Also Known As

Also Known As

4.2 32
by Robin Benway
     
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Maggie is a safecracking prodigy and the only child of parents who work as spies for an organization called the Collective. When the family relocates to New York City, 16-year-old Maggie lands her first assignment: befriending Jesse, a cute private school boy, to gain access to the e-mail belonging to his magazine editor father, who is suspected to be planning a revealing story about the Collective. As Maggie assimilates into life as a regular teenager, making her first friend and having her first kiss (with Jesse), she wonders if she is cut out to be a spy. Benway (The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June) offers a rollicking take on the “spy kids” premise, buoyed by fun characters like Maggie’s irrepressible friend Roux and a well-dressed mentor who is always ready to give Maggie sage advice—or helicopter in to save her. As is common in this genre, realism isn’t exactly at the forefront (Maggie eventually draws her friends into the assignment), but readers will be sufficiently invested to see the mission through to completion. Ages 12–up. Agent: Lisa Grubka, Foundry Literary + Media. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
Sixteen-year-old Maggie Silver has twelve forged passports so that she can travel at a moment's notice to Luxembourg, Reykjavik, or Buenos Aires with her super-spy parents, who take on jobs like breaking up human slave-trade rings and "the fall of that Peruvian dictator," as part of a top-secret organization known only as "the Collective." Occasionally Maggie gets to play a small role as a lock-picking prodigy, but now finally it is time for her to mastermind a case of her own when she is assigned to the most exotic foreign location of all—high school. Her mission: to attend a posh New York City private school and insert herself into a relationship with cute Jesse Oliver, whose media tycoon father is planning an expose on the Collective that must be stopped at all costs. But it turns out that cracking a person is a good deal harder, and riskier to the heart, than cracking a safe. Benway serves up a delicious concoction of suspense, romance, and humor, with plenty of wisecracking repartee between Maggie and her first-ever best friend, former-mean-girl Roux, who is determined to help Maggie accessorize her school uniform and survive her first high school party. Readers get the double fun of infiltrating the interpenetrated worlds of international espionage and New York's wealthy elite, all in the company of a lively, likeable narrator who is on the verge of forgetting the most important rule of being a spy: never look back. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
School Library Journal - Audio
Gr 7–10—Maggie Silver is a plucky 17-year-old who travels the world with her parents who work for a super-secret espionage organization known as the Collective. Her father is a whiz with languages, her mother is an expert hacker, and Maggie specializes in cracking safes and picking locks. Due to her parents' clandestine careers, Maggie has evaded attending high school, but their latest assignment and Maggie's first solo job sends her into a New York City private school where she must befriend Jesse Oliver and blend in like any other teenager. Somewhat predictably, she falls for her target and a romance blossoms. The story's strongest and most interesting plot points revolve around Maggie's relationships with Jesse, her parents, and her new friend Roux rather than her identity as a spy. Teens will surely relate to the realistic characters and the situations that Maggie encounters and enjoy the humorous bits throughout (Jesse and Maggie's first date is particularly hilarious). Benway's narration of her novel (Walker, 2013) is excellent and moves at a fast pace. Fans of Ally Carter's "Gallagher Girls" series will definitely enjoy this audiobook. A great choice for libraries with teens who like their mysteries mixed with some mean girl drama and light-hearted romance.—Nicole Martin, Grafton-Midview Public Library, OH
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—The premise may seem ridiculous: a teen safecracker, daughter of high-level international spies, has an assignment to befriend a young man whose media-mogul father is planning to expose the "Collective" spy ring and steal his documents. But Benway hits just the right notes to make this premise almost plausible, and a fun read as well. While the framework requires more than a little suspension of disbelief, the absolutely delightful cast of characters and snappy dialogue transform this book into a huge success. Smart, confident Maggie, 16, faces a terrifying prospect-she has to attend her very first school in order to meet Jesse Oliver, son of the media mogul. Maggie is thrilled to be able to prove herself as a capable spy, but it's the social stuff that throws her. Fortunately, she meets Roux, a hilarious poor little rich, former "mean girl" outcast as colorful as her name, who ushers her through the indignities of preparing for her first NYC party. As a chick-lit spy caper, Also Known As has it all, from exciting action and adventure to a chaste first kiss. Roux provides a hint of darkness with her sneaky drinking and former sex-capades (which caused the outcast status), but she has a heart of gold, of course. Maggie's parents are a refreshing change from the neglectful types in most YA fiction, and Angelo, her mentor (expert forger and possible assassin?), is one of the strongest characters readers will ever meet. Even Jesse Oliver is more than a pretty face. Plan to have multiple copies of this book available.—Susan Riley, Mamaroneck Public Library, NY

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781469277165
Publisher:
Brilliance Audio
Publication date:
02/26/2013
Series:
Also Known As Series, #1
Edition description:
Unabridged
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 5.50(h) x 0.62(d)
Age Range:
12 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Robin Benway is the acclaimed author of Audrey, Wait! and The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June, both ALA Best Books for Young Adults, among other honors. Benway’s books have been published in sixteen languages, won numerous international awards, and been bestsellers in several countries. Formerly a bookseller and book publicist, she lives in Los Angeles.

