Thursday, March 21, 2013

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Title: Also Known As
Author: Robin Benway
Narrator:  Robin Benway (the author!)
Series: stand-alone
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: February 26, 2013
Source: purchased, also received review copy via Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

Being a 16-year-old safecracker and active-duty daughter of international spies has its moments, good and bad. Pros: Seeing the world one crime-solving adventure at a time. Having parents with super cool jobs. Cons: Never staying in one place long enough to have friends or a boyfriend. But for Maggie Silver, the biggest perk of all has been avoiding high school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations.

Then Maggie and her parents are sent to New York for her first solo assignment, and all of that changes. She'll need to attend a private school, avoid the temptation to hack the school's security system, and befriend one aggravatingly cute Jesse Oliver to gain the essential information she needs to crack the case . . . all while trying not to blow her cover.

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.

Rating:   photo 4-1.png


  1. I loved this book it was so much fun. I am not sure why I didn't notice she was narrating her own book. I must have been spacing hard core. I think Roux was my favorite character. I loved her. Awesome review.

    1. Roux was definitely a favorite of mine, as well. Especially since she's navigating high school as a social pariah after having been a mean girl. :)

  2. The author narrating it? That is so cool! This book does sound like a whole lot of fun too!

    1. I thought it was super cool, too! I heard Libba Bray does Beauty Queens and she is awesome as a narrator, as well. Jen R says so, so it must be true, right? :P

  3. OMG! I didn't know Benway narrated her own book! If I had known that, I honestly would have purchased the audio, rather than reading it. I was cracking up several times... I just LOVED the author! I can only imagine how hilarious and amazing her reading her own book was. I will definitely have to look into her other books on audio... does she narrate them all? I'm totally super psyched over this discovery. Thanks for sharing!! :)

    1. Actually, after I commented on your review, I went in search of her other books on Audible, and sadly, they weren't there yet. :( Glad I bought that used copy of Audrey, Wait after all. :P


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