Book Review: Gallagher Girls – I’d Tell You I love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

After all, imagine if you were a fifteen-year-old girl standing alone on a deserted street on a dark night, preparing for a clandestine meeting, when, all of a sudden you can’t see anything because a pair of hands are covering your eyes. One second you’re standing there, being grateful that you’d remembered to pack a candy bar, and then . . .  POW . .  everything goes black.

Well, that’s what happened. But did I panic? No way. I did what I was trained to do-I grabbed the offending arm, shifted my weight, and used the force of my would-be attacker’s momentum against him.

It was fast. Really fast. Scary, these-hands-are-lethal-weapons fast.

Ally Carter: I’d Tell You I love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You, 2006. (ITYILYBTIHTKY)

My friend and I have been trading fun silly, girly books, and last week she lent me the first of Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girl Series ITYILYBTIHTKY. When I found out it was part of a Young Adult Series, I cringed at the idea because I’ve been reluctant to read the many books that are out there as the ones I’ve seen seemed to feature over the top dramatic vampiric and demon themes. (This isn’t necessarily bad, just not what i’ve been in the mood to read.)

Imagine my surprise to read a book that’s not only fun, but is something I completely would have read as a younger girl. Nancy Drew meets The BabySitters Club meets Alias, this book puts the smartest girls from around the world together in a private school gearing them towards work with the CIA, FBI, MI6 or any other lettered agency. But what happens when Cammie the Chameleon Morgan meets a boy who actually sees her while she’s on assignment? Well the girls assume he’s the enemy. Hi-tech high-jinx ensues as four girls too smart for their own good try to pass as normal, while pursuing their Cove-Ops Mission.

The book is a wonderfully refreshing read, where the narrator (Cammie) is completely at odds with herself. She strives to be the professional she’s training to become, all the while trying frantically to decode “boy”; a language even more complicated than swahili. She even alternates between Cove-Ops styled reports and her “OH. MY. GOSH!” exclamations as she ponders the ramifications of what those reports mean.

I loved this book. It would make a great teen girls movie, but I’m not sure if its actually in the making or not. I found myself back laughing at the picture perfect wording of the book, which made me feel like teenager again. I’m glad there are books like this out there for younger girls. I was the kind of “too smart for my own good” girl in school and reading books way too advanced for my age, so I’m not sure what age exactly is appropriate for the readers. But I think I would have loved the idea of there being a place where smart was cool, and not just relegated to being the uncool nerd friend needed to solve problems for the hero. I would have loved to play with pulley-systems and learned what could be gleaned from searching through garbage. It would have inspired the girl in me who has become fascinated with shows like CSI, the Pretender, Profiler, Bones and Criminal Minds. If you have a smart and curious girl who loves knowledge and information, I would highly recommend you get her this book. I can’t wait to read “Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy,” in fact, I think I’ll start reading it now.


After having read Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, I now take back my comment about it being a great teen girls movie. I think Disney or Nickelodeon should make it into a TV series. Can’t wait to read the next ones!