This is my second exposure to Ally Carter, and I’m definitely going to come back for more! I’m especially enamored because I was so pleasantly surprised by the high quality of Carter’s writing. Plus, her stories are so much fun. Carter’s characters are genuine without being cheesy or cliche. Her stories are unique and exciting without being over-the-top.
I love a quick, fun, romantic, plot-twisty mystery, and Carter delivers. I really love the idea of the Gallagher Academy, and if I was in junior high, I’d dream of going there. Who doesn’t want to be a genius martial-arts expert capable of taking down any criminal single-handedly? Talk about empowering girls!
Cami is a delightful main character who makes a lot of mistakes and is completely clueless with boys, so she’s not perfect. That makes her all the more accessible in spite of the fact that she knows exactly how to use a garrotte. She gets into spats with her friends and struggles with her mom, but through it all the reader knows they’re loyal and devoted to one another.
In this introductory novel, we learn all about the Gallagher Academy and get back stories on the main characters. This slows the story down ever so slightly, which is why I’m not giving this book five stars. It’s fun to get to know the characters, but I’m excited to dive right in to their exploits next time. It’s a good thing Ally Carter is such a prolific author, because I’ll take all I can get!
Profanity/Language: 3 mild obscenities. (A derogatory name is alluded to with the first letter.)
Violence/Gore: A student accidentally sets herself on fire with no injuries; a minor is thought to have been kidnapped and beaten; characters discuss various ways they are capable of injuring others.
Sex/Nudity: A minor and an adult engage in mildly flirtatious conversation; “second base” is mentioned with no details; two characters kiss briefly and hold hands several times.
Mature Subject Matter:
Death of a family member; kidnapping.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
A minor smokes a cigarette.