slightly emotional friendship talk at the end. Whereas where Jesse and Maggie are concerned all I can say is....actually I don't know what to say - It's all cute, slightly damaged boy meets smart, funny girl. Of course Jesse was just her assignment until....well I think can guess ;)
What was wonderful though was this: I would be laughing at a really funny scene/dialogue when the author would mention something really sad and my smile would slip away making me sad too. Then right on cue there would be another funny dialogue to cheer me up. It was like this almost throughout the book. I haven't read very many books but that hasn't happened to me so far. And it was AWESOME! Of course it lacked a few things too but for me they aren't big enough to mention. Anyway, watching a mostly home-schooled safe-cracking spy try to navigate the crazy world of high school with the help of a former mean, popular girl turned outcast, Roux; while trying to solve her first solo assignment ever -who is incidentally very cute- is something that you should not miss. Recommended to all!!
Profile Image for Missy's Book Obsession.
179 reviews104 followers
August 10, 2017

I loved this book it was light on the romance and action it was a mild book in my opinion. But I loved it because of Maggie and how she was towards the people she loved and it had humor and I enjoyed that part it was kinda different from what I normally read but I like 2 book series a lot.
Profile Image for Tamara.
684 reviews201 followers
September 6, 2016
4,5 star


That was like the cutest and the most fun book ever! I don't think I've smiled or laughed this much while reading. Dont read this book in public, though. I've tried reading it on subway and oh boy, couldnt stop giggling secretly so I got a lot of weird looks

I’m not always into the Spy stories but I loved AKA. Mainly because of the characters. I loved Maggie and Jesse (I think calling him smile-worthy is perfect), but I expecially loved Roux. She was so snarky and funny and wonderful. There is something about her that I just love, and want to hug

Maggie's "voice" was spot-on.

It's always important to have a character's voice shine through in a story, and the author certainly delivers with Maggie. Maggie's way of thinking was HILARIOUS to me. I honestly loved her dialogue (spoken and inner) and I think that the author wrote it so authentically. I thought she was real and really funny and I SO wanted to zap myself into the book and have her friends and family

The only problems I've had this book were how they figured out who was the villian and how they got rid of him at the end. I couldnt and still cant understand how the hell they reach to 'that conclusion'. Maggie was trying to explain but I didnt get it and felt so lost for a whole damn minute. It makes sense but seriously it seemed too far stretched. Also, the plot about the villian just wrapped up too neatly. One minute he was just there, the minute he wasnt.

I didnt like how it was handled 'off-screen'.

Another problem; Maggie's parents are spies. So even though it was their daughter who got the 'assignment' I dont get why they didnt help her at all. They were just judging Maggie for getting emotional, getting friends, not doing the job done proplerly etc. Why they didnt use their skills at all?

The romance;

Jesse is pretty cute and has a great personality but things gets a bit serious too quickly. The first book in a series and already exchancing 'I love you's?! COME ON!!!

The friendship/the family moments;

I loved the chapter Maggie stands up for herself!

I’m not here to make friends. And that’s the problem. How come I don’t get to make any friends? How come I don’t get to go to a normal school or Halloween parties? How come you just decided all this for me?”

“Because you have a gift!” my mom said. “It’s more than a gift. You have this amazing, one-of-a-kind ability to open locks and safes, and you can use that ability to right wrongs in the world!”

“What if I don’t want to?”

That stopped the room. Even the clock on the wall seemed to stop ticking. “What do you mean, you don’t want to?” my dad said. “This is all you’ve talked about since you were four!”

“I’m not four anymore! Have you noticed? I’m almost seventeen, I’m almost an adult. Why don’t I get to make decisions about my life? What’s so wrong with my making a friend? Or worse, dating a boy? I also wanted to be a veterinarian and a cowgirl when I was four, but things change. Maybe I’ve changed, did you ever think of that?”

Maggie can be a drama queen but she isnt whiny, she stands up for herself, she is royal and I absolutely love her!

