Series Review: Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter

Series Review: Gallagher Girls by Ally CarterI'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
Series: Gallagher Girls #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on March 20, 2007
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Romance
Pages: 284
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
two-half-stars

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 she's 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 she's 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? Cammie may be an elite spy in training, but in her sophomore year, shes beginning her most dangerous mission; she's falling in love.

The Gallagher Girls series came highly recommended, and it really, so far at least, was not what I was expecting. There’s some promise inherent in the ending that the following books will be better than this one, but I was not in love with I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You.

My problems were myriad. Honestly, I felt like this short book would never end. It took me a week to finish it, which doesn’t sound that bad for me it’s pretty bad. A big part of the reason I couldn’t settle into this and enjoy it for what it is comes from my lingering dislike for another, similar book. I know that’s totally not fair to Gallagher Girls, but I am a product of all the the books I’ve read before. Robin Benway’s duology about a teen safe-cracker started out so well, but book two left me with a lot of problems and may have burned me out on the cutesy teen super spy genre.

The voice didn’t click for me particularly well. The voice leans pretty young, and it was really hard for me to buy Cammie as a genius spy person. I get that the juxtaposition between her life as a teenager and her life as a badass spy-in-training is totally the point. And I get that the silly humor is intentional and it’s not meant to be serious. Still, it’s pretty grating to read constant “real spies do this, unlike ALIAS” commentary when the book’s so patently absurd. To a large degree, the problem is me, not the book, though if the voice had rung a bit more real to me, I wouldn’t have cared. The romance is oatmeal, and the LI for this book looks like a young George Clooney which, even back when I was a teen when this came book came out, was not a timely reference. So far, the best ship is Cammie and Macey, which is so not going to happen.

View Spoiler »

I really desperately want to like this series, but it could be a struggle. I’m going to give it at least one more book, and I’ll try my damnedest to suspend my disbelief in the meantime.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:


Series Review: Gallagher Girls by Ally CarterCross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter
Series: Gallagher Girls #2
Published by Disney Hyperion on October 2, 2007
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Romance
Pages: 236
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
three-stars

Cammie Morgan is back, and it's clear that her life hasn't calmed down since the events of I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You. At first, giddy anticipation is in the air. Gallagher Academy, Cammie's elite spy school, is hosting a visit from a covert training center for boys. Soon after the boys' arrival, though, everything goes dangerously awry when a series of security breaches are discovered at the academy. Worse yet, teenage agent-in-training Cammie is being blamed for the penetration. With the school's top-secret status at risk, the Gallagher Girls have to work quickly to save their beloved school.

Good news! I officially liked Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy. Some of my issues are still present, but the removal of the blandest LI ever makes a huge difference.

The voice still skews young (there’s really no other possibility when a book has so many exclamation points), but I think I’m settling into it a bit. Also, Carter did tone down some of the over the top spy stories. The plot of this one’s admittedly not that fantastic, basically exactly mirroring book one, but the addition of some guys from a boys’ spy school is totally my crack.

Zach’s an excellent addition to the cast, because he’s snarky and smirky and unpredictable. He’s already got a much more dynamic character than most of the cast, who can be taken down to about two characteristics (Bex is British and loves fighting! Liz is clumsy and brilliant with a photographic memory!). Though I can’t say that Zach and Cammie are a ship of ships, they do have a fun back and forth. Though he ALSO LOOKS LIKE GEORGE CLOONEY. But rugged, older George Clooney. Even though he’s 16 or 17. Um, okay.

The crack fun of this series finally kicked in, and I could not be more pleased. I read this in a sitting.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

Series Review: Gallagher Girls by Ally CarterDon't Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter
Series: Gallagher Girls #3
Published by Disney Hyperion on June 9, 2009
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Romance
Pages: 263
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
three-stars

When Cammie "The Chameleon" Morgan visits her roommate Macey in Boston, she thinks she's in for an exciting end to her summer break. After all, she's there to watch Macey's father accept the nomination for vice president of the United States. But when you go to the world's best school (for spies), "exciting" and "deadly" are never far apart. Cammie and Macey soon find themselves trapped in a kidnappers' plot, with only their espionage skills to save them.

As her junior year begins, Cammie can't shake the memory of what happened in Boston, and even the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women doesn't feel like the safe haven it once did. Shocking secrets and old flames seem to lurk around every one of the mansion's corners as Cammie and her friends struggle to answer the questions, Who is after Macey? And how can the Gallagher Girls keep her safe?

Soon Cammie is joining Bex and Liz as Macey's private security team on the campaign trail. The girls must use their spy training at every turn as the stakes are raised, and Cammie gets closer and closer to the shocking truth.

Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover is the best Gallagher Girls book yet, because there’s a lot of focus on queen Macey McHenry.

Macey and Zach are my favorites of the cast, a bit more complex in terms of moods and motivations. There’s a lot of perk from the bulk of these people, and those two don’t really do perk. Also, this is the first book with plot and serious character arcs. Macey and Cammie face their first actual spy shit, when there’s an attempt to abduct Macey from the rooftop after a political rally. I like that the events have an actual affect on Macey and Cammie; nothing’s really caused much growth in the prior novels because everything intense was just a manufactured test. The plot points were predictable, but much more exciting. Also, a ship for Macey, and it’s super cute!

