Book Review – I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You

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Title: I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You
Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Edition: Paperback
Year: 2006

This one requires a little background on how I came to even read this book. A couple of my friends had read it, but in general I ignore chick lit as a genre, so I didn’t pay it much attention. Then I went home for Thanksgiving and went back to talk to my dad. There it was, I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter, sitting on the bed, a bookmark half of the way through it. I gave him a hard time about reading chick lit, but he just shrugged me off, told me he’d give it to me when he finished. He handed it to me the next day; it came back down south with me, I didn’t touch it.

Now, two months is nothing for a book to sit around my place waiting to be read. I just figured I might as well start working through the pile I’d already started to accumulate on my nightstand.

So we have Cammie, Liz, and Bex, three best friends who are sophomores at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women. The cover: it’s a prissy rich girl’s boarding school. The reality: it’s a training ground for female spies. Cammie, our main character, is the daughter of the Headmistress, and feels some pressure to live up to the name of both her mother and her dead father, two very well-respected spies.

During her first covert operation, Cammie is met by a surprise: labeled the Chameleon for her ability to seamlessly blend in and go unnoticed, she gets noticed by Josh, one of the town high school students. Overcome by the fact that this one boy noticed her, Cammie gives him a secret cover and hides her activities while she sneaks out of the Academy to date Josh. As it would for any spy leading double lives, things get complicated.

First of all, Ally Carter’s writing is an absolute pleasure to read. It’s a YA book, therefore a fun read, and even though you can tell it’s geared to the teenage crowd, it’s still a lot of fun. I found myself comparing their dorm suite to my dorm suite and being fairly jealous, considering mine was nasty cinder block shaped like a gigantic Lego. Each one of the girls is unique, not astoundingly original, but not cliché either. They’re characters you enjoy spending a book with. I think Cammie’s mother, Rachel, is my favorite character thus far.

The book called me back to the 1966 Hayley Mills movie The Trouble With Angels, a sassy and fun film about two girls at a Catholic boarding school who don’t see eye to eye with the sisters who teach them. Though they tell very different stories, I couldn’t help but picture the St. Francis Academy while reading this book, giving each of the girls a pseudo second identity that goes with the girls in that film. (If you’re a fan of Ally Carter’s books, I would recommend that movie, by the way.)

I read this book in two days, and that was really only because I was casually reading it. I could’ve finished it in one if I just sat down and applied myself. This is a great, fast read, and I would recommend to anyone looking for a fast, slightly quirky read. And hey, apparently it even appeals to the 50-year-old male crowd. Who knew?

Grade: B+

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