I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

February is Covert 
Super secret undercover ops is the norm this month. Some of our characters are secret spies, some are undercover operatives keeping the world safe. Some are running from a secret conspiracy. All are under wraps, on the down low, keeping it off the radar...you get the idea ;) 

Cammie goes to a school for geniuses. She speaks over 10 languages, can kill with a piece of pasta, and can practically disappear in any situation...which is why they call her "the Chameleon". By "they" I mean her sisters-in-arms at one of the most prestigious boarding schools in the world. Little do most people know, the Gallagher Academy is really a spy school for young ladies.
Now in her third year, Cammie and her friends can't wait for Covert Ops training. There is a new teacher who is drop dead gorg. This year is going to be amazing. On one of her trips to town, Cammie is surprised to find a boy watching her. Known for her ability to virtually disappear, this is a bit alarming. He even flirts with her. Oh my god, a Gallagher Girl flirting with a townie? This isn't good. Especially since Cammie's mom is headmistress (read: super awesome spy headmistress).

She can't help herself. She keeps sneaking out to see Josh, telling him little about her true self. Cammie claims to be home schooled, and covers her tracks. There is no telling what could happen if she told Josh the truth, right? Besides, what's the harm in a little normalcy? Her friends are by her side, helping to cover for her.

As classes continue, they are approaching the end of the term, and the Cove Ops final. She goes to meet Josh, and discovers her secret may not be quite so secret. Josh's best friend is determined to out her as one of the "snobby heiress" Gallagher Girls. He even goes so far as to try and infiltrate the campus! It's not advisable to break into a top security facility, armed to the teeth.

Cammie comes clean...well, she tells him that she is a Gallagher Girl. She just fails to mention exactly what that really entails. As soon as he walks away, someone kidnaps her! Apparently the Cove Ops final involves a hostage situation...can Cammie walk away from the one boy she's ever cared about? Can she manage to escape and pass Cove Ops? What's a girl to do?

This is a quick fun read. The characters could have used more depth, and the dialog was lacking, but I still enjoyed it. Who doesn't like spy girls (with lots of cool gadgets)? Very popular with the middle school crowd.
“I suppose a lot of teenage girls feel invisible sometimes, like they just disappear. Well, that's me—Cammie the Chameleon. But I'm luckier than most because, at my school, that's considered cool.
I go to a school for spies,” (Carter, 2006). 
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:
Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter (Gallagher Girls, Book 2)
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Model Spy by Shannon Greenland (The Specialists, Book 1)
The Squad: Perfect Cover by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (The Squad, Book 1)

Carter, Ally. (2006). I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You. New York: Hyperion Books for Children.

The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson (Jenna Fox Chronicles, Book 2)

Locke and Kara are awake. They have new, improved bodies. It's been 260 years since the accident that took their bodies, and all that time they waited. They are the Fox Inheritance; their consciousness uploaded into digital storage and forgotten...until now. Dr. Gatsbro has rescued them from their imprisonment. All those years they were alive, they were also aware. It was no peaceful darkness for them, and now everyone and everything they knew are gone, except Jenna.

The three had been in a fatal car accident, but she was saved (illegally) by her scientist father. She had set a new standard for medical advancement. The Jenna standard: 10% of your original brain must be intact for you to be considered "human." After all that time in the dark, Locke and Kara are hardly in possession of that. It becomes apparent after a potential client comes to visit Gatsbro's office that his intentions may not be honorable. He parades their new bodies around like they are floor models. Kara is the first to realize their purpose: to sell eternal youth. Their new bodies are estimated to last between 400 and 600 years, and while they are not impervious to harm, they are advanced in many ways. Their BioPerfect gel (blue goo under their skin) contains billions of biochips giving them untold advantages over normal humans.

Kara convinces Locke that they need to escape. They can't stick around and wait for the highest bidder. An opportunity presents itself, and they take it. On the run, they meet a freedom fighting cab bot named Dot who agrees to help them. They race to find Jenna. She's still alive after all this time. After all, it was her reconstructed body that served as a model for their own. They have a violent run-in with Gatsbro and his goons, but they manage to escape with the help of Miesha, who served as their "nanny" while they lived with Gatsbro. They are separated, and Kara goes her own way.

Locke knows that Kara has changed from the girl he once knew. He knows there is something dark and dangerous that grew in the dark. As they race to make it to Jenna before her, he fears the worst. He loves them both, but Kara has always been there for him. He is torn between his alliances, and when he finds Jenna he has a lot of questions. How could she have left them like that? How could she?

It's more complicated than he could have known. Jenna tried to save them, but she failed. She thought she had at least given them peace...but here he stands in front of her. She looks 17, just as he always remembered her (if a bit shorter), and it's hard to believe that 260 years have passed. Kara, however, is still to arrive...and Gatsbro and his goons must be on their way as well. There's no way he's giving up on his investment that easily!

They are on the run: illegal in every sense of the word, displaced and hunted. Can Locke find a common ground between his old life and this new strange world? What will happen between Jenna and Kara when they are finally reunited. Will Kara be pushed finally over the edge? Will they find a way to thwart Gastbro without exposing themselves to harm?
"We had a wordess moment, and it filled an empty part inside me. I felt the calmness of Jenna just like I did all those times when I sought her out in that endless black hellhole. She is not the enemy, I know that, but there are still too many secrets, and I can't shake the feeling that no matter where I go I will have to watch my back for the rest of my life," (Pearson pg. 193, 2011).
*Library Link*
If you liked this, check out:
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson (Jenna Fox Chronicles, Book 1)
The Miles Between by Mary E. Pearson
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles, Book 1)

Pearson, Mary E. (2011). The Fox Inheritance. New York: Henry Holt.