Another favorite line of mine;
It’s like, I have all this luck and wealth and privilege, but who gives a shit? People expect me to be some spoiled brat, so then I act like some spoiled brat—I mean, I stole that book, what a dumbass—but it’s not me at all. And then when I try to act like an upright citizen, volunteer and all that, they accuse me of using my dad’s connections to get ahead. But if I don’t do anything, then my dad gets pissed that I’m not doing anything. And then my mom decides that she’s the one who needs a break from her life. It’s like I can’t get out.”

I had to take a deep breath because I had never heard another person say how I felt. “It’s, like, how can you become an adult when everyone wants you to stay a child?”

(Not sharing the funny ones because there are just so many and I cant choose what to share!!! (^^)

The spy stuff; Not as much spy stuff as you'd expect given the premise, but there is always the second book!


-ridiculously adorable

-something fun and kind of light

-filled with excellent dialogue and memorable characters.

Did I say this book made me laugh and smile throughout its entirety. I did right?

Profile Image for Nasty Lady MJ.
1,059 reviews16 followers
February 27, 2013
To see full review click here.

I like books about spies. Maybe it's because I watch a profuse amount of spy shows or I just find James Bond to be hot (the British accent does something to me, ya'll). I really don't know what it is, but whenever there's a spy oriented book in YA I just have to grab it. And that's why I requested Also Known As from NetGalley. And thankfully, they answered my request with a yes.

This is a weird book for me to review. If you talked to me after I finished the first third, I'd give it a superior or great rating. The second third great for sure, but not superior. But by the end of the book, it bordered on mediocre/ disappointment. And I have to say that's really annoying. Because when there are portions of a book that are truly brilliant and other parts that sort of suck you just want to distribute all that brilliance equally so at least there's some continuity in quality in the book. So this review, it's going to be a mixed bag. I have a lot of nice things to say, but at the same time I'm still going to bitch.

The brilliant parts of the book: there were lots of them. I really liked Maggie, Roux, Jesse, and Angelo. All of them were well formed characters. Do know how difficult that is to do in YA which is notorious for it's cardboard supporting cast. That's a great thing. Also, Benway includes a LBGT character who actually acts like a character rather than a token character. That in my opinion is always a plus. However, even though a lot of these characters were well formed the parents needed to be worked on. I don't know if was Benway's intention or not, but I thought at times the parents came off a bit cartoonish and sounded like teens themselves. Also, while I loved Angelo I seriously had to wonder why he'd be best friends with a fifteen-year-old (or however old Maggie is), it was just a little weird to be honest.

This book also had great witty dialogue. I love witty dialogue. It heavily reminded me of Gillmore Girls or Bunheads, shows you watch for the dialogue more than anything else. While a quick read you had to pay attention to pick up on all the little jokes that were littered throughout the work. The bad thing about the dialogue was that sometimes it was too much and just bogged down the work. Seriously, at times I thought I was reading Damien Spinelli's dialogue rather than Rory Gilmore's and that's not a good thing.

Honestly, if anything pacing was this book Achilles' heel. I'll discuss this more in the worst feature part of the review, but I felt like way too much attention was given to the whole acclimation to high school/relationship with Jesse. Which is odd because I usually like development in these sorts of things, i just felt the whole spy plot was sort of pushed to the side which made the last third of the book very awkward.

But then again, I think this book wanted to come off as awkward.

Best Feature: Gilmore Girls Dialogue: While the quirkiness could get to me occasionally (especially towards the end). There were some great one liners here that made me smile. The dialogue was really what made the book in my opinion. However, I think at the same time it broke the book. The spy element was fairly weak and I think a lot of this was because there was so much focus on the interaction between the characters which I loved but...maybe this book would've been better as just a contemporary.

Worst Feature: Pacing. The pacing for this novel is way off. The first 3/4 of the book are primarily about Maggie's relationship with Jesse which is nice, but the spy story is swept aside to the very end. Which, in my opinion, makes for a very messy ending. There were also plot points that seemed to just jump the shark, i.e. Maggie revealing her secret to two teeny boppers.

