Summers are supposed to be fun, right? Not mine. I’ve got a job at my dad’s company, which is sponsoring a college scholarship competition. I just found out that, in addition to my job assisting the competing interns, I’m supposed to vote for the winner. Totally not what I signed up for.
My boss is running the competition like it’s an episode of Survivor. Then there’s Carlos, who is, well, very distracting––in a good way. But I can’t even think about him like that because fraternizing on the job means instant disqualification for the intern involved.
As if that’s not enough, an anonymous informant with insider intel is trying to sabotage my dad’s company on social media...and I’m afraid it's working.
Much as I’d love to quit, I can’t. Kristoffs Never Quit is our family motto. I just hope there’s more than one survivor by the end of this summer.
|Publisher:||Entangled Publishing, LLC|
|File size:||787 KB|
|Age Range:||14 Years|
About the Author
Lisa Brown Roberts still hasn't recovered from the teenage trauma of nearly tweezing off both eyebrows and having to pencil them in for an entire school year. This and other angst-filled memories inspire her to write YA books about navigating life's painful and funny dramas, and falling in love along the way. She lives in Colorado in a house full of books, boys, four-legged prima donnas, and lots of laughter.
Twitter@LBrownRoberts or visit her at her website, www.lisabrownroberts.com
Read an Excerpt
It's the second Saturday in May, and I'm counting the days until I'm free of Clarkson K-12 Academy. Tonight — awards night — my school sparkles like a scaled-down version of the Dolby Theatre on Oscar night, fancied up in twinkling lights, ruby-red velvet stage curtains, and glittering decorations. Our private school is jokingly called Harvard High; everything is overfunded and insanely competitive.
Like all the Oscar almost-winners say, it's an honor just to be nominated. And in my case, that's true. All I want is to stand on stage and see my parents in the crowd — well, see my dad. Mom will be there; she always is. But Dad? Odds are low that Dad Vader will tear himself away from Emergent Enterprises, AKA his evil empire.
Is he here yet? I text my mom. I'm in violation of the no-cells-on-stage rule, but I don't care.
Her reply is quick: Not yet. Which in our family is code for he's not coming. My heart, which had been fluttering around hopefully, folds in on itself and sinks back into my chest. Despite my low odds, the fantasy of actually winning the photography award and standing at the mic to thank my dad for buying all my equipment, watching his face light up with pride ... that fantasy has played in my head for days.
"And now for the photography award." Our principal's voice jolts me to attention. I squint my eyes against the lights, searching hopefully for my dad's dark hair, but I can't distinguish faces in the crowd. Where's my zoom lens when I needed it?
"As most of you know, Clarkson Academy prides itself on its award- winning photojournalism classes," Dr. Farnham says, her spikey silver hair glinting under the spotlight. "Our top photographers often continue their studies in college, and at last count we had five Clarkson graduates working in major media outlets across the globe."
The crowd applauds politely as I rattle off those graduates' names in my mind. I stalk them in the news and social media because one day I hope to follow in their footsteps.
"This year we have an outstanding slate of nominees," continues Dr. Farnham. "Without further ado, I'd like each student to stand as I call their name."
I zone out as she rattles off the names. I already know that Blake is going to win. Awards always go to seniors, which he is, and his photos are as jaw- dropping as his attitude is annoying. If he had a halfway decent personality, I'd be madly in love with him, but unfortunately, he's as pretentious as he is gifted.
We each stand as Dr. Farnham calls our names. As I rise from my chair, I'm keenly aware of how wrongly I pegged the event's attire, wearing one of my mom's one-of-a-kind yarn and fabric creations instead of something sleek and sophisticated like all the other girls on the stage. I feel like a hippie flower girl trailing in the glamorous bride's wake.
My phone buzzes in my hand again and I sneak a glance at the text.
You look amazing! Followed by a thumbs-up emoji and a heart from my best friend Lexi.
That means I don't look amazing, and Lexi feels the need to give me a bad-outfit-choice-pre-award-loss boost. I chew on my lip to hide my bittersweet smile; Lexi knows me better than anyone.
"A selection of our nominees' best photographs is displayed in the hall outside the auditorium. Please take time to view them later, if you haven't already." Dr. Farnham clears her throat and glances at us, then proceeds to open the envelope. I can hear the Oscar drumroll in my imagination as her finger slides under the tab and she removes the ivory card.