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (His Fair Assassin, Book 1)

It is 1485 Brittany. Ismae has born the mark of the devil all her life. Her mother took the herbs to get rid of her pregnancy, but she survived, albeit with an angry red scar. When her father arranges a marriage for her, she hopes that her new husband will treat her more kindly. Upon their first meeting, it is apparent that he will not. The very herbwitch who sold her mother the potion whisks her away to the Abbey of St. Mortain. He is of the old gods, the god of death. The Abbess offers Ismae a life without the need to rely on any man, and she accepts. "Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?" Those who were sired by death (marked with the scar) were also blessed with some gifts from St. Mortain. Ismae is immune to poison, and she is able to sense souls. She sees the marque that the wicked wear, that which marks them for St. Mortain's justice.

It is from the Sisters that she learns of the deadly arts: poisons, arms, culture, seduction...all the ways of an assassin. Her first and second missions are executed virtually without incident, and for her third she is to follow Duval to the court of the Duchess, his sister Anne. The Sisters live to protect the Duchy.

The subterfuge of Duval and Ismae being cousins is a farce. Everyone believes her to be his mistress, and they keep up appearances. He visits her room each night, although she spurns his advances. That is just too much. She must be vigilant, watching for the Marque of Mortain as well. Without further instructions from the convent, she is left to her own devices to watch and learn.

The political environment of the Duchy is volitile: Anne has not be crowned, nor has she married. It seems clear that her marriage will make or break the kingdom, and her father promised her to many suitors. Choosing one over the others may bring about war. While they try to arrange a marriage that will both fortify Brittany, and keep the Dutchess safe, precious time is lost. D'Albret is certainly the suitor with the most to offer, but he is an odious man.

Just when it seems all may be coming together, it falls apart. Left with few options, can Ismae carry out her duty...even if it means killing the person closest to her?

This period piece is a great example of feminist historical fiction mixed with fantasy elements. It has an interesting political dynamic, and it encouraged me to learn more about the "old gods" and mythology of this time period. Recommended for older high school. This book is scheduled to come out in April 2012.

"But the two sisters could not be more different. Amourna was happy and giving, but her sister, Arduinna, was fierce, jealous, and suspicious, for such is the dual nature of love. Arduinna had a ferocious and protective nature and did not care for the way Mortain was looking at her beloved sister. To warn him, she drew her bow, and let fly with one of her silver arrows. She never misses, and she didn't miss then. The arrow pierced Mortain's heart, but no one, not even a goddess, can kill a god of death.
Mortain plucked the arrow from his chest and bowed to Arduinna. 'Thank you,' he said, 'For reminding me that love never comes without cost,'" (LaFevers pg 342, 2012).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Beautiful Creatures, Book 1)
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

LaFevers, Robin. (2012). Grave Mercy. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Being a member of the IPCA (International Paranormal Containment Agency) is an important responsibility: who else could keep the majority of the world blissfully ignorant of vampires, mermaids, werewolves, and all the other paranormals. While she doesn't exactly qualify as a true paranormal, Evie can see through other's deceptions, glamours, or other magic. She can tell a vamp from a faerie just by looking.

That's why she's been doing the whole "bag and tag" routine since she was eight years old. It's also why she is a bit tired of the whole "living a double life" nonsense. She just wants to act like a normal teenager. Would it be so terrible for her to hang out with other kids her age, or go to school?

When someone breaks into IPCA headquarters and gets caught by Evie, at first she's scared to death. Then Water Boy (he's a shape-shifter), as she's calling him, turns out to be a pretty good guy. Some of the ideas she had about how other paranormals are treated may not be quite as clear cut as she first thought. When he tells her more about his life, she starts to have some doubts. She helps him escape, and they make their way back to his family. They live in a town full of paranormals! Vampires at the cafe, werewolves at the post office...this can't really work, right? But seemingly, it does. Those under protection know the consequences of not keeping their end of the deal.

Now that she's a fugitive, she knows she can't go back to the IPCA. She misses her friends...especially Lish (her best friend, the mermaid). But there is a bigger problem. There is someone out there killing paranormals. Someone who looks surprisingly like Evie.

Her ex, Reth (creepy faerie guy), has a way of always finding her. He seems to know about this other girl, and hints that Evie needs to be "filled," but it all sounds pretty sketchy to her. She just wants to act like a normal teenager. Lend (aka Water Boy) might actually have a thing for her. Why does disaster always have to rear it's ugly head?
“Eyes like streams of melting snow, cold with the things she does not know. Heaven above and Hell beneath, liquid flames to hide her grief. Death, death, death with no release. Death, death, death with no release,” (White, 2010). 
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:
Supernaturally by Kiersten White (Paranormalcy, Book 2)
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins (Hex Hall, Book 1)
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (Harlequin Teen, Book 1)
White, Kiersten. (2010). Paranormalcy. New York: HarperTeen.