I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter Review

I think I have just found a real gem in this book! Wew! This was such a FUN read. It was like watching a younger version of Charlie’s Angels combined with the cartoons Totally Spies (if you’re familiar with that one) and of course, a little bit of Nancy Drew.  The addition of the headmistress and the professors, and the large mansion where the Gallagher girls stay reminds me of Harry Potter. I should have started this series when it was first released in the market. Believe me, it was that good.

The book was actually written in Cammie’s point of view since, it was her first Covert Operations Report, summarizing what happened last semester. It contains all her mischiefs and the undercover operations she conducted together with her friends, Bex, Liz, and Macey.

Cammie or Cameron Morgan, who was also known as The Chameleon is a student of the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women. Her parents were once spies too and as a matter of fact, her mother is the Headmistress of the Gallagher Academy.

Of course I would not forget the girls. Who would forget Rebecca Baxter, Elizabeth Sutton, and Macey McHenry? Rebecca a.k.a. Bex, the ultimate spy. Elizabeth a.k.a. Liz, the genius who can rival Einsteins’s IQ, and of course, Macey. She’s the newcomer and a senator’s daughter. She did not easily get close with the other girls but because of her knowledge about boys, fashion, and makeup, she became friends with them.

Learn Her Skills, Honor Her Sword, and Keep Her Secrets

Just to give you a background on their school, it is officially called Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women. To outsiders it is just a school for snooty boarding school for bored heiresses with no place else to go. That front is backed up by the enormous mansion where the girls live. Some were also led to believe that the academy if for geniuses and students are free to pursue any career that befits their exceptional education. Unbeknownst to other people, the school actually trains girls to become future spies and most of which require undercover operations. The school is fully equipped with the latest gadgets, skilled professors and has rigorous training activities to help prepare the students for their future jobs.

“Why do you come?” my mother asked.

“To learn her skills. Honor her sword. And keep her secrets.”

“To what end do you work?”

“To the cause of justice and light.”

“How long will you strive?”

“For all the days of our lives.”

I love the concept of the Academy. I love the high tech gadgets described in the book. One of which was the Evapopaper – where they put the class schedules – and which easily evaporates when put on tongue, the tiny objects attached to ordinary items which also functions as gadgets. I also love the hidden passages, the subjects thought, the practical exam, the professors, and the main characters!

Points to Remember as a Gallagher girl:

  • There are three things a person has to be before they show up uninvited on the doorstep of the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women: persistent, powerful, and completely out of other options.
  • “When conducting manual surveillance on a subject in a three-man rotation, the person with visual contact is the eyeball. The person within sight of the eyeball is the backup. And the final person is the reserve.”
  • Don’t hesitate, but be patient. Be logical—trust your instincts. Follow protocol—improvise. Never let your guard down—always look at ease.
  • But here’s the thing about spy truth: sometimes it isn’t enough to achieve your mission objectives. Sometimes you need more, and even though I didn’t want to do it, maybe it’s only fitting that a relationship that started with a lie would end with one.
  • Here’s the thing you need to know about surveillance: it’s boring. Sure, sometimes we blow stuff up and jump off buildings and/or moving trains, but most of the time we just hang around waiting for something to happen (a fact that almost never makes it into the movies), so I might have felt pretty silly if I were a normal girl and not a highly trained secret-agent-type person as I sat on that park bench, trying to act normal when, by definition, I’m anything but.
  • Learn your legends early. Learn them well. The split second it takes you to recall something your cover identity would know is the split second in which very bad people can do very bad things. Most of all, remember that going into deep cover does not mean approaching subjects. It means putting yourself in a position where the subject approaches you.
  • Here’s the thing about lying: a part of you has to mean it—even if it is a tiny, sinister shred that only lives in the blackest, darkest parts of your mind. You have to want it to be true.
  • Spies are wise. Spies are strong. But, most of all, spies are patient.

