Hi everyone! I’m back with another book review, Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter.
I’ve already reviewed the previous two books in the series, I’d Tell You I Love You but Then I’d Have to Kill You and Cross my Heart and Hope to Spy.
I have to say, I’ve really been enjoying re-reading this series. I am pretty sure this is the book where I left off, but I need to read the next one to be sure. It’s either this one or the next.
As usual, I’ll start with a spoiler free review and then I’ll add a warning followed by the book cover before I start the spoiler section. Then I’ll add the book cover again after the spoilers are done.
With this book, Cammie is a first semester junior at Gallagher Academy so I believe we’re nearing the end of her story, unless there’s a spy university. Since this is YA series, it doesn’t seem likely but I’ll figure that part out when we get to it. This book was great!
Cammie and her friends navigate even more danger than ever this semester. While their previous adventures have been a result of their own actions or their professor’s, this time the enemy is unknown to them.
Macey and Cammie avoid a kidnapping attempt only because of their spy skills right at the start. It was so nice to see them use their skills in real situations, well in their world. Cammie displayed a real talent for espionage this time around, as did Macey. They both kept their cool and found a way out of the situation.
Cammie seemed much more mature in this novel, as did Macey as well. As you can tell from my previous reviews, Macey is the character I wanted more of and this book greatly focused on her. I was very happy to get to spend more time within the story with Macey and see her balance her “true” self at school and her campaign persona with her biological family in front of the voters and cameras.
Somehow I feel that the girls spent even less time in class so I guess I’m the only nerd that wanted them to go to more school in the book. However the adventures they were on were definitely interesting. I love politics so this book’s theme was so interesting to me. Of course, it wasn’t about politics themselves, but rather the show of it during campaign season.
That’s all I can really say without adding spoilers. I do think this is the best book so far, and I’m looking forward to the next book!
The story starts out with Cammie in Boston on her way to join her friend and roommate, Macey on the campaign trail. Macey’s father, a Senator McHenry, is running as Vice President and Cammie spends the day watching Macey and her family practice “spontaneous hugging”.
Cammie also notes on her way to Macey and while walking around with her before the event how she and Macey are both dangerous because they’re training to be spies, but the Secret Service and everyone around them underestimate them. I felt this was a little grandiose considering how badly they’ve seemed to muddle through their previous semester-end missions that were laid out by their teachers. However, I feel that’s typical teenage behavior. All teens seem to think they’ve got the world figured out, I know I was one of them so Carter does seem to be getting that aspect of teenage life right.
With the big kidnapping attempt, Carter gets to show off her action writing skills a lot earlier than in previous books. She also greatly expands the world around Cammie by bringing more and more of the story outside of the Gallagher Academy halls. As juniors they have definitely become more adventurous and I didn’t think it should have been a big surprise to Cammie’s mom and their other teachers. After all, they spent the entire sophomore year encouraging Cammie and her friends to break rules and showing them there were no real consequences when they did so. After all, when Josh crashed their final he got his memory wiped, Cammie got a talking to, and she just had to go to a debrief.
Now, with the introduction of the Circle of Cavan, it seems that the consequences will grow. In addition to increased security around the school was the addition of Aunt Abby. Cammie’s maternal aunt is assigned to be Macey’s personal guard at the school, which makes it clear to everyone that not even Gallagher Academy can be considered truly safe. Later on, an entire unit of Gallagher graduates are assigned to protect Macey.
Less obvious to those around them, Cammie and Macey both seemed to display some signs of PTSD from the kidnapping attempt, but yet it wasn’t really addressed. I feel that this shows the “age” of the story as nowadays both girls would have been rushed to the school therapist immediately but in the novels there doesn’t seem to be a therapist at all.
Also, no one seems to notice or even consider that Cammie and Macey aren’t fully healed. Cammie has flashbacks in class and in her day-to-day life while Macey lives with bruises, a cast, and becomes much more withdrawn. Despite being surrounded by spies that are meant to notice things, Liz and Bex don’t notice anything strange with their friends, particularly when Macey is involved.
With everything going on in her life, Macey seems to be struggling. She’s not as dedicated to her studies as she in in the previous books. Since she’s being pulled out of class constantly to be on the campaign trail, she may even be falling behind again. She’s already about two years behind her roommates and she isn’t mentioned to be studying or reviewing. Towards the end of the novel she confesses that she is eager for the campaign to be over so she can try to get back to her life.
However there might not be as many given it’s a YA novel with limited space and I doubt pages will be wasted detailing how the cost of a Europe -wide search for Macey will be covered. Plus they really are encouraged to break rules. Cammie throws Aunt Abby’s words back at her regarding the rules and breaking them when trying to justify the actions of herself and her friends.
Unfortunately I don’t think Carter can really balance more than three characters. With the rise of Macey’s story, and the addition of Aunt Abby, we lost a lot of the charm of Liz and Bex as well as most teachers. CoveOps still gets the most attention class-wise so we still get a lot of Mr. Solomon. At one point Cammie even refers to him as her favorite teacher although that seemed out of character for me. She doesn’t seem to think more highly of him than any of her other teachers normally. Aunt Abby seems to replace the time Rachel, Cammie’s mom, and the other teachers normally got. Macey’s storyline took over the void left by Josh’s and Zach’s in the previous books. It feels very much a “plug and play” sort of formula where the same story structure is followed, but new elements just are brought in and replace the old. Liz and Bex are both seemingly replaced just with Macey for Cammie with Preston and Zach sharing the remaining attention she has. I do wish the books were longer to allow for more interactions between all the characters that we’ve come to know as well as any new characters.
So that’s my review for Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover! If you’ve read this book let me know what you thought in the comments! I think there’s only a few more books in this series so after I’m done with this I want to get back to the Mortal Instruments series for reviews but I’d consider reviewing more YA series so if there’s one that you think I might enjoy and you’d like to read reviews on, let me know! I read quite a bit (or I do when I have time) and add all the books I read on my Goodreads if you want to take a look!
Thanks for reading!
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