I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You (by Ally Carter)

30 04 2013

gallagher1For a book about a bunch of kick-ass girl spies, this book is terribly uneventful. The premise and the blurb, not to mention the teen testimonials at the beginning of the book set this up as a killer (literally) of an adventure book. One teen even goes so far as to say “JK Rowling meets Jacqueline Wilson”, but it’s a really boring JK Rowling and a not so humorous Jacqueline Wilson, that we’re getting. This book really misses something: it misses the spunk and the bangs that I expect when I’m promised a book about an all-girl spy school!

Cammie – the Chameleon (her talent is to blend in! Imagine that!) – is the child of two former spies. Her dad died on a mission and Cammie’s mother retired from the CIA to become headmistress of the Gallagher Academy,  a school for spies. Incidentally, no one on the town where this academy is located, knows that it’s a spy school, instead everyone in town assumes it’s a boarding school for rich girls. On one of the very few occasions when the Gallagher girls are allowed to go into town (something for their CoveOps class), Cammie meets Josh. For the first time ever, Cammie is in a situation that’s more dangerous than any mission she’s likely to embark on in the future: she falls in love.

Not only is the plot completely underdeveloped, what probably irked me the most what the lack of character use in this little novel. Case in point, Macey McHenry. In the beginning we’re introduced to a new girl at the school, snooty and snobby Macey who has all the potential to shake things up, but…nothing happens… Or, Cammie falls in love with a boy, Josh. But rather than getting to know Josh, the reader basically has to believe that this is real love (where is the relationship development??). Lots of telling, very little showing. Another example is Dillon, Josh’s best friend. For some reason he (and the rest of the town?) hates Gallagher Girls, but rather than giving some back story or developing some sort of subplot, the reader is just presented with a cardboard character who hates GG for the sake of hating GG. A lot of what is going on in the book, and a lot of what we are supposed to believe about the characters is just that: we are supposed to think they are this or that. We are supposed to take everything for granted. Don’t think, just move on.

Meanwhile, there’s no big adventure, there’s no big mission, there’s not even a teeny tiny explosion. It’s a very lackluster affair for a spy novel! I think this was supposed to be Alias for teenage girls (btw, no way is Cammie 16! She totally behaves like a 12-year-old!), but we didn’t even get wigs!! Color me disappointed!

 

PS. This book also has one of the worst titles ever!

PPS. Photo of cover taken at the renovated Bruggenhuis.

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One response

30 04 2013
G.

hmmm, Duvel

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