Cammie is going to be a Sophomore and it will be the first time that they will be assigned an actual fieldwork and be exposed to real spy stuff. While doing their first undercover operation, Cammie was noticed by a teenage guy. He SAW her and that was a first, because Cammie was not called The Chameleon for nothing. And that started the awesomeness of Cammie’s semester.

Am I good at going unnoticed because of my spy genetics or because I’ve always been shy? Or am I just the girl people would rather not see—lest they realize how easily it could happen to them.

But sometimes, as a girl, she asked herself if she was really that unnoticeable. Her mom was a great-looking woman – considered hot by her friends. She wasn’t really that confident so it was really a big deal when Josh noticed her.

One of the dilemmas here is that it is almost next to impossible for a Gallagher girl to have a relationship with an outsider. Enter Josh Abrams. The first guy who noticed Cammie. It would have been easier to just reason out and leave him if he did not look like a cross between a young George Clooney and Orlando Bloom. Yeah, who would be able to resist that, right?

And that’s when I couldn’t ignore it anymore: the universal truth that, despite our elite education and genius IQs, we didn’t know boys. DeeDee, with her pink paper and ability to make the big, puffy J’s, might have known the significance of a boy like Josh putting her perfect pink note in the trash, but we sure didn’t. The boy of my dreams may have been as close as the town of Roseville—just two miles, eighty security cameras, and a big honking stone fence away, but he and I would never speak the same language (which is totally ironic, since “boy” was the one language my school had never tried to teach me).

Gallagher girls might be bad-ass but when it comes to boys, their practically idiots. Cammie together with the other girls did an Operation Josh. Really, these girls come up with the most genius ideas! They were really having fun doing their investigation and even doing their write up. Here’s a part of it.

Summary of Surveillance Operatives: Cameron Morgan, Rebecca Baxter, and Elizabeth Sutton (hereafter referred to as “The Operatives”)

After observing a Gallagher Academy operative (Cameron Morgan) on two routine assignments, The Operatives concluded that a young man (known at the time only as “Josh,” aka Tell-Suzie-she’s-a-lucky-cat boy) was a POI (Person of Interest).

The Operatives then began a series of recon operations during which they observed the following:

The Subject, Josh Adamson Abrams, resides at 601 North Bellis in Roseville, Virginia.

Known associates: a scan of The Subject’s online activity revealed that he routinely e-mails Dillon Jones, screen name D’Man,(also of North Bellis Street)—typically in regard to “really awesome” video games, “lame” movies, “my stupid” dad, and school assignments.

Occupation: sophomore at Roseville High School-home of the Fighting Pirates. (But evidently not fighting too hard, since a further search revealed that their record is 0-3.)

GPA: 3.75. The Subject exhibits difficulty in calculus and woodworking. (Rules out career as NSA code breaker and/or home improvement television “Sexy Carpenter Guy.” Does NOT eliminate possibility subject looks hot in a tool belt.)

The Subject appears to excel at English, Geography, and Civics (which is great because Cammie is English-speaking and very civil!).


Mother, Joan Ellen Abrams, 46, housewife and very experienced pie baker.

Father, Jacob Whitney Abrams, 47, pharmacist and sole proprietor of Abrams and Son Pharmacy.

Sister, Joy Marjorie Abrams, 10, student.

Unusual financial activity: none, unless you count the fact that someone in the family is way too into Civil War biographies. (Can this be a possible indication of Confederate insurgents still living and working in Virginia? Must research further.)

Respectfully submitted, Cammie, Bex, and Liz

So against what her academy thought them, she thought of ways for her to meet him, even conjuring several lies just to cover her identity. But then when an unexpected thing came up, she doesn’t have any other choice but to choose between him and the girls. Does she have a plan? Apart from her boy problem, will they pass their Covert Operations Practical Exam? I guess you’ll have to read the book and see for yourself.

5 stars

5 stars


🙂 written by: Milka 🙂

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