"And our winner is Blake Hamilton! Please give him a round of applause!"
Even though I knew my odds of winning were miniscule, a tidal wave of disappointment floods through me. I try to keep a "Yay, Blake" smile plastered on my face as Blake pushes past me in his rush toward the mic, stepping on my toes. Dr. Farnham presents him with a certificate and a crystal disc engraved with his name, the year, and an etching of a classic Brownie camera, circa 1940.
I've been picturing that award engraved with my name on it for weeks. My shoulders slump as I sit down, since standing is for winners.
It's just as well Dad's not here to witness my failure.
* * *
Two hours later, Mom and I sit on our patio under the stars sharing a pint of Bonnie Brae ice cream — the best in Denver, according to me. It's a warm spring evening and we don't want to waste it, even in the face of my crushing defeat.
Dad's text, sent minutes after I left the auditorium, had seared my heart and hastened my exit from the parking lot.
Sorry to miss the awards, kiddo. At least you didn't win.
"He didn't mean it as an insult," Mom insists, dipping her spoon into the red-and-white striped tub. "He's proud of you for finaling. He just meant he would've felt bad if you'd won and he'd missed it."
"Because he only shows up for winners." The words bite at my throat. Deep down I don't believe them, but right now I'm wallowing in self-pity. Not only did I lose, my finalist certificate has my name spelled wrong: Laura Kristoff instead of Laurel. I've been battling that mistake since kindergarten; you'd think my K-12 academy would have it right by now.
"Now, Laurel, you know that's not true." Mom's green eyes glint in the flickering light from the candles on our patio table. "Your dad loves you and he's so proud of you and your sister." She shoves a huge bite of ice cream into her mouth. I can tell by her wince when the throat freeze hits.
"So you say. I wouldn't know, since I only see him about ten minutes a day." An exaggeration, yes, but not by much.
Mom sighs. "Your father runs a demanding business. And he does it all for us."
As if on cue, the hum of the garage door sounds, followed by the crunch of tires on our gravel driveway. Mom checks the ice cream tub to make sure we've left some for Dad. Mom doesn't keep much sugar in the house, but Dad always consumes an unfair share.
A few minutes later, his tall silhouette appears in the French doors that open onto the patio. It's easy to imagine the Vader cape flowing off his broad shoulders.
My dad emerges like a king onto a palace balcony, striding toward us like a true victor, unlike me. His movie-star good looks are ridiculous, especially when paired with his name: Rhett, just like Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind, my grandma's favorite movie.
"How are my girls?" He sinks into a wicker chair. Mom hands him a spoon and his eyes light up. "Chocolate brownie? My favorite!"
It's my favorite, too — probably because it's his.
He takes a big bite, but unlike Mom, he doesn't wince from throat freeze. Ice cream doesn't dare mess with Dad Vader. He leans back in his chair and smiles at his subjects. Without warning, I flash back to my sixth birthday party.
I'd dressed as Princess Leia, of course, and Darth Vader made a surprise guest appearance. When he'd stormed the party, brandishing his lightsaber, I'd shrieked in fear until my mom scooped me up and whispered in my ear, "It's just Daddy in disguise." Relieved, I attacked him with my own lightsaber. He fought valiantly but suffered a well-deserved demise, flattened on the grass by me and ten of my saber-wielding friends.
That party was the beginning of my love affair with Denver's famous Bonnie Brae ice cream, and cemented my childhood hero worship of my dad. When I was young, Dad was around a lot more for my sister Kendra and me. I remembered burnt pancake mornings and piggyback rides, tickle fights, and cozy story times when I fell asleep against his chest.
But that was a long time ago, before his business succeeded and took over our lives. Now I count myself lucky if I see him more than twice a week for dinner. When my friends complain about their overbearing parents, I nod as if I empathize, but the truth is I miss my dad.
"Sorry you didn't take home the trophy, kiddo." Dad scrapes the bottom of the ice cream tub with his spoon. He glances up. "Next year you'll win."
On the one hand, it's a rare moment, the three of us sitting outside together, my dad relaxed and smiling instead of stressed and scowling. On the other hand ...
"I wish you'd been there." The words tumble out of my mouth, surprising me.
"Laurel, honey. I'm sorry I wasn't there, but I had to wrap up a client proposal, and we've got the interns starting in two weeks and — " Dad's smile fades, along with his excuses.
"I wish I was an intern." Then maybe I'd see him for more than ten minutes a day.
