First: I was supposed to be the T2T tours blog stop for TWENTY BOY SUMMER today, but that could not happen for various reasons. If you look to the right, at the sidebar, you will notice a graphic that will link you to the "20 Things in 20 Days" scavenger hunt. IBWB will be part of that activity, so I hope you enjoy it!
By Ally Carter
I enjoyed the first Gallagher Girls book, but did feel there were certain problems with the premise, as explained in my review of I'D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU BUT THEN I'D HAVE TO KILL YOU. CROSS MY HEART AND HOPE TO SPY was likewise enjoyable but not as awesome as I hoped. But I definitely enjoyed DON'T JUDGE A GIRL BY HER COVER, as I can tell the girls are growing up. (Although Bex and Liz need to get some of their own experiences in with boys or they'll never grow up to be true femme fatales.)
Josh, once more, just gets a cameo. That's fine; he was a first relationship. But Zach's role is increasing (or at least remains steady), and experience with boys could certainly help Cammie figure out what her possible love interest is up to. And she does want to know since he has a tendency to show up in tandem with trouble. It doesn't help that trouble hasn't been far at hand since Macey and Cammie were attacked during Macey's father's campaign. These weren't amateurs either. These were professionals, prepared for them to be Gallagher girls rather than normal teens.
I enjoy the spirit of Cammie, Macey, Bex, and Liz. They clearly enjoy spying and ferreting out secrets. It does seem like Gallagher Academy needs to teach its exceptional young women when to abort a mission. Their tendency, especially Cammie's, to get involved in dangerous situations often crosses over from clever and brave into foolhardy. I do like that Macey got more attention in this one as the "damsel in distress," since the other two focused more on Cammie and her love life. It helped bring out the ensemble, and their chemistry and wit are a greater part of what makes the series fun rather than the almost disposable boys.
That said, I really loved the twist at the end. I didn't expect it, but it makes sense, and it puts things into a very exciting place for the fourth Gallagher Girls novel. Ally Carter ups the ante and I can't wait to see where she goes with the girls' spring semester. Oddly, that reminds me, that Macey – who experienced regular life before she came to the Academy – does get the chance to begin developing her own life. Just as the tough girl would not want, it's really cute. While we don't see much of her guy, none of what we do see in DON'T JUDGE A GIRL BY HER COVER makes him look a jerk. He even sees past her cover and isn't bothered to be with a girl more capable, in certain situations, than him.
While I found the first two slightly disappointing, there's more reason to why Carter's series is popular than the awesome titles. She's got a nice sense of humor and it is fun to read about girls who support each other rather than tear each other down. It doesn't hurt that there's spy hijinks afoot either. Since I'm currently annoyed by the weak-willed protagonist of the book I'm reading as I write this review, I'll also say that it's good to read about teen girls who strive to be as mentally and physically capable as possible. And yes, things really are more exciting now that enemy spies are coming into play.