Happy Saturday everyone! Today I’m very happy to introduce a new book review feature on my blog: Speed Read! Since I love reading all the books in a series all at once, (and I bet you do too!) I thought it would be fun to create a new style of book review where I write about all the books in a series all at once. And so, for the very first edition of Speed Read, I will be talking about the Gallagher Girls books* by Ally Carter. It’s a very fun series with loads of suspense and general awesomeness, so let’s get to it…
*I wrote each of these mini reviews as I read the corresponding book, so none of my thoughts are effected by the next story in the series. I also try to not include spoilers, but if they’re unavoidable, I will include a warning label. (READ SUMMARIES AT YOUR OWN RISK!)
B O O K O N E >> I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You
S U M M A R Y >> Cammie Morgan’s life is just like any other teenage girl’s. She goes to school, does homework, and hangs out with her friends, Liz, Bex, and Macey…except those friends can speak 14 different languages…and that homework includes trailing her professors without their knowledge…and that school happens to be a school for spies. Cammie is freshman at the Gallagher Academy: a school where you learn not only how to be a spy, but also how to survive. But to the outside world, the academy is a mansion for rich snobs. Cammie never imagined these worlds could collide, but when she develops a crush on a boy from town, it will take all of her skills to keep things from going out of control.
L I K E S >> It’s a spy school. A spy school for super cool girls who would totally be best friends with one Cat Royal, if they ever got their hands on a time machine. (Unless they already have…) Seriously though, the students of the Gallagher Academy all felt well-developed and distinct, and exploring the school sounds like a blast. I love all of the operation summaries in there too – they made me laugh so hard!
D I S L I K E S >> Since it was the first book, the characters and settings all had to be introduced, which led to sort of a slow start. I also felt that a few events were just “filler”, although very entertaining filler, of course.
F A V O R I T E C H A R A C T E R >> Tina and Liz are tied, for sure!
F A V O R I T E L I N E >> “To learn her skills. Honor her sword. And keep her secrets.” – The Gallagher Academy student body.
C O V E R C O N V E R S A T I O N S >> I like cover #1 much more than #2 and #3, thoughts?
R A N D O M N E S S >> There was a Gilmore Girls reference, guys! Teehee.
B O O K T W O >> Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy
S U M M A R Y >> After a few unfortunate mishaps involving a crush and a forklift, Cammie Morgan and her fellow spies-in-training are ready for a relaxing school year. But their plans change when they discover that their beloved Gallagher Academy is opening its doors to a set of new students: Boys. Boys who have their own spy school and their own set of secrets. The new students’ arrival causes a flurry of mysterious events, and Cammie soon finds herself wondering whether they’re allies or enemies.
L I K E S >> Ooh…there are new characters. And these new characters are cute and nice and have witty banter with our lovely main character. And they’re interesting and bring loads of suspenseful drama and embarrassing (but entertaining!) moments! Oh, and they also bring lots of new plots that will hopefully carry into the next few books! And I think it’s clear that I really like this series…
D I S L I K E S >> As much as I enjoyed this book, there were a few spots that I had to go back and reread because so much was going on in that it got a bit confusing. (Spy missions have a habit of doing that.) Nothing else to really complain about, although I do think we should get a spinoff series: “Macey McHenry’s Revenge on the 8th Graders.”
F A V O R I T E C H A R A C T E R >> Zach is definitely cool…but Liz is still the best!
F A V O R I T E L I N E >> “Hey Gallagher Girl” – Zach Goode
C O V E R C O N V E R S A T I O N S >> Cover #1: It’s just soooooo pretty….. Cover #2: It’s nice, just not my favorite….Cover #3: *Yawn*
R A N D O M N E S S >> That run-in with Deedee and Josh was AWKWARD! And also, (WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!) that kiss! Zach and Cammie are adorable. :)
B O O K T H R E E >> Don’t Judge a Girl By Her Cover
S U M M A R Y >> Cammie Morgan is ending her summer in style! After being invited by her roommate and friend, Macey McHenry, to hang out during the McHenry political campaign, Cammie heads up to Boston for a few weeks of speeches, nominations, and interviews. But not everything is as it seems on the campaign trail, and Macey and Cammie soon find themselves targeted by a group of dangerous kidnappers. With the help of their Gallagher Girls knowledge and friends Bex and Liz, can these kick-butt spies get to the bottom of this mystery before it’s too late?
L I K E S >> I was really happy to see that this story focused a bit more on Macey, who I think is really interesting and well, awesome! Seeing her bond more with Cammie, Liz, and Bex was really sweet, and I’m rooting for her in future books. And how about that evil spy group? I sense lots of suspense and thrilling adventure in the future. And a round of applause for Abby, who I’m pretty sure is the most interesting adult so far.
D I S L I K E S >> Less Zach being mysterious and not being able to tell us things, please. That is all.
F A V O R I T E C H A R A C T E R >> Macey rocked this one.
F A V O R I T E L I N E >> “…the only way Bex would miss this would be if she were unconscious. And tied up. And in a concrete bunker. In Siberia.”
C O V E R C O N V E R S A T I O N S >> #1 of this roundup is actually my favorite cover of the entire series…which is ironic, given the title.
R A N D O M N E S S >> More Macey in all future books please! She and Preston are super-duper cute.
B O O K F O U R >> Only the Good Spy Young
S U M M A R Y >> The junior year of Cammie Morgan’s life at spy school has already been filled with danger and secret missions, but it’s about to get a lot more exciting. After discovering that the dangerous Circle of Cavan is hunting her, Cammie spends her winter break being followed by agents and guards through the busy streets of London, but even the world’s best spies can’t protect her from those who know her the best. In a world filled with traitors, spies, enemies, and allies, does Cammie know who to trust?
L I K E S >> There are answers. And snarky British agents. And evil villains who make me want to throw my book at a wall while spinning in my favorite spinning chair because that’s how evil villains should be.
And suspenseful cliffhangers that I really hate but also love. And lots of roommate bonding happiness while breaking into dangerous sublevels and protecting of main characters. And lots of cute moments between one Cammie Morgan and one Zachary Goode (even if he was occasionally bothering me.) And a very witty title. I liked everything, okay?
D I S L I K E S >> Cliffhangers are so not cool beans.* Cliffhangers are so not cool beans. Cliffhangers are so not cool beans. Cliffhangers are so not cool beans. Cliffhangers are so not cool beans. (If you write it a million times, the cliffhangers will magically disappear! :) )
*For my thoughts on cliffhangers, please refer to this post.
O T H E R N O N – C L I F F H A N G E R – H A T R E D – R E L A T E D D I S L I K E S >> Oh, adult characters, please do something. At least tell Cammie about the dangerous spy group that is hunting her. No one enjoys your secret meetings and vague comments. Almost as much as no one enjoys cliffhangers…
F A V O R I T E C H A R A C T E R >> Liz beats everyone. As we all know.
F A V O R I T E L I N E >> “How Not to Break Into Sublevel Two: A List by Cameron Morgan with Help from Macey McHenry.
-Teleportation: Sure, Liz says she has an excellent working theory, but she doesn’t have a prototype yet. And without a prototype it’s pretty much a moot point.
-That thing Bex’s parents did in Dubai with liquid nitrogen, an earthquake simulator, and a ferret: Because we don’t have a ferret.”
C O V E R C O N V E R S A T I O N S >> Don’t we have a system by now? #1 is always the winner!
R A N D O M N E S S >> Who wants to join me in creating a “I Hate Cliffhangers” club? How about a “I Always Read the End First” society?
B O O K F I V E >> Out of Sight, Out of Time
S U M M A R Y >> Cammie Morgan woke up one morning in October. In a convent. In Austria. She has no memory of what happened in the summer, and now she must return to the place where she once felt safe: The Gallagher Academy. But not all the students of the prestigious spy school are willing to welcome her back with open arms. As Cammie and her friends continue to unravel the secrets surrounding the summer, they’ll discover things that they wished they could forget…things that will bring them one step closer to taking down the evil organization that has been hunting Cammie for years.
L I K E S >> Well, that got dark…and even more awesome than before! While I know some people didn’t really like the more serious turn, I rather enjoyed it since Ally Carter managed to keep the writing suspenseful, while still adding in those silly moments I adore. The way Cammie’s memories came together like a puzzle was really interesting to read about, and when you pair that with the amount of emotion the characters were showing, you have a really, (REALLY!) good book.
D I S L I K E S >> Not enough witty banter between Zach and Cammie…*sigh* And not enough arguing between Agent Townsend and Abby either. *double sigh*
F A V O R I T E C H A R A C T E R >> I think Cammie deserves this one, although I do always love the escapades of Macey, Bex, and Liz.
F A V O R I T E L I N E >>”‘I’m an agent of Her Majesty’s Secret Service,’ Townsend said, indignant. ‘I do not do booby traps.”
C O V E R C O N V E R S A T I O N S >> The red scarf is so dramatic!
R A N D O M N E S S >> Did anyone else feel really stupid when we found out who was manipulating Cammie at the end? I wasn’t even suspicious, but now it feels so obvious.
B O O K S I X >> United We Spy
(I will fully admit to the fact that I wrote “Book Seven” before proofreading this post. I can’t count, apparently.)
S U M M A R Y >> Cammie Morgan is about to graduate from the Gallagher Academy, but her school work is far from over. Now that the dangerous Circle of Cavan is hunting both her and her friends, they’re on the run and are trying to track the organization’s next move. After surviving these past few years, Cammie is ready to take down the Circle once and for all…but this spy will need the help of her entire school in order to make it to graduation alive.
L I K E S >> It was so good! (Tears up.) There were cute Zach and Cammie moments, dramatic villain take downs, a lovely graduation speech by Liz, secrets being revealed, and it all came together at the end in a suspenseful and interesting ending! In other words, a wonderful ending to a wonderful series.
D I S L I K E S >> Nothing. Except maybe the fact that it’s the last book in the series…but that makes me more sad than annoyed, so that doesn’t count.
F A V O R I T E C H A R A C T E R >> Does the entire Gallagher Girls student body count as one character?
F A V O R I T E L I N E >> There are so many great lines in this book that it was way too hard to choose just one…so I didn’t.
- “But…I brought gummy bears,” Liz said as if that should be enough to neutralize any potential problem.”
- “What is a Gallagher Girl?” Liz asked one final time. “She’s a genius, a scientist, a heroine, a spy. And now we are at the end of our time at school, and the one thing I know for certain is this: a Gallagher Girl is whatever she wants to be.“
- “Turns out, you can take the girl out of the spy school, but you can never take the spy school out of the girl.”
- “Your test had cheese meteor questions?”
- “It was epic. It was awkward. It was epically awkward.”
C O V E R C O N V E R S A T I O N S >> They’re graduating already? They grow up so fast.
R A N D O M N E S S >> It’s over? Noooooooooooo! Wait. What’s this? Ally Carter has another series about art-stealing thieves called Heist Society? And there’s a Heist Society and Gallagher Girls crossover novella? Interesting….
Have you read the Gallagher Girls series? What are your thoughts? Any recommendations for my next Speed Read?