Author: Robin Benway
Narrator: Robin Benway (the author!)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: February 26, 2013
Source: purchased, also received review copy via Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible
Also Known As was a pretty freakin' cute read, er, listen. I had a review copy, but I didn't get to it in a timely fashion, and it kind of fell off of my review schedule, but it sounded kind of awesome, so I didn't let myself forget about it entirely. When I saw it pop up on Audible AND that the author herself was narrating, I knew it was fate.
Having the author read you her story is the epitome of good narration. Seriously. Who knows their material better? Who better to voice the character's every feeling, their agitation, their triumphs? No one, that's who. Robin Benway narrating this book was pure genius. She has a knack not just for different voices but also for conveying the emotions of her characters. Benway knows exactly how her characters are supposed to sound, and it really shines through in the audio. Truthfully, I hope she continues this trend and narrates all of her audiobooks. Nay, not just hers but other YA novels, as well. She. Is. Awesome.
But her narration wouldn't have been near as great if the story hadn't held up its end of the bargain. What girl didn't/doesn't like to play dress up or the part of the sexy spy, a la Alias? Well, for Maggie, that all comes with the job. Sort of. Okay, maybe not at all because of her skill set...until she was forced to attend an honest-to-goodness high school and act the part of a normal teenage girl. But Maggie is all, "Whoa, is me," and not at all sure she can carry out her latest mission.
Maggie is a bit...sheltered. That's probably the best word for it, despite the fact that she's a safe-cracking prodigy. She's moved around a ton with her family of spies and hasn't ever really had the opportunity to make friends, go to school, or attend normal social functions like other peers her own age. Maggie is a bit different, if not awkward, and it's never been more clear to her than on her first day of high school. Thank goodness she has Roux to show her the ropes. Roux was a great sidekick, the kind of girl you'd want to befriend if you were different because she goes against the grain herself. And it also doesn't hurt that Maggie's mark is ridiculously cute and charming. Okay, actually, that kind of doesn't help with the mission, but having something pretty to look at while you work never hurt anybody, right?
Honestly, though, it's Maggie's sardonic attitude that made this book. I find spunky, good-hearted characters like her entirely appealing. And the whole cloak and dagger bit is kind of fun, as well. Plus, there are great parental role models in the picture, which I will never ever complain about.
All in all, a funny read that's fun to read and even funnier to listen to.