First published in the UK in: 2011
By: Orchard Books
A spy-in-training, Cammie Morgan has a cover for every occasion. But what happens when she is forced to lose her cover to save her best friend, Macey? Cammie and her friends are determined to hunt down the group that threatens to tear their secret sisterhood apart. This time it's personal.
The first Gallagher Girls book was fun but throwaway fluff, but the second kept continuity and expanded the world and the mythology enough to make me think that this was a series worth following. The introduction of the boy's school and the mystery of what happened to Cammie's father, showed there was a serious arc developing beneath the bubblegum.
Don't Judge a Girl By Her Cover has a kidnapping mystery as its Plot A: Macey's father running is for the vice-presidency of the USA and when Cammie visits her on the campaign trail, masked strangers attack and attempt to abduct Macey. Cammie and her friends become fixated on protecting Macey and figuring out who wanted to snatch her and why. Alongside this, the subplots pick up the series arc as Cammie has many enigmatic encounters with the elusive Zach and her aunt Abby comes to the Gallagher Academy and drops serious hints that she has key information about Cammie's dad.
The best thing about these books is that they're quickly-paced and the story zips along, with something happening in every chapter. I didn't like this particular one as much as the previous two, because I'm not so interested in the character of Macey (give me an A plot centred around Bex, Ally Carter, and I'll be yours forever) and I also found myself getting irritated by the writing this time around. The series has its own distinct writing style, which I would normally appreciate, but in this one, I thought it was over-done and every second paragraph sounded like a TV voiceover had intruded onto the pages. Example: "All around me girls worried about test and projects. People opened letters from home. But I couldn't help but think about how the world is just a web of secrets. I kept wondering if there was any way to break free." Can't you just imagine that in the voice of the dead desperate housewife? I hope that's toned down in the next book.
And I will read the next book. I could never deny that this series is always a fun and easy read. I think a lot of my complaints are caused by the fact that I'm much older and grumpier than the target audience for these books, but I read them anyway, because they are addictive and enjoyable. Don't Judge a Girl By Her Cover also brought some very interesting things to the ongoing storyline: Aunt Abby seemed like a cliched super-spy at first, but it soon became clear that was part of the 'cover' she wears to hide her demons and I'm really excited to find out what her involvement was with Cammie's dad's death and also how hot Mr Solomon, Zach and Blackthorne are all tied up in it.
Overall: Not my favourite book, but bring on the next one.
Rating: 3 stars