The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women is a private boarding school for geniuses looking to realize their full potential. As spies.
Of course the students are free to pursue any career that befits their exceptional educations. But when that education includes advanced encryption, learning fourteen languages and advanced martial arts . . . well let’s just say it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what it means.
At the start of her sophomore year at the Gallagher Academy Cammie learns that Gallagher Girls might know how to tap phones, surveil, and hack computers but when it comes to being a normal teenager their educations are sorely lacking. Turns out sometimes, even for a genius, being a girl spy really is more about being a girl than a spy in I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You (2006) by Ally Carter.
I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You is the first book in Carter’s Gallagher Girls series.
This book is a fun blend of girl power action, humor, cool spy tech and just a fun story. Cammie and her friends are exceptionally fun to read about. Carter hits the perfect blend between fun and serious as well as realistic and old fashioned made up details (two words: Napitime patches).
Though not quite as sleek as her later novel Heist Society, this book does have a frank, honest style fitting for a book filled with characters keeping secrets. The middle of the story was a bit frustrating, but maybe ultimately authentic, as Cammie struggles to determine her priorities and her own place as a Gallagher Girl.
I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You isn’t quite a fantasy (in the same way that James Bond movies are not quite fantasy but kind of are) but Carter’s world building is fantastic. Cammie’s evocative narration will draw readers right into the dangerous, exciting world of the Gallagher Girls in this story that is equal parts Bildungsroman, adventure and fun.
Possible Pairings: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger, Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, The Agency by Y. S. Lee, Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City by Kirsten Miller, Divergent by Veronica Roth, These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas, Paranormalcy by Kiersten White