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Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter

Only the Good Spy Young

by Ally Carter

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So I'm a junkie. I loved the first book, hated the second, and was pretty ambivalent about the third. But this one was okay. Yeah, this book still had serious plot issues where illogical jumps try to get explained away though the limited omniscient viewpoint of the teenaged main character. And, she continues to do stupid things due to her "love or whatever you want to call it" for Zach, even though nothing EVER occurs in the books to make him loveable or in any way worthy of her affection. Yep, this continues to be my biggest bone to pick with these books. In the first book, she had a flirtation with a townie boy that felt realistic, and it made sense for her to act the way she did given the moments they shared. In later books, this boy gets replaced with Zach, the boy spy-in-training equivalent of Cammy, but I never buy their "romance". To mix my media metaphors, it's Felicity picking Ben illogical.

I know this sounds odd, but I expect better from YA books. Kids won't tolerate fake crap. Wait, I can't even finish that sentence, because some teens think Bella and Edward are sooooo perfect together. Sigh, I'm surrounded.

Anyway, even with its huge flaws, these books have managed to find a plot, and I find myself wanting to see this through to the end. A group of double agent spies using their information to benefit themselves? Hell, it works for Halliburton, and it works to finally give this series a story arch. ( )
  drhapgood | Jul 27, 2014 |
I like that the stakes have gotten higher and Ms. Carter has amped up the danger and mystery with each addition to this series. I can't wait to dig into the next book and I'm so thankful that someone returned the last three books to the library at the same time to allow me to do so. ( )
  Cailiosa | Mar 4, 2014 |
The Great Gallagher Girls Reread

Life is getting a whole lot more dangerous for Cammie Morgan.

An ancient terrorist organisation who recruits young spies as double agents is after her. She doesn't know why and neither does anyone else - or if they do, they're not saying. But they need her alive. Cammie doesn't know who to trust or where to go from here. She knows its up to her to find out the truth, but she's not entirely alone. Her roommates are ready to help her spy, hack and steal their way closer to the truth. And then there's Zach, who is hiding a whole lot of secrets himself. It seems everybody is.

Another great installment in the Gallagher Girls series. A favourite teacher has been exposed as a double-agent, a teacher with very powerful secrets regarding Cammie's father. This is the storyline that I'm dying to find out more about. I want to know how he went missing and why and where is he actually? (I'm not buying the line that he's dead). And Cammie's connection - what do the mysterious Circle of Cavan want from her? I'm still not sure what they actually do. The suspense is killing me (how did I ever put this series down?) so I'm thinking myself lucky I have the other two books beside me. I'm really keen to find out where the story's going to go.

And now after this point it is no longer a 'Gallagher Girls Reread' but simply a 'Gallagher Girl Read'. I've reached the point where I last stopped! ( )
  crashmyparty | Feb 26, 2014 |
I think this book was great. Cammie enrolled at the Gallagher Academy a under cover school for spies. The town people think it's a school for rich "snotty" kids. It isn't it's for kids that want to fight the evil in the world. But the parents don't know that it's a school for Exceptional Young Girls. There is a school for boys also.

The kids find their talent in spying. Like Cammie is really good at blending. Her best friend Liz is really smart and likes to study. Bex is really quick to think. Macey is new and is already able to blend,sneak and fight like the other girls. She needs self defense because her dd is a senator. But her parents don't know it's a spy school.

I would recommend this book to anyone into action and fighting. There is also a little bit of love between her and Zach. Zach goes to Blackthorne a school for boy spies. I would also recommend this book to people into spies and love. ( )
  br14kaiho | Oct 18, 2013 |
Despite having enjoyed the third book of the series, there were a lot of things that bothered me about Only the Good Spy Young, the fourth instalment of the Gallagher Girls. In part, this was because of my impatience with incorrect science, and in part because of my frustration with the way Cammie talks about Liz. I liked the action aspect of the novel, and although most of the surprises failed to actually surprise me, the ones that did were huge!

Following the trend set in book three, the action begins very early on in the novel - I love getting straight to the meat! The first two books dwelled too much on rehashing the past and explaining the rather simple premise of The Gallagher Academy, in my opinion. So the action starts, and straight away we (and Cammie) are doubting "facts" that we've believed since the first book. Cammie's a little slow on the uptake (as usual) and although I was able to breathe through it and justify her reactions as shock, I was incredibly frustrated at how slowly her neurons work (as usual).

But I was enjoying the book quite a bit, and tentatively having positive feelings about it when, at page 43, it began to go downhill. The thing that caught my eye is that Cammie describes the uber-special limousine that she's being driven around in as having tyres made entirely of rubber (rather than being inflated with air). The justification was that they'd never get a flat. I was immediately annoyed. Basically, this is a silly idea, and it fills me with a deep fear that super-smart spies who are entrusted with the safety of us non-spies don't know the basic principles of physics and chemistry (even though Cammie is always harping on about the advanced stuff they do).

