Thursday, June 19, 2008

I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have To Kill You by Ally Carter

Summary
The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women is a fairly typical all-girls school. That is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE, the latest in chemical warfare in science; and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes computer class. So in truth, Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses, but its really a school for spies. Cammie Morgan is a second generation Gallagher Girl, and by her sophomore year shes already 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 one thing the Gallagher Academy hasn't prepared her for is what to do when she falls for an ordinary boy who thinks shes an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, and track him through a mall without his ever being the wiser, but can she have a regular relationship with a regular boy who can never know the truth about her?

Grade: D // Is that all? Seriously???

Memorable Quotes:
N/A

Reviewwwwww!

I picked this book up because of all the media hyper surrounding it—the Disney option and the New York Times bestseller status, not to mention the cute cover and interesting premise. Who hasn’t found themselves imagining what it would be like to be a secret government operative during an especially boring Physics lecture? Behold: the appeal of this book (to me, at least).

With all this in mind, why oh why was I so disappointed upon finishing it?

Because this book was subpar to its media attention. The writing, the characters and the subplot were average. Boring. I didn’t learn anything particularly new reading it, I wasn’t entertained, and I wasn’t blown away with Ally Carter’s prose. What’s ironic is, the setup that would’ve worked toward building the elements this novel lacked—such as character development, for starters—were all there. The girls had interesting (and heartbreaking) backgrounds. But those were for the most part ignored, except for some scenes where Cammie feels the loss that her friend could be facing and feels the loss of her own father, which I felt were the best parts in this entire novel.

Because of all the superfluous jokes and one-liners inserted in places that did not require the likes of them. (And usually in parentheses and followed by an exclamation point so the reader can feel the excitement!) The only comment I have of this is: Uncooked spaghetti is not as clever a weapon choice as the author seems to think it is...

Because of the underdeveloped relationship between Josh (is that his name? I can’t be bothered to check) and Cammie. I would’ve liked to see the beginning stages of first love instead of being told, after the fact, that they went to such and such movie or something equally nondescript. With a book based on the challenges of falling in love as a spy and having to lead a double life, one would think such details of the romance would be shared from time to time.

Because of the main character. No way in hell is she sixteen and no way in hell is someone that average, intelligence-wise, qualified to go to such a pizzazz school like Gallagher Academy. Oh, and, how was she able to fool the adults in that place even for a second? What does that say about the school we are led to believe is The Godsend of Security?

I’m not understanding what makes this as popular as it is. It’s not really funny and it’s not really bright. What gives? The only redeeming quality it has, in my opinion, is that it’s making me re-evaluate my verdict of The Squad: Killer Spirit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, which I am coming to realize is infinitely better.

If I had to describe this book in a word, it’d be: Lifeless. No real stakes and no stimulating qualities. Get it from the library.

24 comments:

ambeen said...

Wow, I'm glad I passed this one up a long time ago when contemplating a book order.

Uncooked pasta as a weapon? That does seem far-fetched. I'd like to see how that was executed, lol.

Jennifer Banash said...

Wow, I'd heard nothing but great things about this one too!

And uncooked pasta as a weapon is totally lame.

Anilee said...

I'm inclined to agree with you. When I first read this book, I thought it was fun (though I liked the sequel better). But I recently reread it and was just like, "Eh..." The one-liners and stuff were annoying, and maybe I could have dealt with the lack of development but because I didn't really enjoy the writing...it just wasn't fun to read the second time around.

Which makes me think that if it is made into a movie, it could totally be better.

Lenore said...

14 languages! I am so envious! Which ones?

Kyle said...

hmmm.. I just bought this book like an hour ago. Thats because i heard great things about it. Well I am glad I didn't go and buy the second one too, because now I am not sure about it. I am planning on readin it in the next month or so.

Kyle

MM said...

Thank you reviewer X. Sometimes I feel like there's something wrong with me when I don't love a best seller.

Gabbi said...

Strangely, I DID get this from the library...

Rachel said...

