Book Review – Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover

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Title: Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover
Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Format: Hardcover
Year: 2009

Cammie goes to visit Macey in Boston, where she is with her family on the road to the Presidential election. While following Macey’s agenda, the girls—and the potential First Son, Preston—get cornered on the roof, and attacked. Cammie gets Preston to safety, she and Macey drop down a laundry shoot, and all is fine. Fine if you ignore the fact that the Secret Service is now permanently at Macey’s side and Bex, Liz, and Cammie have a hard time letting her go out on the Presidential track without them.

Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter, the third in the Gallagher Girls series, is thus far my favorite of the series, and for numerous reasons. Minor spoilers ahead, but I by no means ruin the book.

1. The writing feels polished. Cammie’s a junior now, but the writing ages more than a typical teenager does between their sophomore and junior years. That’s not a complaint. There was less repetitive thought, Cammie wasn’t thinking everything through for the reader, and we were left wondering more often what exactly she was thinking. It made for a more enjoyable read.

2. Macey, up until this point, was not particularly developed. She was the odd girl out in the dorm, the roommate who had shown up late. When the book started, I had a feeling the girls knew her better than I did, that Macey had been hidden from me. This book fleshed her out, and I feel like the trio is now four.

3. Aunt Abby. Like the majority of the Gallagher Girls characters, there’s nothing surprising about Abigail Cameron; she’s the sassy, playful, secretive aunt that you would expect Cammie to have. That doesn’t mean you don’t love her anyway.

4. Zach, like Macey, was also more multi-faceted, and at the end of the book warrants a good “awwww!” moment, which the romantic in me loved. He earned the prize for my favorite line in the book when Cammie asks, “Why do I feel like I can’t trust you anymore?” and he responds, “Because the Gallagher Academy doesn’t admit fools.” Fabulous line, and he served as a perfect tension source for Cammie throughout the second half of the book.

5. Remembering that I am not this book’s intended audience (though is does invite me dip back into that world I belonged to ten years ago), I thought this one held the best message to teenage girls of the series. Yes, the moral—if you want to call it that—exists in the book’s title, but Carter really weaves it into the story. You can’t afford to judge people by their cover, no matter what kind of cover you’re talking about. It’s a great message, and a strong message, without being hit over the head.

6. It wasn’t 100% predictable. I read it fast enough that I didn’t give myself time to think out all the foreshadows, and I prefer it that way. When I reached the end and the plot twisted, I expected it, but not in “well, that was a predictable” way. You expected it in that you could see it. You the reader are not particularly surprised, but you’re concerned that Cammie IS. You’re experiencing Cammie’s reaction, and since your head is clearer than hers, you find yourself wanting to yell at her. It was a twist that drove the reader to be involved.

The book ends on a satisfactory note, but I’ve got to say, my mind’s reeling with the possibilities of where it’s going to go next, and I love it.

It didn’t take much for me to become an Ally Carter fan (seeing as half of what I’ve read this year has been Ally Carter). Only the Good Spy Young and its June release date can’t get here fast enough. The book ends on a satisfactory note, but I’ve got to say, my mind’s reeling with the possibilities of where it’s going to go next, and I love it.

Grade: A-

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