Going Rogue – Robin Benway
Being permanently based in a local New York City high school as an undercover operative has its moments, good and bad, for 16-year-old safecracker Maggie Silver. Pros: More quality time with her former mark-turned-boyfriend Jesse Oliver and insanely cool best friend, Roux. Getting to spend quality time with her semi-retired and international spy honorary uncle, Angelo. Cons: High school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations. But when Maggie’s parents are falsely accused of stealing priceless gold coins, Maggie uses her safecracking skills to try and clear their names. Too bad it only serves to put her and everyone she loves in danger. Maggie and her “new team” flee to Paris where they must come up with a plan to defeat their former allies.
I’ve said it before: I’m a big fan of Robin Benway’s first novel, Audrey, Wait!. You know how people (people like me) say certain songs are their “jam”? Audrey, Wait! is basically the novel version of my “jam”.
That being said, when I read the first book in her AKA series, I didn’t love it. I liked the ideas and I liked the characters, but a lot of it felt like Audrey minus the music and plus a bunch of spy equipment.
The same goes for the sequel, Going Rogue, but for whatever reason, I liked this one more. Sure, there may have been some plot holes and I was a smidge confused about the mystery at first, plus the characters haven’t changed much since my initial impression of them, but it was a very quick, fun read.
Maggie and Jesse’s relationship is cute, and I think I like him more in this one than in the first (he still can’t hold a candle to James, Audrey’s boyfriend, but I flippin’ love James, so that’s not his fault). Granted, I didn’t have to read too much relationship drama/secret-keeping since he already knew she was a spy, but they were sweet together.
I also liked Roux’s love interest. Yes, it was insta-love and some other reviews complained about how quick it seemed, but a) it’s a YA novel – insta-love is pretty much expected and b) Maggie is a SPY. If you can suspend your disbelief long enough to accept her role in the Collective (plus the whole plot of the first book), then you should be able to accept Roux falling in love with someone who actually pays attention to her and doesn’t just use her. Even if the whole thing only happened in the course of like three days.
Their escape to Paris was perhaps a bit dramatic but interesting; I’ll admit, I was quite worried about Maggie’s parents after the shootout, but of course it was a happy ending. I’m NOT complaining about that; while I often like unhappy endings, killing off a major character would have definitely robbed the book of its light-hearted vibe.
My favourite part, however, was Angelo. He was the best character in AKA and he remained the best here too. His relationship with Roux is so sweet.