Investigating the Hottie by Juli Alexander
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 219 pages
Reviewed By:Kate McMurry
Fifteen-year old Amanda Peterson has assumed for years that her 30-something Aunt Christie is a fun but flaky professional student. Turns out it was just a cover. Christie is a covert agent for the Global Agency for Shared Intelligence--GASI. Not only that, she has been secretly supplying Amanda with advanced training in foreign languages and high-tech, 007-type gadgets via GASI-funded, innocuous-sounding front groups. Christie and her partner, Nic, a gorgeous hunk Christie's age with whom Christie is constantly verbally sparring, want Amanda to help them either prove or disprove the guilt of a 17-year-old hacker. GASI likes to delicately handle preliminary investigations of hackers who are minors in order to avoid unnecessarily, and unjustly, invoking the harsh procedures required by the draconian anti-terrorism laws.
After initial difficulties convincing Amanda she isn't nuts, Christie successfully recruits and prepares her niece to go undercover as a spy, including constantly wearing a tiny video-recording device which picks up anything Amanda is looking at. Amanda is excited about her huge adventure, especially the part where she gets to pretend she's 16 at a ritzy private high school called Princeton Academy, with many more amenities than her own public school back home. But things start getting sticky when she meets her target. Will is good-looking, popular, head of the soccer team, and an excellent student. Everyone who knows him adores him, and Amanda soon finds herself falling under his spell as well.
This book is funny in a number of ways: the whole wacky spy setup is great, and Amanda's struggles to orient herself in the wild world of espionage is endlessly entertaining. I loved the comic bickering between Christie and Nic that covered up potent sexual chemistry. Best of all are the knots Amanda twists herself into as she develops inappropriate romantic feelings for her quarry. It is impossible for her to resist sweet, handsome Will when he is clearly attracted to her as well.
There is a very satisfying, positive resolution to this book with no loose ends, but there is plenty of potential for more stories set in the comic GASI spy world. I personally hope the author chooses to write them, because I would love to read more of Amanda's adventures with her eccentric aunt.
This is a "clean read," appropriate for readers as young as 11 or 12, but it is a clever enough story that all ages will enjoy it. Fans of the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter will be particularly delighted with this book.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book through NetGalley.
I rate this book as follows:
Chick Lit Plot: 5
Romance Plot: 5