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I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You: 04/12/13

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I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter is the first of the Gallagher Girls series. Cammie Morgan attends an all girls boarding school that specializes in teaching young women how to be spies. During a covert operations exercise off campus, she meets a regular boy — Josh.

In the YA section of books, there seems to be an umpty-billion books set in boarding schools. Throw in Shojo Manga and the number comes close to infinity. OK — maybe it's not that high but it's certainly a popular (cliche) set up for YA aimed primarily at young women.

In many of the boarding school YAs I've read, the main character is usually a newcomer. She (and sometimes he) is usually an outsider (or at least feels like one). And more times than I care to count, said protagonist is there only because Mom (or sometimes both, but hardly ever just Dad) is taking a new teaching job for inexplicable reasons.

So where does Carter's book fall within this trope?

The newbie / outsider role goes to a different girl. She is more of a red herring than an actual plot device. It was frankly refreshing to have the narrator be a knowledgeable, regular part of the school.

Now there's the part of Josh — I'm not going to go so far as to call it a romance. It's not. He's a cute boy. He's not part of the school (obviously). He is her first crush. He is to Cammie, what the Love God is to Georgia Nicholson.

The lack of a love-triangle or an impending apocalypse is a big part of why I LOVE this book. Cammie despite her many spy talents (speaking 14 languages, for example) acts like a teenager. She gets a crush. She over reacts. She obsesses. And she learns from the experience.

Five stars

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