"What?" Dad blinks in surprise. "Don't be ridiculous, Laurel. The intern program is for students who can't afford college tuition, who need the scholarship we provide." He cocks an eyebrow. "Unlike you or your sister. Sometimes I wonder if you realize how fortunate you are."
His words hit me like a punch. Dad's new scholarship program is a big deal; it was in the local news a few weeks ago, a feature story with photos of him and his top executives. One lucky intern will win 100K, enough to cover an in-state tuition full ride. The runners-up will each receive five thousand, but the full-ride is the holy grail everyone will vie for.
"I'm calling it a night," Dad says abruptly, rising from his chair.
Guilt tugs at me as he ruffles my hair before turning toward the house. For someone who wants to spend time with her dad, I did a great job chasing him off.
* * *
I started badgering my dad the next day, hoping to turn my offhand comment into reality. Why not be an intern? Without competing for the money, obviously. If nothing else, I'd get two long car rides each day with my dad in which he wasn't distracted — unless he spent them yammering on his Bluetooth.
Thirteen days ago, he gave me a curt one-word "No" answer.
Ten days ago, he sighed and stared at the ceiling. "I said no already."
Seven days ago, he crossed his arms over his chest and pinned me with an intense stare. "And what exactly would you do at the office?"
I wasn't prepared for that, so I stalled.
Five days ago, I suggested working as the assistant to the interns. Or I could help out Miss Emmaline at the reception desk. Miss Emmaline is an eighty-year-old, ninety-pound holy terror, but I was getting desperate.
"I can give you feedback on the interns," I told Dad. "Honest feedback, to help you decide who wins the scholarship." His only response was a disapproving frown. "A peer review," I pressed. "One college-bound student assessing the others."
Four days ago, I pulled out my best card — emotional manipulation. "You're going to be an empty nester in a year. Then you'll wish we'd bonded, Vader, but instead I'll be on the other side of the galaxy, joining the Resistance."
My sister Kendra just finished her freshman year of college at UC San Diego, but she'd stayed out there this summer to do her own internship with some start-up tech company full of hot nerds, according to our most recent text convo. A year from now I'll be off to college, too, mostly likely somewhere out of state — hopefully somewhere with my own batch of hot nerds to crush on.
Now it's D-Day, the Sunday before the internship program starts. I've given up on convincing Dad. Tomorrow I'll start my search for a summer job, which I've procrastinated on due to 1) laziness and 2) my intent to spend my summer taking photos for the Faces of Denver contest. I probably don't have a chance of winning that contest, either, but I'd love it if one of my photos made the final portfolio voted on by the public.
My dad studies me from across the kitchen table. We're in the process of devouring an extra-large Hawaiian pizza, a Sunday night tradition that he still makes an appearance for. Tonight, it's just the two of us; Mom is at a church meeting. Dad takes a long sip from his microbrew, then stretches out his legs and narrows his steely gray eyes.
"All right, princess, you win. Tomorrow morning be ready to leave the house by seven thirty."
Stunned, I gape at him.
"You'll earn minimum wage. Interns earn fifteen bucks an hour." He takes another bite of pizza, his eyes still on me. If the pay disparity is supposed to dissuade me, it doesn't. Instead, I'm giddy with victory.
I raise my glass in a toast. "You're on, Vader."
Dad narrows his eyes, but his lips quirk. I hope I made a chink in his business armor. My fun dad is still under there somewhere.
Maybe by the end of summer I'll rip off the Vader mask and find that guy again.CHAPTER 2
"So, what am I doing for the Empire this summer? Plotting the destruction of peaceful planets like Alderaan?" I thought a Star Wars joke might be a fun way to start our first morning as coworkers, but Dad Vader doesn't look amused.
"I'm not the enemy, Laurel," Dad snaps. "Also, I'm your boss, so watch it."
Mom slides us both plates of scrambled eggs, toast, and bacon as we sit at the kitchen counter. Well, I sit. Dad stands, glancing at his watch anxiously.
"Have some breakfast, Rhett," Mom insists.
"No time to eat." Dad slaps together the eggs and bacon inside the toast and gestures for me to do the same. He's in conquer-the-universe mode, so I decide to knock off the jokes, for now.
"You're okay with me eating in your car? What if I spill?" Dad's car is immaculate, unlike Mom's and mine.
