by Robin Benway
To be published by Bloomsbury
on January 14, 2014
Source: Thanks to Bloomsbury for approving me for an e-ARC on NetGalley.
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Summary from Goodreads: Being permanently based in a local New York City high school as an undercover operative has its moments, good and bad, for 16-year-old safecracker Maggie Silver. Pros: More quality time with her former mark-turned-boyfriend Jesse Oliver and insanely cool best friend, Roux. Getting to spend quality time with her semi-retired and international spy honorary uncle, Angelo. Cons: High school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations. But when Maggie's parents are falsely accused of stealing priceless gold coins, Maggie uses her safecracking skills to try and clear their names. Too bad it only serves to put her and everyone she loves in danger. Maggie and her "new team" flee to Paris where they must come up with a plan to defeat their former allies.
Warning: Spoilers for book one, Also Known As. But if you read the blurb above, you know most of them already.
My take: I was thinking back to those things I loved about Also Known As, which was the first book in this series. Here goes: 1) watching Maggie attend high school for the first time. 2) watching Maggie fall for Jesse but not be able to tell him that she's a spy and spying on his family. 3) Maggie having to hide the spy thing from everyone, including her new BFF, Roux. 4) Her new BFF, Roux
Going Rogue only retains one of these elements, Roux. Maggie doesn't spend much time at school in this book. She and Jesse are now together and (mostly) all lovey-dovey. Both Jesse and Roux know that she's a spy.
I'm still a fan of this series, and still liked Going Rogue, even though it felt like a less thrilling book than Also Known As. It seemed to me that many of the story elements that worked to create suspense and tension in book one had evaporated in book two, but there was nothing new to take their place. (But thank you, Robin Benway, for not manufacturing some stupid lovers' quarrel between Jesse and Maggie, which often happens in second books.)
The plot of Going Rogue is pretty straightforward and can be gleaned from the synopsis above: Maggie's parents are accused of stealing priceless gold coins and Maggie has to prove their innocence by locating and stealing gold coins back from the bad guy. That about sums it up. There's a trip to Paris, which is never a bad thing, but which was also mostly a "fleeing the bad guy"kind of trip.
The good news is that Maggie and Jesse are pretty cute together, Roux is still pretty funny, and Angelo is as cool and mysterious a mentor as ever. There are also some last-minute new characters, but I felt pretty lukewarm about them. I hope that the next book a) gets Maggie back into school, or into some other undercover "fish out of water" scenario, b) lets Roux be more outrageously Roux, and c) lets Jesse shine a little. That's all I ask!
One last thing. In my e-ARC, Maggie and Roux are doing a SAT prep class arranged for them by Roux's parents. I was pretty excited about this, because sometimes as I am reading YA, I wonder when these crazy kids study. How do they get into college? In their class, Maggie and Roux study analogies, which have not been part of the SAT since 2005. This SAT prep class is clearly a fraud, and I hope that Maggie can get to the bottom of it...