Book: Going Rogue (Also Known As)
Author: Robin Benway (@RobinBenway)
Age Range: 12 and up
Going Rogue is the sequel to Robin Benway's Also Known As (reviewed here). Set nearly a year after the events of the first book, teen spy Maggie Silver has been living a near-normal life in New York, spending time with best friend Roux and boyfriend Jesse. However, when her family's longtime employer, the shadowy "Collective" threatens Maggie's parents, the Silvers must "go rogue" to defend themselves. This causes some interpersonal difficulties for Maggie, who is hiding things from her loved ones to protect them. Eventually, everyone is in danger anyway, and on the run from a deceptively ordinary-looking villain. Hiding out in Paris and meeting up with other teen spies, does have its upside, however, especially for the reader.
Going Rogue maintains Maggie's engaging voice, and ramps up the action from the first book. There are some fun scenes that take place in the tunnels beneath Paris (reminiscent of the latest Kiki Strike book). I also appreciated seeing Maggie's relationship with her parents evolve a bit, as she gets older (now 17). Here are a few quotes that I enjoyed:
"How he wasn't melting in the heat, I had no idea, but that's Angelo for you. He's a perfect spy because he's like a mirage, like he exists outside of the world while still living in it. Sometimes it's hard to believe he's even real." (Chapter 2)
"I was trying to make him laugh, but all I got was a muscle spasm that was either a repressed smile or a minor stroke. It's hard to tell with parents sometimes." (Chapter 5)
""Maggie, you have a plan for everything. You always have your MetroCard ready to go so you don't hold everyone up at the subway turnstiles. You carry your keys poking out of your fist so that you can stab someone if you have to. You do homework every day at the same time--from four to six every afternoon, don't even try to deny it. You keep rain boots in your locker in case it rains. Trust me," Roux concluded. "You have a plan."
I think that last quote sums up Maggie quite well. Roux's character is similarly fleshed out more in this installment, though I still find Jesse a little bit of an enigma.
As far as content goes, there is occasional profanity, but a lot less drinking than in the first book (Roux is trying to clean up her act). There is a fair bit of kissing, and teenage couples do sleep in the same bed at times, but there's not overt indication of any actual sex taking place. There are attempted shootings and explosions and the like, along with other typical thriller devices, but the violence is more implied than overt. It's more a fun romp than a scary thriller. I can readily imagine it as a movie.
Going Rogue sets the stage nicely for a third Also Known As novel. It's not that there are loose ends, but there are new characters that we'd like to see again. I hope that's the plan, anyway, because I'll be reading. Recommended for fans of the Kiki Strike books, or anyone who would enjoy a forthy mix of teen interpersonal drama and international adventure. But do read the first book, Also Known As, first.
Publisher: Walker Children's (@BWKids)
Publication Date: January 14, 2014
Source of Book: Advance review copy from the publisher
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