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Also Known As 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
InkandPage More than 1 year ago
Rating: 4 The Low Down: Maggie is a spy. Well, to be exact, she is a safecracker. One of, if not the, best. She’s the daughter of spies, so as such, they go where the jobs are. Don’t worry; they aren’t criminals. No, they work for a group called The Collective, which is a group of spies all over the world who work at righting the wrongs done by criminals. After their latest job in Iceland, the family is sent to New York City. This job will  be the most important one yet: keep the names and faces of The Collective from being exposed in the press by an investigative reporter. Maggie’s assignment? Attend a local private school where the son of the reporter is enrolled. Get to know him. Get into his house. Steal info from his dad. Easy peasy, right? Sure. Only, there’s no directive to also fall for her “target.” Or, more precisely, not to. Or not to make friends with Roux, the former mean girl who is currently between pals. How can you have an honest relationship when you can’t be honest? When Maggie finally figures out the answers, she’s in over her head; but if there’s something she’s learned in her 17 years, it is to surround herself in a bubble of calm and focus. Because it’s about to hit the fan. And she has curfew. Best Thang ‘Bout It: Hasn’t everyone wanted to be a spy at one time or another? A fly on the wall, the invisible man, the person with no fingerprints? That’s why it surprises me that there are not a lot more books in this vein. Yes, it will inevitably get compared to Ally Carter’s successful series (serieses?) The Gallagher Girls and Heist Society, since it contains elements of each. But it is distinctly its own animal, with great characters (who can’t help but wish they knew Angelo?), breath-taking action and great locations. Oh, and a little romance. And humor. And snarkiness. I’d certainly DVR this series. One Thing, Though...: Everything’s about speed in a thriller, true, but during the downtime, I want to see my surroundings so the place feels 3D. Though I knew she was in school, at a party, in New York City, I felt like the tertiary characters were absent. I would think that a person trained to notice people would be looking at them in detail. The Bottom Line: A fun book with well-developed main characters that has humor, heart and excitement. Also Known As by Robin Benway was published today by Walker & Company/Bloomsbury Teens. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Big thanks to NetGalley, Walker & Company/Bloomsbury Teens and the Author. Genre: Young Adult Fiction Thriller Romance Spy Ages: 13 and up You Might Want to Know: Some profanity; sexual discussions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is an amazing read. Although whether or not you like it depends on what kind of writing style you like. If you like a descriptive story that gives depth and past to your characters along with mystery, adventure, and love then you will love it. If you dont then this is not the book for you. It all depends what writing style you like
PrettyInFiction More than 1 year ago
Also Known As by Robin Benway is hard not to love. There's spies and tons of espionage, witty dialogue, romance, and an absolutely hilarious main character. What is there not to love? Maggie is a teenage safecracker who's finally been given her first solo gig. She's excited and terrified all at the same time. The mission rests on her shoulders and when she loses her way it's her new found friends, Jesse and Roux, spoiled rich Manhattanites that they are, who just might be the only ones that can help this spy complete her job. Maggie and Jesse's relationship was sooooo adorable. Yes, that's a so with five O's. Their relationship is five O's adorable. It's rare for me to like a contemporary novel that has an insta-love relationship in it, but since Also Known As is about a teenage spy and is absolutely hysterical, I let the insta-love go. Besides, they're supposed to be sixteen, and don't most sixteen year olds think they're in love after two dates? The side characters were great. Maggie's parents were cool and a huge part of the story, which I found refreshing. Angelo, a family friend/uncle type, was Maggie's go to in any and all situations, which I loved! Then there's Roux. Roux is sort of like an insanely perky and less Queen B version of Blair from Gossip Girl and I love it! Also Known As is laugh out loud funny. But there were a few times (very few, not deal breaking stuff here) that I wish the description had been able to keep up with the dialogue. Sometimes the dialogue would run on for half a page before I saw a single burst of description. The dialogue was entertaining enough to carry those parts all on its own, but still, it would have made the book feel slightly more well rounded. But it was a quick read and it definitely held my attention and made me laugh, so all is forgiven. If you're a fan of Ally Carter or any an all things spy or thief related, or maybe just looking for a fun read, you need to read Also Known As. It will keep you guessing, and laughing, until the very end. Robin Benway has now been added to my list of must-read authors!