Though I’m still three starring (mostly due to the lack of character development for most of the cast), this one definitely verges on a 3.5.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

Series Review: Gallagher Girls by Ally CarterOnly the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter
Series: Gallagher Girls #4
Published by Disney Hyperion on June 14, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Romance
Pages: 288
Format: eBook
Source: Library
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
three-stars

Celebrate the 10th anniversary of the New York Times best-selling Gallagher Girls series with this new edition, featuring an exclusive new epilogue from Ally Carter!

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 Cammie 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.

Now the Gallagher Girls must hack, spy, steal, and lie their way to the truth as they discover that the key to Cammie's future may lie deep in the past.

Continuing the trend, Only the Good Spy Young is another step up from the prior book.

Cammie and company continue to deal with the events of Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover, and there are actual spy shenanigans and hardly any classes. Once again, the twists were obvious, but they’re a whole lot of fun. And, for the first time, Cammie really truly doesn’t know who she can trust, which adds some shades of grey that were previously mostly absent from the series. Character development continues to mostly lack, though. The ending was totally boss though, and I’m totally looking forward to the next book!

I am so, so glad I didn’t quit after book one, because these are getting really exciting and I’m having a blast.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

Series Review: Gallagher Girls by Ally CarterOut of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter
Series: Gallagher Girls #5
Published by Disney Hyperion on March 13, 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Romance
Pages: 294
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
three-half-stars

The last thing Cammie Morgan remembers is leaving the Gallagher Academy to protect her friends and family from the Circle of Cavan-an ancient terrorist organization that has been hunting her for over a year. But when Cammie wakes up in an alpine convent and discovers that months have passed, she must face the fact that her memory is now a black hole. The only traces left of Cammie's summer vacation are the bruises on her body and the dirt under her nails, and all she wants is to go home.

Once she returns to school, however, Cammie realizes that even the Gallagher Academy now holds more questions than answers. Cammie, her friends, and mysterious spy-guy Zach must face their most difficult challenge yet as they travel to the other side of the world, hoping to piece together the clues that Cammie left behind. It's a race against time. The Circle is hot on their trail and willing stop at nothing to prevent Cammie from remembering what she did last summer.

Of all of the Gallagher Girls books, Out of Sight, Out of Time is my favorite plot-wise. It’s the darkest and most intense.

One thing I like so much about the plot of this book is that Cammie’s one-girl mission to take down the Circle completely fails. This isn’t a spoiler, because in the first chapter she wakes up in October in the Alps, with no memory of anything since she’s left school. Generally, amnesia plots leave me cold, but I didn’t mind it here.

Character development-wise, this is also probably the strongest book of the bunch, as Cammie has to deal with the trauma of her experiences. This is by far the least funny and light-hearted of the series, and, for once, that’s what I appreciate most. The burgeoning relationship between Townsend and Abby, with their completely opposite spy personalities is pretty cute though and adds some lightness.

In a lot of ways, this is my favorite of the Gallagher Girls books.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

Series Review: Gallagher Girls by Ally CarterUnited We Spy by Ally Carter
Series: Gallagher Girls #6
Published by Disney Hyperion on June 14, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Romance
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Celebrate the 10th anniversary of the New York Times best-selling Gallagher Girls series with this new edition, featuring an exclusive new epilogue from Ally Carter!

Cammie Morgan has lost her father and her memory, but in the heart-pounding conclusion to the best-selling Gallagher Girls series, she finds her greatest mission yet. Cammie and her friends finally know why the terrorist organization called the Circle of Cavan has been hunting her. Now the spy girls and Zach must track down the Circle's elite members to stop them before they implement a master plan that will change Cammie—and her country—forever.

Get ready for the Gallagher Girls' most astounding adventure yet as the series comes to breathtaking conclusion that will have readers racing to the last page.

In the ways not covered by Out of Sight, Out of Mind, United We Spy is my favorite Gallagher Girls book.

Where Out of Sight, Out of Time satisfied in an intellectual way, United We Spy is a very emotionally satisfying conclusion to the series. Cammie, for once, leans on her friends, which makes a nice change and shows that she may have learned something. I’ll admit that their graduation scene totally gave me some feelings, and the bonus epilogue in the new paperback edition is the cutest of fan fiction. View Spoiler »

Plot-wise, I have some fairly serious quibbles here. They’re tracking down the heads of the Circle from a list of the founding members. It’s passed only from parent to child, not bringing in spouses. Somehow, though, through a few generations, they apparently all managed to breed sons, until this generation, as none of them had different last names. View Spoiler » It just strikes me as an oddly patriarchal assumption in a series that’s about the ways girls are underestimated. Similarly, there was an assumption that a particular attacker was male, despite Cammie having seen nothing and a number of the rival spies also being female.

Despite the slog of the first book, I ended up enjoying these a lot, primarily on a crack level. They’re fast-paced and fun, but I tended to like them best in the moments when they weren’t silly. Characterization isn’t the strongest overall, and the ships for the adults ended up being way cuter than Cammie’s own. I don’t know that I’ll ever revisit these, but they were certainly worth the roughly 12 hours I spent on them.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

Save

Save

Save

3 responses to “Series Review: Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter”

  1. Gaby says:

    I’m glad in the end you liked these books. I read them a few years ago and liked them, although now they might seem a little simple, especially at the beginning of the series.

  2. I’m glad you ended up really liking these! I read them back when they first came out and reread them (to finish off the series, which I had paused for some reason) within the last year or so. They held up well for me but definitely skew young!

  3. All of your George Clooney gifs crack me up and you’ve really made me reconsider picking these up. They sure do sound like fun.
    Bonnie @ For the Love of Words recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday – Most UniqueMy Profile

Leave a Reply to Lauren @ Bookmark Lit Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge