Title in white against a pink background

Genre: Contemporary with spies
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - first book of 6


Book cover for I'D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU, BUT THEN I'D HAVE TO KILL YOU: torso shot of a girl in uniform with a plaid skirtCammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school—that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses, but it’s really a school for spies.

Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she’s an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real “pavement artist”—but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her?

Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she’s on her most dangerous mission—falling in love.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Reading this took me right back to starting secondary school. I binged the first four books when in a matter of days when I decided I wanted to read the entire teen section of the school library (I started on C, read eight of Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries, got bored, skipped ahead to Carter. Then got distracted and never came back to the challenge).

This series starter is a funny, bonkers contemporary. The series shifts to spy thriller later on, but the start is a cutesy romance about a girl falling in love with a boy – except she’s a spy-in-training and he can’t know. There’s lots of girls obsessing over boys, and struggling to balance a first crush with best friends, but with a spy twist to it all. Facebook stalking is now hacking government databases, and if you’re not putting trackers in your date’s shoe, then you’re clearly not a spy.

The whole time, I’m giggling like crazy at Cammie’s hyperbolic speech that is so authentic for her age group and character. I love the lists and snippets of formal reports that she’s trying to write properly, but failing miserably to keep business like in. It’s the lower end of YA, and reads like it, but that’s really not a bad thing. It’s a book that suits its target market and beyond.

The spy world is so silly at times – full of absurd sounding inventions, improbable versions of history, and so many in jokes. I love it. It doesn’t take itself seriously (at this stage), but has plenty of internal consistency. As a returning reader, I can see throwaway lines that are taken up later to be major plot points (judging by the publication dates, I HIGHLY doubt the Max Edwards or circus line were planted for the overall story arc that makes the second half of the series a spy thriller).

I think I might re-read the entire series once I’ve finished my unread books, as these books are light and fun – exactly what I want right now.

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