After the excitement of the fall, all Cammie Morgan wants is peaceful semester at school. But that’s easier said than done when you’re a CIA legacy and go to the premier school in the world…for spies. Despite Cammie’s best intentions, trouble crops up quickly. Cammie, Bex, and Liz learn that the Gallagher Academy is hosting guests from another spy school a school that is known to the world as the Blackthorne Academy – a secret spy school for boys. After her fiasco with Josh last fall, Cammie isn’t sure she’s ready for daily encounters with boy spies – especially after she meets Zach an incorrigible cutie who everyone thinks is just perfect. Cammie is right to be worried about their new guests. Soon after the boys’ arrival, she’s blamed for a series of security breaches that leave the school’s top-secret status at risk. And the perfectly crushable Zach is her prime suspect. The Gallagher Girls will need to use all their skills to investigate the Frome Boys. Even though they’re confident about their guy-spying (as if they haven’t done it before!), the playing field is level this time, and the stakes for Cammie’s heart—and her beloved school— are higher than ever.
Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy is an exciting installment in the Gallagher Girls series, as now Cammie and Bex are on the CoveOps track, and are on their way to becoming field agents. Cammie promised her mother to not break rules this semester, but that was false as soon as it was made. Now, the fact that her mother and her teachers are keeping things from the student body means that it is time for her to investigate, especially with the introduction of the Blackthorne Boys as sort-of exchange students. She was already outwitted by Zach during a CoveOps mission, so their relationship begins a bit competitive and more or less on suspicious terms. She doesn’t trust him, and there are too many things they don’t know about Blackthorne so she is wary about his motives and his real personality.
A central theme of the book is legends vs reality. So, in this spy-vs-spy game of what is real, Cammie has to keep hold of her legend (that of a dutiful daughter) while also being herself (the Chameleon) – a tightrope that she doesn’t know how to walk on. The other interesting thing are the Boys themselves – they seem to be a counterpart boy-spies school, but there is something off about them. And her father’s history (or at least Joe Solomon) seems to intersect with the school, so there is something there.
Despite being a re-read, the fact that it has been a while means that I nearly got to enjoy this book as if I was reading it for the first time. I was in a state of perma-grin for most of the book, because Cammie is entertaining and humorous, and I loved hers and Zach’s dynamic (frenemies-turned-lovers is one of my favorite tropes). I look forward to re-introducing myself to further books in the series.