Sunday, July 5, 2015

Review: They Call Me Alexandra Gastone by T.A. Maclagan

Review: They Call Me Alexandra Gastone

By T.A. Maclagan

Blurb: When your life is a lie, how do you know what’s real?

Alexandra Gastone has a simple plan: graduate high school, get into Princeton, work for the CIA, and serve her great nation.

She was told the plan back when her name was Milena Rokva, back before the real Alexandra and her family were killed in a car crash.

Milena was trained to be a sleeper agent by Perun, a clandestine organization from her true homeland of Olissa. There, Milena learned everything she needed to infiltrate the life of CIA analyst Albert Gastone, Alexandra’s grandfather, and the ranks of America’s top intelligence agency.

For seven years, “Alexandra” has been on standby and life’s been good. Grandpa Albert loves her, and her strategically chosen boyfriend, Grant, is amazing.

But things are about to change. Perun no longer needs her at the CIA in five years’ time. They need her active now.

Between her cover as a high school girl—juggling a homecoming dance, history reports, and an increasingly suspicious boyfriend—and her mission in this high-stakes spy game, the boundaries of her two lives are beginning to blur.

Will she stay true to the country she barely remembers, or has her loyalty shattered along with her identity?

Genres: Young Adult, Thriller

Publication Date:May 20, 2015

Series: N/A at this point (though there seems to be a sequel coming)

Pages: 226

My Rating: 3.5 stars

I started out really not liking this book, because as far as the spy things go, there was NOTHING aside from the very first couple of pages. When I read spy novels, I expect at the very least a couple things that make me think "James Bond" or "Gallagher Girls" or...something. But Alexandra(?...I mean, according to the title, they DO call her that, even if she really...isn't.) doesn't really do a whole lot of that at first, and when she does, it's rather subdued in comparison to many different spy novels.

That's the point, I guess. Alexandra doesn't WANT to be a spy. She wants to be Alexandra, the granddaughter of a nice old man with a normal-ish life. But she doesn't have that, because she works for a terrorist organization in a country called Olissa.

I have to be honest, I don't think Alexandra is *that* good of a spy. She makes a few royal screwups here and there, which doesn't make that much sense considering the rigorous training she was put through. I was thinking, when I first started, that her character would be more like Natasha Romanov, who can seemingly do no wrong. But it's okay, I guess. My fault for assuming things.

Her character does get better as the book goes along. Her conflicting feelings are a major part of the story, and it really is a bit of a Catch 22, which is super interesting to read about. Should she serve Perun, which wants her to do terrible things to people she loves, or should she betray them and face grave consequences? It only got worse when I found out exactly how she came to be an agent for Perun. The poor kid really got the short end of the stick.

But, like I said, the plot does take a while to get to the point where I was really into the story. I feel like the beginning was really dragging. Alexandra's normal life was exentuated, with only little bits of "spy things" sprinkled in, and that really annoyed me. I WANT ACTION AND HEARTBREAK AND SECRET MISSIONS AND I WANT THEM NOW.

I think someone else with less previous expectations would enjoy this book more than I did, because everything I was expecting really hindered my enjoyment of what the story ended up being.

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