He scowls as he yanks a paper towel from the roll, handing me one and wrapping his makeshift sandwich with the other. "We need to go, Laurel. Kristoffs are never late. And they don't spill."
Mom and I share a smirk, but fortunately he doesn't bust us.
"Try not to kill each other today," Mom says cheerfully. She takes a sip of coffee from her "I'm a knotty hooker" mug patterned with colorful skeins of yarn.
"For my part, I promise a homicide-free day."
"No one's going to die," Dad grumbles, grabbing his briefcase.
"In case he's wrong, tell Kendra I love her," I stage-whisper to Mom, who snort-laughs.
Dad's dark eyebrows bunch together, but when Mom stands on tiptoe to kiss him goodbye, he reciprocates way too enthusiastically for this early in the morning.
"Kristoffs don't have time for PDA," I call over my shoulder, grabbing the messenger bag Mom made for me from vintage Star Wars fabric.
Five minutes later I'm a captive in my dad's spaceship (AKA Mercedes SUV) as we begin the stressful rush-hour drive from our faux ranch outside of Castle Rock into downtown Denver.
Dad passes a slow-moving minivan, then side-eyes me. "I'm not a villain like Vader, you know. I prefer to think of myself as Yoda."
"Really? You see yourself as a — — "
"Wise warrior? Yes, I do."
Dad returns his focus to the road as I stifle a laugh. He's the most un-Yoda person I know. As he passes another slow-moving car, I wonder if he's pretending to levitate all the other cars with the Force and fly us straight to his LoDo office.
"I'm excited about the job, Dad. Thanks for giving me a chance." I clear my throat. "What exactly am I going to do?"
"Help out the interns." Dad's frowny face returns. "Isn't that what you wanted?"
Even though I pushed him hard for this opportunity, I'm getting that Han Solo feeling, as in, I have a bad feeling about this. I'm worried he's a corporate dictator, an unyielding Scrooge to a cowering army of Bob Cratchits.
What if my dad really is like Darth Vader and the interns end up hating me by association? Then again, with a huge scholarship on the line they'll probably put up with a lot. That thought makes me even more uncomfortable.
Dad sighs like he just read my mind. "You won't have to foil any secret plots to destroy innocent planets, Princess Laurel. Contrary to your overactive imagination, I don't run an evil empire. Ewok's honor." Dad raises three fingers in the air. "No enemies to take down, either."
Ewok's honor was something he made up when I was eight years old and scared to play soccer with girls more experienced than me. Dad swore on my stuffed Ewok I'd have a great season. I hadn't, but then he'd created a new family motto: Kristoffs Never Quit. Almost ten years later, I've proven his point by earning a spot on the varsity soccer team.
"Let's hope you're right," I say. "My saber skills are rusty from lack of practice."
Dad sighs. "I'm one of the good guys. My company is full of them."
"We shall see," I say dramatically.
We don't argue for the rest of the drive. By the time he pulls into the underground parking garage, I dare to hope this summer will be what I wish for — — the chance to reconnect with my dad.
"A New Hope," I whisper, cracking myself up with a nerdy joke.
"Ready, princess?" Dad's eyes meet mine.
"Take me to your Death Star, Vader."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Spies, Lies, and Allies"
Copyright © 2018 Lisa Brown Roberts.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Could Not Put it Down! This book is hilarious and fun. A lot of reviews say it has a Breakfast Club feel, but I think it blew the Breakfast Club out of the water. Laurel is snarky and funny in a way that is fresh and interesting. The other characters are so well developed they hardly feel like supporting characters at all. If you are looking for a smart, fun summer read, look no further.