Added to this are small inconsistencies that I found irritating, particularly that Bex calls her mother Mom, not Mum, and that, when considering the operation reports that a certain character writes in a diary, their voice is very similar to Cammie's. It's highly unlikely that another character would fill out covert operations reports in the same syntax and style that Cammie uses, often using similar patterns of speech. And my favourite line from the book? "It can't be illegal, Cam. It's research." So say all the stalkers of the world. So say all the stalkers.

The way that Cammie talks about the only person in the gang who isn't training to be a field operative, Liz, irritated me. She (Cammie) is always remarking on Liz's clumsiness, her inability to function in real life, and her lack of observational skills, and at one point insinuates that missions would probably be more successful without Liz. At one point, it's Liz's oversight that lands the gang in hot water, and I just don't understand how it happened. Cammie is always telling readers how exceptional Gallagher Girls are. How smart and observant. How they always know what's going on around them, remember numbers on cards, note when people cringe or startle, when people are wearing the wrong shoes. So I don't care that Liz has been put into the Research stream instead of the Investigation Stream at Gallagher - she did the same training courses as Cammie and her friends for a long time, and I feel it's unlikely that she didn't realise that her bag was open. I just feel like Cammie's always making a case for 'oh look the nerd isn't as good as us at the real spy stuff', which is, frankly, insulting.

I love the role that Zach plays in this book - he hovers around the background, and came in when appropriate, but the story never devolves to him hand-holding Cammie through the secrets and mysteries. He gives clues, but the book is all about the smarts that Cammie and her friends have, not Zach's. And I like how conscious Cammie is that she really doesn't know this boy - she's wary around him, and when surrounded by people she can't trust, the acknowledges that she doesn't trust him either. I do hope these two work out a way to be together despite all the secrets and shadows and lies.

Plot-wise I think the book is mediocre: there weren't many elements that surprised me. I'd guessed at Book 2 how Blackthorne would be disguised, but admittedly hadn't even been close to guessing what they trained to do there. I'd guessed the great big secret about the female assassin in the last book, but never imagined her familial connections to the main characters. Other developments were foreshadowed so poorly that the author basically stuck signs all around saying 'look at this character' or 'see what they said there?!' and it was all very obvious and clumsy.

There were moments of brilliance - Cammie's reaction to the theme park was great (her serious lack of judgement in that situation was not), and there were a few really cute, funny lines. Finally getting to see Blackthorne was awesome, and I loved the journey the gang took to get there. I also liked the way Agent Townsend was written - he was good then bad then good then bad, and it kept me on my toes. I like that Cammie showed a lot more initiative in this book, and took her safety more seriously than before. However, the risks she did take surprised me, and although I understood the thought-process behind then, I could still see other avenues she might have pursued.

There's a lot to like about the Gallagher Girls series - it's premise, the funny way it's written, the sisterhood of girls who back one another up. But there's also quite a bit that makes me sad or angry - the undertones of superiority over 'nerds', the lack of sophistication in the writing, the obviously incorrect physical concepts (killing people with uncooked spaghetti etc.). I think I'm approaching the books all wrong - maybe I'm meant to switch my brain off and just read them, but I can't, and these things keep nagging at me.

The ending of the book took me completely by surprise, and hint at Cammie stepping up her game. With two books in the series to go, I'm looking forward to uncovering all the mysteries and seeing how Cammie and her friends get through the mess that's cropped up. Only the Good Spy Young isn't the best book of the Gallagher series so far, but it's not the worst either :-)

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.
You can read more of my reviews at Speculating on SpecFic. ( )
  alcarinqa | Sep 25, 2013 |
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"Targets acquired, ten o'clock."
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Book description
When Cammie Morgan enrolled at the Gallagher Academy, she knew she was preparing for the dangerous life of a spy. What she didn’t know was that the serious, real-life danger would start during her junior year of high school. But that’s exactly what happened two months ago when she faced off against an ancient terrorist organization dead set on kidnapping her.

Now the danger follows her everywhere and even Cammie “The Chameleon” can’t hide. When a terrifying encounter in London reveals that one of her most-trusted allies is actually a rogue double-agent Cammie no longer knows if she can trust her classmates, her teachers—or even her own heart.

In this fourth installment of the New York Times best-selling series, the Gallagher Girls must hack, spy, steal, and lie their way to the truth as they go searching for answers, recognizing that the key to Cammie’s future may lie deep in the past....
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When a terrifying encounter in London reveals that one of her most-trusted allies is actually a rogue double-agent, Cammie Morgan no longer knows if she can trust her classmates, her teachers--or even her own heart.

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