Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter + Contest!

First published in 2007.

After staking out, obtaining, and then being forced to give up her first boyfriend, Josh, all Cammie Morgan wants is a peaceful semester. But that's easier said than done when you're a CIA legacy and go to the premier school in the world . . . for spies.

Cammie may have a genius IQ, but there was still a lot of things she doesn't know
. Like, will her ex-boyfriend even remember she exists? And how much trouble is she really in after what happened last semester? And most of all, why is her mother acting so strangely?

Despite Cammie's best intentions to be a normal student, danger seems to follow her. She and her friends learn that their school is going to play host to some mysterious guests - code name: Blackthorne. Then she's blamed for a security breach that leaves the school's top secret status at risk.

Soon Cammie and her friends are crawling through walls and surveilling the school to learn the truth about Blackthorne and clear Cammie's name. Ev
en though they have confidence in their spy skills, this time the targets are tougher (and hotter), and the stakes for Cammie's heart - and her beloved school - are higher than ever. (book flap blurb)

I really like the first book just for how grounded in reality all of the characters were. Well, as realistic as genius, teenage, female spies could be. This book is no different. We get to see Cammie softening up a little bit. The outside world seeps in and she's not as invulnerable to normal teenage girl things after all. But despite all of the outside forces working against her, she tries her hardest to maintain her eye on the prize, putting being a spy student first and thinking about the repercussions of her actions in association with that. All of her friends follow suit and I like how they haven't changed character from the last book. Except Macey but in a good way. To stick it to her father, she aims for straight A's because he feels that her report card of A's and B's couldn't have been had by her alone. That she must have cheated. When she didn't. I liked Macey even more in this book and she's fitting in great with the rest of the girls.

I don't want to give away what Blackthorne is but I was less than thrilled with their appearance. I think the story could have been just as good working around having them actually come to the school but I do understand the reason Cammie's mother gave at the end for why they brought them there.

The climax of the book I could see coming as soon as it started. Not to mention the situation made me question the thought process of these supposed spies. They're supposed to be functioning three steps ahead of everyone but when the school is breached and top secret information is stolen, it seemed kind of out there that the only people to retrieve it were a bunch of sophomore girls. I didn't think spies were supposed to act first, think later so this portion of it made it hard for me to suspend my disbelief and just go with it. The pieces didn't match up and, personally, I felt the whole class should have figured that out well before the big reveal was made.

Another boy enters Cammie's life and really, the entire time I was hoping they wouldn't get together because he really was a prick. He was very condescending to her, always talking down to her, being nasty to her. I didn't like the way he treated her and, good for her, she stuck to her guns and was like, WTF? There was some back and forth there because she was just as antagonistic back and it's hard to get over that whole school yard "I'm going to pull your pigtails but not because I hate you" mantra and he did have some issues that made them more similar than Cammie originally thought. I really liked how Carter wrote out that relationship and kept Cammie true to Cammie instead of forfeiting her girl power for a hot guy. Big thumbs up there.

Overall I didn't think it was as good as the first one and I felt the plot was reaching a little further as well but I love the characters and I love how they stay true to themselves. I think this is something that's lacking in YA as of late and it's refreshing to see the likes of Cammie stand up to what she believes in while at the same time still being human. Underneath all that spy facade is a teenage girl. She still has weaknesses and we still see them but she's strong enough to know just who she is and she doesn't lose herself. I love it. Definitely a recommended read for anyone looking for a stronger female main character that can stand her ground but still be human and relatable at the same time.

Contest Time!!!

I have a copy of I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You and Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy for one lucky biter! Just fill out the form below for your change to win. Good luck!


Bianca said...

Thank you for the giveaway! I remember reading the first book LONG ago. I can only remember a little about it, but I do remember enjoying it!

Great review!

misskallie2000 said...

Great review. Haven't read either book but would love to read them.
Thanks for the giveaway.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

CallMeKayla said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

The Book Vixen said...

Thanks for the opportunity!

Eleni @ La Femme Readers said...

Thank you for this awesome giveaway!

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