Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book Review: I'd Tell You I Love You but Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter


Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school—that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses but it’s really a school for spies.

Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she’s an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real “pavement artist”—but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her?

Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she’s on her most dangerous mission—falling in love.


Completely unique and overall light and air, I'd Tell You I Love You but Then I'd Have to Kill You is a quick read with high interest. This book has an imaginative and descriptive world along with fun characters and a strong voice. It's also a great mix of teenage girl and the world Carter has built.

Cammie is a fun and sprightly character with a comical nature. Her asides and extra thoughts bring character and humor to the book. Despite her unconventional upbringing as the daughter of spies, and now a student of a secret spy school, Cammie's age still comes through the pages. Her relationship with her mom is close- for spies- and adds a great element to the overall story. Though seemingly the leader of her small group of friends, primarily because she's the narrator, Cammie gets along easily with people and shares her problems, for the most part, with them. The overall lack of any animosity between the set also makes this book a great, light read.

Bex and Liz are constantly present and their strong personalities also come through. Bex is tough skinned and would be able to hold her own in any fight even if she wasn't a spy, while Liz prefers the comfort of science over knowing how to take someone out with a magazine. Both girls add something to not only each other and Cammie but the plot as well. Macey, the new student and their roommate, also drives the plot in her own way. Josh is a great love interest- caring and sweet. The glimpses of his family life also make a great addition, overall, and build his character strongly.

One of the most entertaining aspects of this book was watching the girls try to decode boys. Isolated in an all girl's school, with little outside contact, boys are an even bigger mystery than normal. That is, until Macey shows up from a life of private schools and already knowing plenty about boys. Their conversations and determination to figure out Josh is filled with comical banter and scientific focus. The over analysis of most everything related to Josh is reminiscent of many teenage girls, spies or not, and holds a strong age-related element as a result.

The world is a fantastically well built one. Carter constantly slips in small things to bring the school and methods to life, along with remind the reader of the different mindset and view Cammie has a result of her upbringing. From Gallagher Girl inventions to underground top secret classrooms, Carter has not slacked off with her world.

The plot itself is entertaining, focusing both on introducing the characters and worlds while also sticking to the set premise. The pace stays steady with plenty of small things to fill in the gaps between the larger events and the final scenes are filled with action and entertainment. The writing is good, giving Cammie a strong voice and really seeming like something she'd say and holds a simplistic nature in terms of getting everything across.

Overall, this one is a great read when you're in the mood for a light pick me up. Despite some of the sadder parts, it maintains an upbeat air overall. Tying up much of the prominent plot points of this book, it also leaves things open for the next installment without any major cliffhangers in the process.

Source: Purchased

Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (March 20, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1423100042
ISBN-13: 978-1423100041


  1. This series is cute and funny. In my opinion, the books get better as they go. I just bought the fourth one and hope to read it soon. Glad to see that you enjoyed this one :)

  2. I read this book a few years ago - and it's not even the type of book I normally read! I just thought the title was funny.

    It's a very quick, light read for sure!

  3. Sounds like a quick, easy and fun read. Can't say I've seen this book around yet, but will be on the look out for it.