Laurel's dad runs his own company and spends most of his time at work. Laurel misses her father and manages to arrange a summer job at the company for herself, so she can see more of her father for a while. Laurel isn't particularly happy with her assigned tasks though. The company has an internship program for kids who could use college money. One person will win a free ride. Laurel is supposed to assist the interns and she has to vote on the one she finds most suitable. The interns aren't supposed to know about the power she has and have to accept her help because they want it. How is she going to make them trust her? Carlos knows everything about the company, but he's dangerous to be around because he sees straight through Laurel and flirts with her. Jason is Laurel's big high school crush, Ashley well liked and she is also pretty enough to be a model and Elijah is a nerd just like Laurel. How can she choose between those four totally different candidates? To make it even harder, there's a fifth intern who isn't competing for the scholarship. Trish is the daughter of Laurel's father's right hand. She's tough and doesn't seem to like Laurel, which makes it difficult for her to make a connection with the other interns. Will Laurel's summer be a complete disaster? When someone starts attacking the company via twitter it's time for Laurel to step up. It's an inside job and she has to find the person responsible, so she can save her father's reputation. Who is behind the evil tweets and what will the damage of those messages on social media be? All the interns need that money, but someone is trying to get them fired. Will Laurel be able to save the day? Spies, Lies and Allies is a fabulous fun story. I absolutely loved Laurel. She's a huge fan of Star Wars, which is something I liked a lot. She uses this to make connections with people. She's smart, creative and resilient. As the boss's daughter she isn't well liked and it takes plenty of effort to be accepted, but she doesn't give up and manages to prove herself many times. She's a wonderful girl with a great big heart. I loved every single page of her story and often had to laugh out loud while reading her hilarious observations and comments. Lisa Brown Roberts has written a fantastic heartwarming story. The bond between Laurel and her father is special. Laurel never gives up and makes sure her father spends time with her. They have their own endearing inside jokes and I loved how Laurel learns to stand up for herself and grow as a person during her summer at her father's company. She always speaks her mind, she fights for what she believes in and she's protective when it comes to people she cares about. Spies, Lies and Allies is a terrific story filled with lightheartedness, laughter and sweetness. I absolutely loved this amazing romantic book.
Omigosh! This was such a fun book! A word of warning: This book is chalk full (CORRECT PHRASE?) of nerdy Star Wars references and IT. IS. AWESOME! All Laurel wants is to be close to her dad again. He’s a workaholic, so she thinks, what a better way to spend time with him than as a summer intern at his company? If nothing else they’ll have an hour long ride in the car to bond and maybe a chance to spend lunch together. After begging and begging, her dad finally gives in. But there’s a condition. Laurel will be an assistant to the interns, and she will be spying on them. Because all of the interns are competing for a crazy awesome scholarship. But as the daughter of the boss, Laurel feels like a fraud. She doesnt fit in with the other interns. And as soon as the rules are laid out, she wonders how she will survive the summer. The worst rule of all, no fraternizing with the interns or they will lose their chance at the scholarship. Enter NAME. He’s cute and Laurel begins to fall for him, after disliking him for a while. I love that this was not an instalove story. The romance was backseat to the plot, but still a big part. It’s a story of love, father/daughter relationships, and just growing up. Really the best part was all the Star Wars mentions though. So funny. This is definitely a teen romance I recommend for all YA contemporary fans.
Spies, Lies, and Allies was absolutely adorable. I loved how it focused on strong family relationships, particularly the father/daughter bond between Laurel and her dad. This one had a surprising amount of heart and I adored the Star Wars jokes. Plus I enjoyed seeing how the character’s opinions of each other changed as they got to know each other. The mystery was intriguing, although the heart of the story was the character’s relationships. One part Breakfast Club, one part Scooby Gang, and all adorable, I’d give this one four stars! Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
OMG, so cute! I really enjoyed the story of Laurel's possible summer-job-from-hell. Laurel's a total daddy's girl but his workaholic tendencies have had her missing him lately (her older sister being away at college hasn't helped either) so she's nagged him relentlessly until he agrees to let her work at his company as an intern assistant for the summer. It's not quite the job she thinks it's going to be, but their family motto is "Kristoffs never quit" so she soldiers on. Her BFF's family drama, a work mystery, interns that she doesn't quite fit in with, and adult employees who may or may not have an issue with the boss's daughter getting a "cushy job" often have Laurel questioning her choices, but her love of Star Wars and her role models (strong female heroines in sci-fi film and fiction) keep her going. Throw in a forbidden maybe-romance and some strong 80s pop-culture vibes, and even though Laurel might be having a trying summer, the reader is definitely having a lot of fun :) Very cute! I can't wait to see what Ms. Roberts has in store for us next. Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A- I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Spies Lies and Allies by Lisa Brown Roberts is a cute and dynamic YA novel centering around Laurel Kristoff. Laurel is a high school junior whose dad is a workaholic. He provides for his family and they want for nothing, except time with him. Laurel reminisces about old times when he was more around to do things with her after he misses an awards show for her school and makes an offhand comment about becoming an intern for his company. While she doesn't need the scholarship money that the interns can win, it would give her more time with her dad. After a couple weeks of persistence, Mr. Kristoff unexpectedly gives in. Laurel and the other interns provide a dynamic and diverse cast of characters to bond with as they work together and get to know each other. Each is more than meets the eye and gives complexity to the novel. When it is discovered that the company is being attacked by a social media smear campaign, Laurel and the interns investigate, giving Spies, Lies and Allies added intrigue and more ways to dig deeper into each character. Overall I enjoyed Spies Lies and Allies by Lisa Brown Roberts and the journey that we get to go on. Liberal Star Wars references added some fun familiarity to the book and make Laurel more relateable and the relationships made the story one for everyone. (I voluntarily reviewed an advance review copy of this book I received for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my open and honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.)