Lisa-LostInLiterature More than 1 year ago
Hehe... I still giggle after reading the synopsis. I was so eager to jump right into this one. Just the thought of a spy daughter had me so excited. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I haven't read a book in a longgggg time that had anything to do with spies... especially one like this. And it didn't disappoint. Also Known As was so much fun! I have to start by saying Benway's writing style is amazing!! Seriously, this book was hilarious!! I laughed out loud more than I ever have in a book before. If nothing else, this book was comical. But trust me... there's plenty more I can say good about it. :) Maggie is a spy, who's the daughter of two spies, who are constantly doing spy things. She doesn't know anything different. Her entire life has been like this. To her utter excitement, she's assigned to a job where she will get to go to high school. Yes, a REAL high school! She will finally get to act like a child her own age!! She will get to go to parties, and have friends, and meet boys... ooooh, the boys. ;) Poor Maggie is definitely awkward when it comes to "real life", which makes for such a silly and funny story. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire adventure, from her first party to her entertaining romance, if we can call it that... it was work-related and ordered, after all... I would totally recommend this book. It was laugh-out-loud funny and I loved every minute of it! The characters were so much fun and made the story what it was. I will definitely be looking into Benway's other books.
BethanyL More than 1 year ago
I really wanted to love this book. But it just didn’t happen. I liked it—I liked it a good amount. I mean, I tend to like anything having to do with spies, especialy when they’re teenage spies. But for some reason this plot didn’t really compel me despite the fact that Maggie, is a world-renowned safecracking prodify whose skills are worth a lot of money. It sounds like exactly the kind of book that should be up my alley, but for some reason, this one fell a bit flat for me. But! BUT! Let’s talk about the good: I adore Benway’s writing style. While reading I would find myself making notes of sentences like, ”If Iceland was flatlining, then New York looked like it was having a heart attack.” (page 24) ”First rule of New York: Don’t just stand there. Keep moving. We don’t like it when you stand there. It make us angry.” (page 45) Benway’s style is, as evidenced in the first quote, really gorgeously descriptive, and, also really funny. Okay, maybe I like that second quote because I live in New York and am of the belief that the sidewalk should be divided into a Tourist Lane and a New Yorker Lane. Aside from Benway’s great style and voice, the characters in this book are a lot of fun. Smart, lively, fittingly jaded and cycnical, Maggie, Jesse, and Roux are characters I want to hang out with. The problem is that once the story got past a particularly swoony stoop scene, it went into fast-forward—every storyline became rushed and went full speed ahead to the end. The nuance and subtley was put aside, and all of a sudden crimes, drama, and mysteries were solved and everything was hunky-dory. Overall, I really enjoyed the characters. I just wish that Benway (or, I suspect, her editors) had taken some more time with the story so it could unfold more naturally. However, the book is fun, there’s a lot of action, and Benway’s writing is great. If you’re looking for a fun, NY-based spy adventure with quippy, funny dialogue, then Also Known As will fit the bill.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I haven't read very many teen spy books, but this one is definitely a keeper!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was somewhat unpredictable and I loved it. It took ke 3 daysto read it.
Amy-T More than 1 year ago
ALSO KNOWN AS by Robin Benway is just about the most fun that you can have reading a book, friends. The characters are spunky and fun and likable, the action is fast-paced but not overwhelming, and the writing is snappy. Plus, SPIES. Criminals of a FUN nature. There’s a romance, too, and it’s cute. Most importantly in ALSO KNOWN AS, though, is ROUX. Roux the Magnificent. I liked this whole book, friends, but Roux made it for me. Roux, I loved. Ahem. Anyway, Robin Benway’s book about a family of spies whose daughter, Maggie, goes on her first solo assignment, is pretty dang enjoyable. So the gist of ALSO KNOWN AS is this: Maggie and her parents are super international spies, which is AWESOME. They never stay in one place too long because they are always hopping around, working their spy magic for The Collective. Maggie herself is basically the best safe-cracker IN THE WORLD. She’s also never gone to a real school or had any friends. That is, until The Collective sends her family to NYC so that Maggie can work a different kind of magic on the son of Armand Oliver, a publishing magnate who has come into possession of a list of Collective agents and is going to print it. The son, one Jesse Oliver, is Maggie’s mark, but he’s also mad cute and charming, and between her growing feelings for Jesse, her AMAZE friendship with school outcast Roux, and, HELLO, ACTUAL SCHOOL, her first job is turning out to be more difficult than Maggie imagined. I know that I’ve been gushing about Roux, but I actually want to start by shouting out Robin Benway for giving Maggie parents who are actual PARENTS who have a role in Maggie’s life. This is a pretty big deal, as any long-time, frequent reader of YA will know. They aren’t so much main characters, but they are present for