Ok, so no fooling, I'm jealous of Ally Carter for having written these books, because I wish I had beaten her to it. Who are the Gallagher Girls? They're sophomores at the Gallagher Academy, an elite prep school for fine young women spies.
Now you wish you'd written it too, right? If these books were around when I was twelve, I would have been wearing plaid skirts and binoculars everywhere I went for weeks.
The first book-- I'D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU, BUT THEN I'D HAVE TO KILL YOU is fairly self-contained. Fifteen-year-old Cammie Morgan, scion of a legendary spy family, meets a normal boy. Trained spy that she is, she tackles boyfriend-acquisition like it's a matter of national security. Hijinx ensue.
That might sound like a Disney Afternoon Movie to you, but the actual story is hilarious. It has a great voice, loveable characters, and a charming dose of ridiculous (how does a born-and-bred spy get to know a normal boy? Why, she assembles a recon team to help her gather data, and writes up their findings in incident reports, of course!).
The sequels have taken on a darker tone, growing up around Cammie as her world gets bigger. She and her friends have left small-town boyfriends behind to take on a mysterious international criminal syndicate. Carter, with a masterful command of pacing, has mixed a high-stakes spy drama with a coming-of-age story. I'd been looking forward to Book 5 for quite some time, so I was thrilled to find it at a bookstore in California during a recent business trip. I bought it right in front of my colleagues and read it the whole plane ride back, because I'm a grown up now, and I get to decide what that means.