Ooh. I 'read this book. It sucked. I hated it.
I never read the rest of the series...
Plus...what I did was like plowing and plowing through each page. I kept on wondering 'when is this going to get better...dont worry, the story is just getting started' and it felt like that THE WHOLE BOOK!
Hate it...for me I wouldnt even give it a D+...like a D-...its JUST passing.

Carol said...

I agree when i got this book i thought it was going to be good but it wasn't. I felt very disappointed.

Jennifer Banash said...

How do these sucky books do so well??????

Does anyone else ever wonder about this?

Em said...

I just thought I'd jump in and say I really like this series. Maybe it's cause I don't read a lot of spy novels, but these are just so funny to me. A little far-fetched maybe but it has such great, strong female characters.

alison ashlee said...

It really does amaze me how some books do so well, when they're not really THAT fantastic. Yet, some books which really are THAT fantastic don't do as well. It just seems like a rather sad situation.

Loved the review, as usual! I love how you're so honest and don't skirt around issues.

Hope to see more soon!

ali

Khyrinthia said...

Well, I'm glad I didn't buy this at Barnes and Noble today.

Book Chic said...

Like Em, I actually also really enjoyed this series, though I got both books from the library and pretty much went through them so fast. I love Ally's writing and think she does a great job with it, though, also like Em, I haven't read many, if any at all, spy novels so I have nothing to compare it to.

I don't know, to me, I love these books and think they're hilarious, pretty clever and I love the romances in them (so sweet!). Kinda makes me sad you didn't enjoy it, but different strokes and good on you for being honest.

And the reason (supposedly) sucky books get popular is because a lot of people DO actually like them. It wouldn't be popular if everyone hated it, lol.

Aella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aella said...

Its funny how people can disagree sometimes.

I actually really enjoyed this novel and the companion that followed. I felt Ally Carter did an excellent job with her character development on nearly all of the fronts, although I would have liked to see more background on the male interest. On that front, I found this series to be infinitely more thought provoking and creative than the Squad.

Plus, completely intense girl power! Strong female protagonists with identifiable flaws are lacking in some of the drivel published today.

Reviewer X said...

Rachel -- the + was a typo. Corrected. I felt generous, so I gave it a D. We'll save D-s for other books... :P

It's quite interesting to get such a varied responses. To each his own, as I like to say =)

Steph

Lisa McMann said...

I loved both books in this series. I highly recommend them to ages 11 and up. I think the plots are great and tons of fun. I also love the girl power. I want my 11-year-old to read books with strong girls in them. I'm tired of the helpless girl getting saved by the boy.

A.S. King said...

Lisa's comment reminded me of a discussion elsewhere online this week. In case you guys haven't seen it, go here:

http://guyslitwire.blogspot.com/2008/
06/do-teenage-boys-need-books-with-weak.html

Lisa McMann said...

lol, A! Don't get me started. :)

Valerie said...

I'm slightly surprised it got such a low grade. I'd give it an A, maybe a B at worst.

Ally Carter said...

Ok. FOr every person who read this book. What is one word you can describe this book in. Why?

Bookworm said...

OH MY GOD! THANK YOU!
So: I picked this up after hearing so much hype about it AND NOTHING EVER HAPPENS. The Josh-Cammie relationship was stale and flat, and I kept on making myself wait and wait and wait and wait or a big stakeout or fight scene but these never came. What a disappointment, honestly. Addicting, yes, but the plot was flimsy. The second book sounds more exciting, though, so I'll check it out. (And weren't all the cute little parentheses so annoying!)

Anonymous said...

Ok, So this is a GG Haters blog obviously, because if you look deeper down its really funny, really smart, and well written. And to those of you reading this out there rolling your eyes at me, let me see you go write a book, and a best seller at that. Getting more than a smattering ideas is hard so be harsh but don't put down the author on saying her book wasn't amazing, i could say the same about twilight. ( And i just did). And yes i did like the second book better just give them a try! Plus the third one's coming out this June.

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