sure. And she gets along with them! GASP! AND! Guys, Maggie gets GROUNDED. I can’t even. When was the last time you guys read a book where the MC gets GROUNDED!? I seriously wracked my brain and could think of NO GROUNDINGS, which is amazing enough on its own considering how many times in HS I was grounded, and how much trouble most YA MCs get up to in the books we read. Props to Robin Benway for keeping it real. Since I started with the parents, let me take this opportunity to shout out the OTHER awesome adult in ALSO KNOWN AS: Angelo. He’s great in a really mysterious way. I can’t lie, guys: I totally suspected him for at least two thirds of the book. Am I the only one? But I liked very much that Maggie had another adult that she relied on and trusted and could talk to. So many awesome adults in this book! Her parents are great and as normal as uber-spies can be, and her father-figure person is super, too. I really enjoyed the conversations that Maggie had with Angelo about falling in love with a mark (Angelo fell in love with one himself despite the rules, and so he and Maggie have lots of great stuff to talk about). I loved how supportive the adults were of Maggie, and their positive relationships were legit. You guys, I can’t even hold out any longer. I MUST tell you about Roux, although I don’t know how my words can do justice to her awesome. You’ll just have to read ALSO KNOWN AS and then you will understand. Roux is one of those hard Chips Ahoy cookies on the outside who’s actually a Keebler Soft Batch on the inside. Her personality just FLIES off the page, smacks you in the face, laughs at you, says something witty and mildly insulting, and saunters off to go drink vodka disgui
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Books4Tomorrow More than 1 year ago
I must say, the opening line of the book summary hooked me. I wanted to know the answer to that question asap! What would be more dangerous: being a spy or attending high school? Opinions would vary on that, of course, but sadly this book does not answer that question. If you’re expecting a spy-novel, scrap this from your to-read list right now. As in right now, people! This is a romance disguised as a spy novel to fool you into reading it. If you’re a hardcore spy-novel-loving junkie, I suggest you move on. No spying is to be found here. Yes, I know, I know. The summary promises fast-paced world-class spying and safe cracking, and it probably has you envisioning all sorts of glamorous and exciting, action-packed spy-y stuff with wild car chases, disguises, buildings exploding, cool gadgets, underground lairs, etc, but I’m telling you now to move along, because that ain’t happening here. Not in this novel. Two or three safes get cracked, a few locks get picked, but you won’t be reliving any Austin Powers / James Bond movie moments with this novel. Anyway, now that we’ve established that this is not a spy novel, I can tell you that it is a really terrific book about friendship, family, trust, and a hefty helping of romance. A week after I’ve finished this book, I’m still thinking about the adorable and quirky cast of characters that can be found in this book. Maggie wasn’t always my favorite character, and to be honest, her unreasonable demands and expectations of her parents sometimes wore on my patience. I completely understood her parents’ concern for her safety when she stayed out until two o’ clock in the morning without letting them know her whereabouts. I even understand them freaking out. So for her to go off on them when they corner her on this issue was entirely unacceptable. Apart from her tantrums, she is a well-rounded character with a wicked sense of humor. In fact, all these characters are. My favorite characters were Roux, Henry the doorman, and Angelo. Roux provides top-class entertainment, especially in her dealings with Henry the doorman. She had me rolling on the floor with laughter the chapter in which she got drunk as a skunk and did the karaoke thing. This book is worth reading for that scene alone! I also felt sorry for Roux because she’s so alone. All she wants is to be part of a family.  I also liked Maggie’s parents and how they interacted with her. I wasn’t so sure about them tip-toeing around Maggie when she was having one of her moods, though. Do parents actually do that?  The romance was sweet, but nothing special. The friendship between Maggie and Jesse was charming and created a solid foundation on which they could build a romantic relationship. He took her on such an amazing and unforgettable first date I wished I was in her shoes! Overall I think this was a great romance novel. Naturally I was disappointed that there was so much romance and so little espionage, but it turned into such an extremely enjoyable book, what, with all the great characters, the dialogue that had me in stitches, Roux’s antics and Henry’s stiff upper-lip, and the mysterious Angelo. In the end I didn’t mind that Also Known As wasn’t what it was purported to be and had somewhat of a rushed ending. It put me in the right frame of mind to get started on Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls. 
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This book was so good and romantic! I read it in 3 days and enjoyed it a ton!
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I was able to get a few laughs off from this book. It lifted my spiits and only made me buy the second book. This is a great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is romantic amd action packed ! I love it its absolutely amazing !
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grreat fun to read