An all-around good read! Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled for the opportunity to read and review Spies, Lies, and Allies by Lisa Brown Roberts! Laurel wants to spend more time with her father, so she convinces him to let her work at his company for the summer. Her job is to monitor and assist five interns vying for a one hundred thousand dollar scholarship from Emergent, her father’s company. Laurel is also supposed to get to know the interns well enough that she can make the deciding vote for the scholarship. She’s anxious about her assistant position and she’s worried about what the interns will think of her. The summer job becomes more than she bargained for and turns into a roller coaster of events and stress for Laurel, the interns and the entire company. I enjoyed getting to know the characters, their differences and their complexities. This book contains adventure, intrigue, humor, loyalty, compassion and friendship. The added fun of fandom and Comic Con will make all nerdy readers giddy. The characters are relatable and show depth and Spies, Lies and Allies is an all-around good read- 5 stars! * I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary review consideration.
I love this book! Seriously, freaking LOVE! I’m a huge Lisa Brown Roberts fan and had the distinct pleasure of being her “seat filler” for all of five minutes at the RWA conference in San Diego a few years back; coincidentally, just a few days before San Diego Comic-Con. And though I’m sure she’s quite a bit younger than me, I still say I want to be LBR when I grow up. And SPIES, LIES, AND ALLIES is the reason why. The banter, the characters, the pop culture tie-ins. This story is pretty much everything I love: young adult romance, teen angst, Star Wars, nerd geekery, pop-culture references, Comic-Con… Yeah, if I was a teen in 2018, this would pretty much be my life. The summer before her senior year of high school, Laurel convinces her dad to allow her to work at his public relations and marketing firm so she can spend more time with him. She calls him Dad Vader, and at first I was worried this was due to a fractured relationship. But other than her father working a lot, the reference is to a mutual love of Star Wars and a time he dressed as Darth Vader to her Princess Leia. Initially excited, Laurel soon realizes this may not be the summer she was hoping for. Instead of sharing leisurely lunches with her dad, she barely sees him other than the commutes to and from work. And on top of that, she’s expected to report back on a group of interns who are all vying for a $100,000 college scholarship in a reality-TV-show inspired competition. Not only does she not want to spy on her contemporaries, but one of whom just happens to be Josh, the dreamy high school quarterback she’s been pining for since middle school. It isn’t Jason, though, who gets her worked up. Instead Carlos, the boy with the Hershey Kiss colored eyes sets her pulse zinging. The “no-fraternizing with the interns” rule makes both boys completely off limits for Laurel, who soon finds her attention focused on discovering the culprit using social media to sabotage her father’s company. Before summer is over, Laurel will learn a lot about first impressions, what it means to really trust someone, and the power of persuasion. Plot The main plot is definitely the romance, but there are a lot of great subplots involving Laurel’s relationship with her father, her friendships with the other interns, and the mystery of who is trying to hurt the company. All are woven expertly together. The constant sprinkling of pop-culture references also played into the plot, including a Breakfast Club-esque scene in the building’s basement. My only real complaint with the story, and it’s not even so much of a complaint, is that the mystery was introduced with only one likely culprit. Even though the story isn’t primarily, or even secondarily, a mystery, once that element was introduced, I would have liked a little more to it. The Characters The characters are the best! Laurel is fantastic as the adorable teen nerd who loves Star Wars and refers to her dad’s right-hand-man, Mr. Mantoni, as “the Manicotti.” She’s confident, but with a reasonable number of insecurities which keep her grounded and utterly relatable. Top Five Things I Loved About SPIES, LIES AND ALLIES 1. Laurel. She’s adorable, funny, and just neurotic enough to make her the perfect heroine. 2. Carlos. He’s witty and loyal and easy to love. Being insanely attractive doesn’t hurt either. 3. Star Wars. I’m a full on Star Wars geek, and like Laurel, I believe any movies with Jar-Jar Binks don’t really count. I like to pretend those