Appropriateness: This is pretty tame. Even the spy stuff is tame. There's some kissing and teenage drinking, and some cursing. But it's not as graphic as say Poison Princess. Okay, so on second thought maybe it has about the average sort of smut you'd expect to see in a YA book. Definite 13 and up though.
Profile Image for Michelle.
494 reviews106 followers
June 20, 2016
3.5 stars

This was a fun and hilariously sweet read. Maggie is adorable when she tries to maneuver through high school. She knows how to unlock pretty much any safe and lock but high school is not something she has ever practiced. I love her friendship with Roux (yes, like kangaROO but don't call her that because she doesn't like that) and her romance with Jesse. Roux is a social outcast and Maggie and her get a long really well. They are opposites in a way. Roux is pretty much the only friend she has had in a long time because Maggie and her family move around so much (spies travel a lot) so she has the chance to be normal, even for a short while. Her relationship with Jesse is a bit more complicated as he is part of her mission to find out information about his dad's story on spies which possibly includes revealing their identities including Maggie's family. She starts off befriending Jesse for the mission but then, of course, falls for him. Jesse is so adorable. A total sweetheart. Maggie and Jesse together are just too cute for words. Even though I was all for the romance I would have liked to see more spy stuff. I get that her mission is to enter into high school and pretend to be an average teenager but some more spy stuff would have been awesome. However, you know who is awesome? Angelo. Angelo is her wise mentor/uncle (not by blood though). He is so cool. He gives her advice and helps her without nagging her. He just nudges her in the right direction and also gives great support while being dressed to the T. The ending was good but not as climatic as I was expecting. Her face-to-face with the villain was too short and then it was over a bit too fast for me. I would have liked a bit more. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed this novel and I definitely plan to read the next one.
Profile Image for shannon✨.
971 reviews42 followers
August 9, 2016
Ik vond het een erg leuk en ook wel spannend boek. In het begin had ik een beetje moeite met het lezen van dit boek, alles was zo ongeloofwaardig, maar ik ben blij dat ik heb doorgezet. Roux en Jesse zijn echt de beste vrienden die je je kunt wensen, dat ze na alles toch nog wilden helpen is ook super lief van hen geweest. Het einde van dit boek was erg spannend en het boek had een mooi einde. Ook waren er bepaalde dingen gezegd die mij hardop lieten lachen. Daarnaast was het een boek dat lekker snel weg las, wat ook wel fijn is.
Profile Image for Laurence R..
617 reviews87 followers
December 26, 2015
I would be a horrible spy, but reading about one is actually very funny!
Profile Image for Lottie Eve.
253 reviews102 followers
January 27, 2013
Also Known As was an incredibly fun novel. I didn’t expect all the laughs I got from it. I throughly enjoy the novel and I do not regret reading it. Also Known As exceeded my expectations but only as a novel. As a SPY novel, however, Also Known As leaves much to be desired.

Awhile this novel is about a teenage spy there is not much espionage going on throughout the story. Maggie does crack a few safes and locks here and there but there are things that I expect to be in a spy novel that were not included. No security cameras that need to be evaded, secret messages that need to be solved, no spy gadgets, or disguises that need to be donned. And nothing particularly exciting happens until near the end.

If you wondering if you should run away from this book because of what I just said above then I will tell you this: don’t. Also Known As is still a very absorbing story about a girl who is learning about what she wants in life. The friendship she makes with a girl who had went from being the popular mean girl to the social outcast named Roux and the romance she finds with Jesse, a sweet boy who is just going through a rough patch in life.

