Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy

Ally Carter
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Hyperion, 2007   ISBN: 978-1423100058

From the outside, the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women looks like a posh school for girls. What no one in the local town knows, is that the school is actually a place where girls are educated to become spies. The students learn many languages, how to blend in with a crowd, how to follow someone without being seen, how to get out of sticky situations (using violence when necessary), how break in (and out) of almost any building, and…well, you get the idea.

Last term, Cammie did the unthinkable, she fell for a town boy, broke out of school to see him, and broke numerous school rules so that she could keep her relationship going with him. In the end, the whole charade fell apart, the school authorities found out, and Cammie got into a lot of trouble.

Now, having had time over the winter break to think about what happened, Cammie is determined to keep out of trouble this term. The problem is that the moment she gets back to school she, and all the other students in the school, figure out that something is going on. The East Wing of the school has been declared off limits, and none of the students know why. Cammie also hears her mother talking about something called “Blackthorn.” Clearly some kind of covert activity is taking place in the East Wing, and it takes all of Cammie’s self-control not to use her considerable skills to find out what that is.

Then Cammie and her closest friends are flown to Washington D.C. to take part in a counter surveillance training exercise. To Cammie’s horror, she fails the exercise, and the person who succeeds in tailing her is a boy. A teenage boy. A cute teenage boy.  How humiliating. The good news is that Cammie will never have to see the boy again. Or so she thinks.

The very next day a group of boys arrives at the Gallagher Academy, and the boy who tailed Cammie the day before, Zach, is one of them. Now Cammie’s life is decidedly more complicated, and despite her ridiculously high IQ, she is not sure how to deal with all the changes.

This is, of course, a story packed with deliciously spyish doings, but it is also a story about a girl who discovers that growing up can be very confusing. Cammie may be able to speak fourteen languages, but she cannot understand boy at all, which puts her in situations that are both poignant and funny.

Readers who enjoyed the first Gallagher Girls title are sure to be tickled by this second foray into the world of teenage spies.