Cammie 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.
It has been four years and a thousand books since I’ve read it, but I loved delving back into the world of Gallagher Girls; in fact, now I feel like I appreciate the nuances of the book more. Back when I had read it, I considered it as a light-hearted fun novel about teenage spies and the trouble they get into, but now I see how varied the theme of the book was. Sure, it starts out as fun – Cammie and her friends, Bex and Liz, are now sophomores at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Women, a school for geniuses training in espionage, and now they get to do Covert Ops. There is a new girl in school – Macey McHenry, whom they do not know yet but is soon going to be their best friend. And on their first mission out in town, Cammie gets her first taste of normal life in Josh, a cute regular guy who notices her, despite her being very good at going unnoticed. What begins as a side project to find if he is shady soon develops into a struggle in Cammie’s heart.
While the tone of the novel is mostly jovial and the fact that the protagonist is a little boy-crazy on getting her first boyfriend, the book goes further into why Cammie is attracted to Josh. He presents a normality she has never experienced being a part of Gallagher Academy; she decisively gets to choose between her life and this picket-fence picture. All her life, she has been known as the daughter of a missing (possibly dead) agent, and here out in the real world, nobody knows that. She gets lost in her legend for a bit, but soon hard decisions have to be made, and she commits to her life as a covert operative.
Most importantly, even with the seriousness of the life as a spy and the danger it comes with, Carter infuses joy and simplicity by bringing it in a group of genius girls who have way too many skills, and a lot of love for each other. It is cute, certainly, but also slightly grim. Overall, the books is brilliant and the extra epilogue was a treat.