The characters in this story are very loveable and impressing, especially the girls. The narrator of this story, Maggie’s voice is witty and sarcastic and I loved her for that. Her character is the reason this novel never has a dull moment. Her voice is able to make me laugh and this helped me enjoy the story more. I should also mention that I love the fact that she is a SAFECRACKER! In the rare moments when she has to use her skills she is pretty amazing. Maggie is smart and can hold her own in tough situations. Roux is a character that is kind of impossible to not love. How could you not love a girl who sometimes says things like this:

“Hey, I am making eye contact with a gargoyle!” Roux said, looking out of one of the grimy windows. “I shall name him George.” (This is a quote pulled from the ARC)

She had a colorful personality and she provided a lot of laughs. Roux is not only a source of comedy for the novel but she also had her own fair share of character development. And like Maggie she is also very kick butt whenever she needs to be. Jesse was a great friend (and boyfriend) for Maggie. Despite, being a guy who got caught trying to steal a paperback of The Catcher In The Rye was a genuinely nice kid. I thought he was an interesting character and I did feel for him. I also liked how the characters in this story are a bit clueless emotionally. They don’t know exactly what they want. I thought that these characters grew throughout the novel and I love them all.

Also Known As is a very readable story that features strong, solid writing. Quick, cute, and quite funny, I highly recommend this book.

I received this ARC through Netgalley. Thank you!

* book #3 in the 2013 Contemporary Challenge
Profile Image for Writing Rabbit Blog.
27 reviews58 followers
March 27, 2013
Hmmm.... Okay, here we go. This book was absolutely mediocre. Middle-of-the-road. For every thing that I liked about it there's something I strongly didn't. Where should I start?

Robin Benway did a really fantastic job of creating characters that are realistic. The way that they speak to one another and their responses to certain social situations rang true for me. Roux, Jesse, and Maggie behave exactly the way actual teenagers do, which is nice because sometimes I read a novel and all I can think is "Yeah right, because all 17 year olds are this self-aware". Robin Benway's characters screw up, they are shy and nervous, sometimes bold and (hilariously) drunk, and lonely. They're perfect.

On the other hand, being able to write realistic teenagers does not mean that you can thrust them into any old situation and make it seem genuine. I don't know if it's lack of relevant details or being spoiled by very well written caper-type novels (Ally Carters Heist Society, duh) but I just couldn't buy Maggie and her family as spies. Which wouldn't be such a big deal except that it's (obviously) incredibly central to the plot.

This was a quick read and while I didn't hate it, it didn't exactly leave a mark on me, either. There were a few times where I laughed out loud, and the relationship between Jesse and Maggie is really funny, awkward and lovely (except for the last 1/3 of the book where there are far-too-early in the relationship declarations of love) but overall this book fell flat for me.

I would say that it's worth a read, for sure, but probably pick up a copy at the library before you buy to make sure it's something you'll actually want to bother reading more than once. I know I don't.

**Side note: Robin Benways' Audrey, Wait! was really wonderful, and you should NOT skip that one. : ) **
Profile Image for Lindsay.
2,198 reviews503 followers
January 19, 2016
One of my favorite things in the world is finding a book you didn't even know you were in the mood for. That's exactly what happened with this book.

This is another gem I found at the library and decided to take home with me. I picked it up on a lark last night, to read the first page or so, and before I knew it, I was ½ way into the book and I didn’t want to put it down.

I was completely charmed by Maggie, her parents, her honorary uncle, her bff Roux and her crush/boyfriend Jesse. They all had awesome personalities and they kept me laughing with their sense of humor.

If someone had said to me that they’d read a book, about a teenage spy, and that it was awesome, I would have looked at them like they were crazy. I mean, how could that be good!? I would think it was a disaster waiting to happen! But this was beyond amazing. Robin Benway has some amazing talent to not only craft a great and compelling story, but to make such vivid characters.

I must say that I loved the way that Maggie figured out her case. And I loved that she turned to Roux and Jesse for help, even though it was hard. She did what she had to do, and trusted the people closest to her to accomplish her objective. Yes, she was also a teenager that didn’t turn to her parents when she should have, but that’s what made her seem so real. And I loved the way she loved picking locks and safes. I think everyone has that one thing that just makes total sense to them, no matter what it is, and they go into the zone with it and for Maggie, it was locks. The scenes when she talked about picking locks were just awesome (also something I never thought I’d say).

This book was a total winner. I can’t wait to read the next one in the series!
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