Review: Also Known As by Robin Benway

Series: Also Known As #1
Publication Date: February 26, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury Juvenile US
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 320 (ARC)
Source: Trade
Being a 16-year-old safecracker and active-duty daughter of international spies has its moments, good and bad. Pros: Seeing the world one crime-solving adventure at a time. Having parents with super cool jobs. Cons: Never staying in one place long enough to have friends or a boyfriend. But for Maggie Silver, the biggest perk of all has been avoiding high school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations.

Then Maggie and her parents are sent to New York for her first solo assignment, and all of that changes. She'll need to attend a private school, avoid the temptation to hack the school's security system, and befriend one aggravatingly cute Jesse Oliver to gain the essential information she needs to crack the case . . . all while trying not to blow her cover.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

I hate that it took me so long to read this book because I loved every minute of it. Benway has a style of writing that leaves you laughing until the very end while you beg for more.

Maggie is a teenage spy that comes from an illustrious spy family. However, her skill focuses on cracking safes. That's all she can do really. This makes her an asset to her parents, but it makes it hard for her to stand on her own. But finally she gets a job of her own which involves her going back to high school. Her mission? Befriend the cute and misunderstood Jesse Oliver to prevent his father from running an article about spies that could ruin the corporation Maggie's family works for while putting their lives in jeopardy. All while getting her homework in on time. No big deal, right?

The characterization in this novel is easily what makes it. Maggie is very witty and her voice lends itself to constant hilarity. Her banter with Jesse is a personal favorite of mine. And Jesse, to put it simply, is the ultimate book boyfriend. He's misunderstood, but he has a heart of gold and is super genuine. Their romance is slow to blossom and entirely adorable. It's cheesy in the best possible way and leaves a smile on your face. I couldn't have asked for a better connection.

But, I think the real show-stealer is Roux. Roux is Maggie's best friend who has a lot to say despite her nearly non-existent social standing. If Maggie and Jesse are a bundle of laughs, she's a tycoon of awesomeness. She deserves her own spin-off. There's so much I could say about her, but I'm choosing not to because you need to discover the hilarity that is Roux for yourself. Another secondary character that was sheer perfection is Angelo. The secondary characters outshine the main characters in this one, which is both good and bad.

I can't think of any other word to describe this plot besides "fun." When Maggie isn't sleuthing and doing cool spy things with her parents she is balancing having her first friend, first kisses, dating, and your typical high school tribulations. It's all very real, which makes this book the perfect light, quick, and fun read. In fact, it's so great I barely have anything to say. I recommend it to everyone who is willing to give it a chance. It's not the first spy novel out there, but it certainly stands alone.

Just a small content warning...there is underage drinking in this book. There is a party, there is alcohol, there are a few drunk teenagers, but there is nothing graphic and the romance in the novel is still very clean. Heck, I'd still describe the entire novel aside from this one party scene as clean.

4 stars



  1. I just picked this one up too! I just read the first chapter when I was out and about the other day and I can already tell that I'm going to agree with your review! This one is most likely gonna be a favorite for me, but I guess we'll have to see!

  2. I'm so glad you liked it so much! I think my problem was that I had high expectations and set my sights more on the lack-of-spying aspect. But it was really cute and fun so that was a definite plus. And ROUX! I loved that character. I need to reread this asap now.