4.5* Although I’m no longer the demographic for them, (at least age-wise!), I’m a total sucker for sweet contemporary young adult novels like Spies, Lies, and Allies. Maybe because I can vicariously relive my youth through them? Maybe because I wish my teen years were as fun and entertaining as they’re made out to be in books? Maybe because I wish the hot jock had fallen for me??? All of the above could quite possibly be true! But I think it’s mostly because they offer a true escape from the real world, and I can just spend a few hours enjoying someone else’s trials and tribulations, unrequited crushes and broken hearts, knowing everything is going to be okay in the end. And Spies, Lies, and Allies was the perfect escape. You may not find any broken hearts here, but you will find a terrific cast of characters, a little mystery, some secrets, a boss who takes things just a little too seriously, and even an adorable romance. It's everything you'd want in a summer read. I loved the friendships that developed and how family played such an important part in this book. At first there was an uneasy relationship between Laurel and the interns, but as the summer went on and they got to know each other, and had time to work together, they really became a team. And the budding romance brought out all the feelings and insecurities every high school girl faces- heightened by the fact that is was quite forbidden! I got a kick out of the pop culture references and how Laurel was able to work Star Wars into just about every situation. I really liked Laurel’s character and seeing her grow as a person during the course of the book. She started out seemingly not quite sure of herself or her place in things, but by the end she had definitely come into her own. Her relationship with her dad played a big part in the story, and it was rather endearing. Laurel learned a lot about him, and saw him in a very different light, which was quite an eye-opener for her! Spies, Lies, and Allies is such a fun, sweet read. Lots of great light-hearted moments mixed in with a few more serious scenes. This was a solid 4* story throughout, but the last 25% or so is really what solidified this one for me, when everything started to come together and I unexpectedly got hit right in the feels.
The Breakfast Club meets The Apprentice. One summer to change fate. Laurel is a huge Star Wars fan and has an overactive imagination. She's a super nerd with all the charms that go with it. She's funny, smart and desperate to spend more time with her dad. He is always busy and trying to run a successful business. He is missing the important milestones in her life and she's come up with a plan to get more time with him. Laurel convinces her dad to let her help out with the interns for the summer. The best candidate will get a chance to win a college scholarship and Laurel is the inside man who will help them choose the winner. The interns get off to a rocky start. Jason is late and doesn't remember Laurel at first, even though they go to school together. He's a jock and fairly stereotypical. Laurel's hoping Jason has an inner geek but she will have to settle for sweet. Then there is the supermodel artist girl (Ashley), Trish who's crazy Dad already works for the company, the good looking smart accountant wannabe (Elijah) and Carlos who knows too much. The team are opposites and would have never made friends if it wasn't for the intern. The competition gets a little out of hand but everyone wants the prize. Well except Trish. The stakes are high and everyone is super ambitious. As we look at these chapters we see more than the pretty model. Laurel's dad sets a few rules for the interns. Just some basic office protocols. One rule is to not date your co-workers or they will be disqualified. Laurel never hoped to find a summer romance or friendships. The summer has highs and lows but it all pulls together in the end. Spies, Lies and Allies is a charming witty read. It's for the inner geek. Laurel is a huge Star Wars fan and uses references in everyday life. I like Star Wars but I'm not a die-hard fan and at times the references got a little much. Laurel is a character that grows on you. She's fun and a complete dork. She's totally lovable in the end. Sassy writing style and some eye-rolling jokes. Great book. 4 stars out of 5. *I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I enjoyed this YA read very much! It's funny, whimsical, and lighthearted. Laurel is excited about getting to spend the summer working for with her dad. He's so busy she never gets to see him so this will be nice. She has no idea what she's really gotten herself in to. She's not only been brought in to assist four scholarship seeking interns but they also want her to spy on the interns and report back. At the end of the summer she is suppose to help decide the ultimate winner! Now she already has a strike against her with these guys being the daughter of the boss and all, how is she suppose to spend the entire summer with them?? This one reminded me of The Breakfast Club on a corporate level. It's a little bit sweet, a little bit silly, and a whole lot of fun. This is definitely a book I recommend to anyone who enjoys a sweet, clean contemporary YA read.