I know I’m late to the party here, but I read Ally Carter’s Heist Society series before the Gallagher Girls. So when I went to her St. Louis event in February 2013 for the release of PERFECT SCOUNDRELS, I was a bit shocked by the huge turnout of teenage girls armed with hundreds of questions about the Gallagher Girls. I’d only read the first one at the time, so many of the questions went over my head. Fast forward to the Scholastic Warehouse Sale in December, where I picked up books three through five for a steal. I still had quite a backlog, but I checked out the e-book of the second book for our Disney trip (you thought I was finished talking about what I read at Disney World, right?). While I enjoyed the first two books, it was really book three, DON’T JUDGE A GIRL BY HER COVER, that hooked me so I had to read the rest of the books immediately. So, without further ado, here’s my review with the cover and description for the first book.
The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women is a fairly typical all-girls school—that is, if every school teaches advanced martial arts in PE, chemistry always consists of the latest in chemical warfare, and everyone breaks CIA codes for extra credit in computer class. So in truth, while the Gallagher Academy might say it’s a school for geniuses what they really mean is spies. But what happens when a Gallagher Girl falls for a boy who doesn’t have a code name?
Cammie Morgan may be fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways (three of which involve a piece of uncooked spaghetti), but the Gallagher Academy hasn’t prepared her for what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she’s an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, and track him through a mall without him ever being the wiser, but can she have a regular relationship with a regular boy who can never know the truth about her? Cammie may be an elite spy in training, but in her sophomore year, she’s doing something riskier than ever—she’s falling in love.
Here are the five things I loved most about this series:
1. The premise – A spy school for teenage girls? Yes, please!
2. The titles – How can you resist such clever titles?
- 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
- ONLY THE GOOD SPY YOUNG
- OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF TIME
- UNITED WE SPY
I actually have a funny story about the last one. Ms. Carter had us vote on the title options for the final book in the series, and we chose UNITED WE SPY. I don’t think our vote really mattered in the scheme of things, but it was still fun!
3. Cammie’s growth – These books got better and better as they went along. Cammie grows up so much, which makes sense with the books spanning two years of her life. She starts out pretty naive, with her biggest concern being how to interact with a boy, but by the end she’s dealing with world-changing stakes. Thinking back to the first book, I was amazed at how much had happened, and yet I believed in the girl Cammie became.
4. The plot details – I have to say that as the series progressed, I felt like the plot of the first book became irrelevant, and then in book five, BAM!, what happened in the first book became relevant again. I was very impressed with how Ms. Carter wove in the early story with what seemed like a very different direction later on.
5. The pacing – As I mentioned above, I enjoyed the first two books, but it was book three that got me hooked to the point where I couldn’t put the books down. In fact, one Thursday I finished the third book and then stayed up until after midnight to read the whole fourth book. I’d say that one was my favorite in the whole series.
There’s also a cross-over novella with characters from the Gallagher Girls and Heist Society series that made me want to see Kat attend the Gallagher Academy. Wouldn’t that be fun? Anyway, Ally Carter has officially become one of those authors for which I will have to buy every book.
Have you read this series? What do you love about it?