Hi everyone! So I know it’s not Monday but my next few Monday’s are booked (HAHAHAHA GET IT??) so I wanted to get my book review of Only the Good Spy Young up for you! I have been reading the Gallagher Girls Series by Ally Carter. I read them when I was younger and since the amazing Amelia reminded me about this series I’ve been reviewing them. In case you missed them, links to each are below:
- I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You
- Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy
- Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover
I am nearly done with the series, after this I have two more books to read. According to my librarian anyway. I am kinda sad about that. I knew it was coming as Cammie’s in her spring semester of her junior year in this book, but still. The series is a ton of fun to read!
Btw, President Obama went in for jury duty today in Chicago and both my sister and I knew someone there. My sister’s friend/roommate’s sister was there and a boy I went to school with from grade school through undergrad was there as well. I’m so jealous of them!
Okay, back to the review! As always I’ll start with a spoiler-free version (as much as I can, this is the fourth book of the series after all) and there will be a full review after the picture of the book I’ll put with a warning. I’ll put the photo up again after that section.
As I mentioned, this is Cammie’s spring semester of her junior year. While on the holiday break with Bex in London, Cammie realizes she cannot trust anyone around her and must find answers to the questions she has herself.
In London, Cammie is pulled away from Bex and Bex’s parents to learn that someone she really trusted is a double-agent. Together with Bex, Liz, and Macey, Cammie starts to uncover the secrets around her.
I thought Carter did a much better job of balancing the characters this time. While Cammie was still the star of the show, everyone immediately around her got similar page time and minor characters or older characters did make a guest appearance at least. It didn’t feel like anyone was left out for sake of saving page space this time, so I really liked that.
Overall Cammie still seemed to make questionable decisions but this time her gut feeling seemed more trustworthy so I was more inclined to believe that she would actually make it in the spy world. While her adventures are still (mostly) adult sanctioned Carter is portraying her as a more independent and competent character rather than one that relies solely on luck and the fact that her school is the one running the missions she’s undertaking.
That’s really all I can say without spoiling major points of the story. So if you haven’t read this book and don’t want to be spoiled skip down to the second photo of the book that you see.
I do have to say that this cover is my favorite so far. Must be all the pink.
Now I know I keep saying this but I think I did read this one. I guess I got farther in the series than I remembered! I must have lumped a few books together in my mind since I really thought I’d only read up to book 3 but I think I may have read the next one too. I’ll have to wait until I read it to see if I remember any of the story.
Cammie’s character, as I was saying, really does seem to have a better handle on things although she still has some ways to go. She’s not really great at listening as Mr. Solomon has to rapidly give her some cryptic message at the beginning of following pigeons as she’s wasted all the time they would have had to discuss his journal if she had just stopped to listen. Instead she asks “what’s going on” in so many different ways it’s infuriating. She continues to do this throughout the story which displays a great sense of curiosity but not a great aptitude in learning. Clearly, if she wants to get answers she needs to go out and get them herself, which she does do but she still doesn’t seem to really let that lesson sink in.
Liz displays a great deal of aptitude for field work despite that she is much more interested in the lab. She not only provides the spiked apple for Agent Townsend, but she also manages to continue to smuggle everyone out. If you were to ask me, Liz is the real talent here as she’s underestimated by everyone. She does need a great deal of training, as she’s not the best under pressure but she could probably be a great spy in the field. Liz is just as outspoken in this book and in the perfect places. Take the scene when Bex and Cammie were aggressively pushing their belief that their teacher was innocent and getting nowhere. By contrast, Liz was able to get the girls to stop and consider her point of view when she described Zach’s actions in D.C. which they did not witness. Sure, her friends were more willing to listen to her than Bex’s parents were to Cammie and Bex, but it is still important that Liz is able to command the conversation and turn it around.
Bex and Cammie are very similar in character to me. While Bex is more extreme than Cammie they are both very action first oriented. If their mission calls for them to leave the school they’re the first to sign up and take charge. They also push their beliefs strongly onto others, as displayed when they challenge Bex’s parents regarding Mr. Solomon. They are both very much the typical spy you get in the movies and such so it makes sense that they get a lot of attention.
Macey’s role in this book was more subdued than the last book which of course made me sad. She is my favorite after all. Despite the fact that Macey is still two years or so behind the others, she holds her own against them and strengthens the team. That is something that Carter does very well with her characters. Some may have different talents and education but they are all valuable members of the group and there is no weak link. I still believe that out of the four girls, Macey is the only one with a reliable amount of common sense. Being the least sheltered of the four it makes sense and I can only hope it rubs off on her friends.
The story itself started strongly. I loved that Carter took Mr. Solomon and made him a pivotal character to the series rather than letting him fall to the wayside. While he wasn’t in this book too much his presence was felt, particularly when Townsend revealed himself to be a terrible instructor.
I felt that the assassin’s aspect of Zach’s school was slightly distracting at such a late point of the story as I just wanted to learn more about his side of the story, although it does somehow explain the differences in the education level of the boys and girls. On page 221 Cammie says it best, “Blackthorne tried to look like a place for thugs, and the Gallagher Academy appeared to be a palace for princesses… their school looked like a prison made to keep people in, and m school appeared to be a mansion built to keep people out.” It does seem that the colder nature Zach’s school adopted would push the boys to learn their skills faster than Cammie’s although the Gallagher way would really help the girls refine those skills. I do hope we get more exposure to the extreme difference of the schools later. Zach can’t seem to stay away so I’m guessing we will as the story continues.
Carter really seemed to sacrifice her pacing for character balance at the end of the book. Blackthorne and the caves were rushed at the end, particularly once Zach’s mother was revealed as a Gallagher Girl turned evil. On the note of Zach’s mother, the one thing that Cammie didn’t seem to quite grasp at the end of the book was that the Circle would be lying about her father. While Zach’s mother was promising to take her to her father I was fairly certain she was leaving out the “in death” part on purpose, but Cammie didn’t seem to hear it. So while the pacing was rushed during those action parts, it all seemed to be a good choice at the end as Townsend lets Mr. Solomon go, Zach joins the school, and Cammie makes her decision to run away to try to spare her loved ones. I have a feeling that it’s not the best decision but seeing as how it’s not my story to write, I will have to wait to read the next book to find out.
And that’s my review on Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter! I already have the next book that I was holding off on reading so I wouldn’t accidentally mix up the stories. However I do think that I will jump into the next book by the end of the week as I am really excited to see how the story unfolds from here.
So, has anyone started reading this series or read this book before? If so, let me know what you think!
Thanks for reading!
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