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I'd Tell You I Love You but Then I'd Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls #1) by Ally Carter

Updated on November 20, 2016

Before Reading:

"I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You" is yet another book that I saw in the books section at work which sounded so interesting I couldn't pass it up. The book turned out to be the first in what ended up being a six-book series. This series is one of my favorite young adult girls' series. The series has a lot of action and adventure and a little bit of romance, as well. Which is all a long way of saying that I am very much looking forward to rereading the series.

I loaned my copy of "I'd Tell You I Love you But Then I'd Have to Kill You" and the second book in the series, "Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy," to a coworker who, erm, unexpectedly left our employer and so now I have to buy a new copy. Until I can get around to it, though, I checked out an ebook copy from my library. I am currently on a waiting list for the ebook of "Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy."

After Reading:

Yep. I still love this book as much as I always have.

The "Gallagher Girls" series is about a spy school for girls. They describe themselves as a school for geniuses, and all of the girls are, indeed, geniuses. However, in addition to the regular subjects such as math, science, and English, Gallagher Girls also take courses in martial arts, foreign language (they have to converse in selected languages at mealtimes), cultures of the countries of the world, and something called "Culture and Assimilation," which is a sort of finishing school curriculum designed to help them fit in at society functions where they may be assigned.

The protagonist of the series is Cameron "Cammie" Morgan. Her mother, Rachel Morgan, is the headmistress of Gallagher Academy. Her father went on a mission and never came home. As "I'd Tell You I Love You, but Then I'd Have to Kill You" opens, Cammie shares a four-girl suite with her two best friends, Elizabeth "Liz" Sutton and Rebecca "Bex" Baxter.

One of Carter's strengths is the humor. Cammie's attitude of fond pride and also wry amusement towards Gallagher Academy is a joy to read. The book is written in first person and so Cammie is free to make little asides to the reader, such as one of my favorite scenes, when Cammie's mom is explaining the Gallagher Academy to the parents of a prospective student:

<i>"We have graduates working all over the world," Mom said, and I thought, Yeah, as spies. "We focus on languages, math, science, and culture. Those are the things our graduates tell us they've needed most in their lives." As spies. "By admitting only young women, our students develop a sense of empowerment, which enables them to be highly successful." As spies.</i>

There are also references to a number of highly improbable ops referenced including coming home from Istanbul with a nuclear warhead in a hatbox and killing someone with a thong (whether the footwear or the underwear is meant is unclear).

Why did I specify above that they have a four-girl room? Because the prospective student that Cammie's mom is talking to in the above quote, Macey McHenry, joins the student body at Gallagher Academy, and she ends up taking the fourth spot in the girls' suite. Macey is a sophomore but she has missed most of the curriculum so she is put in with the eighth-grade girls for her classes. This means that she misses a course added to the curriculum in sophomore year, Covert Operations.

When Cammie, Liz, and Bex are on a covert operations field exercise Cammie meets a boy, Josh, who is watching her from across the street. This is surprising because no one sees Cammie unless she wants to be seen, and Cammie was being unseen at that point. Liz and Bex are worried that Josh might be a spy assigned to get information on the Gallagher Academy by romancing Cammie and if that had been his intention, it would have worked, because Cammie does end up getting romantically involved with Josh.

"I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You" is a sweet book of first love, first kisses, and multiple escapes from a high-security facility.


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