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Book Review: United We Spy by Ally Carter

Book Review: United We Spy by Ally Carter

Title: United We Spy
Author: Ally Carter
Genre: Young Adult, Spy
Publisher: Orchard Books
Publication Date: 5th September 2013
Goodreads Summary: Cammie Morgan has lost her father and her memory, but in the heart-pounding conclusion to the best-selling Gallagher Girls series, she finds her greatest mission yet. Cammie and her friends finally know why the terrorist organisation called the Circle of Cavan has been hunting her. Now the spy girls and Zach must track down the Circle’s elite members to stop them before they implement a master plan that will change Cammie—and her country—forever.

Book Review

NB. This review may contain spoilers for those that have not read the previous five books in this series. You can find my reviews of those books here:
I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have To Kill You
Cross My Heart and Hope To Spy
Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover
Only the Good Spy Young
Out of Sight Out of Time

It’s finally here. The finale to the Gallagher Girls series and I’m very sad to see it go. Each book in this series has been better than the last so I expected big things from United We Spy and Ally Carter did not disappoint. To briefly summarise what has happened in this series already: Cammie Morgan and her friends attend Gallagher Academy, an elite school for teenage, female spies. They are the best of the best, the creme de la creme, and despite the fact that they’re ‘just children’, they’ve managed to outsmart Interpol, the CIA, the FBI etc. countless times during their story.

Cammie, this story’s protagonist, finds out that the Circle of Cavan, an ancient terrorist organisation is after her because when she was a young girl, her father (who was also a spy), gave her a list of all the names of the leaders of the ‘inner circle’ of this organisation to keep safe. Being so young at the time, Cammie has absolutely no recollection of this list or the names on it but this doesn’t stop the Circle.

Cammie decides to leave Gallagher Acamedy to protect her friends and family but she gets caught by Catherine, the psychotic mother of her boyfriend, Zach, who tortures her for an entire summer trying to get the names on that list out of Cammie so that she herself can hunt down the members of the circle and kill them. Catherine is unsuccessful and Cammie manages to escape from her grasp; however, by the time she is rescued and brought back to Gallagher Academy, she has forgotten everything that happened to her that summer.

As Cammie and her friends try to retrace her steps that summer, things become clearer and clearer and then it becomes a race to beat Catherine to the secret hiding place where the list really is. Unfortunately, they don’t arrive in time and Catherine manages to get hold of the list. The only good thing about this is that The Circle no longer want Cammie dead and she’s not technically a threat to them anymore. This is when book six begins.

Cammie returns for her final semester at Gallagher Academy but things still aren’t right with the world. The Circle is planning something. Something big. As the Circle have moles everywhere, Cammie doesn’t trust the CIA, the FBI or Interpol to do their job and track down the circle members so she and her friends go on the run and try to figure out what the Circle is planning and how to stop them. The stakes are much higher on this mission, not just for themselves, but for the rest of the world.

United We Spy got off to a bit of a slow start, but once it did get going, man, it was explosive. The plot for this book was really interesting and everything in it was somehow connected to something that we’d found out in the previous books which was fascinating. I didn’t think that the mission itself that the girls went on was as good as it could’ve been but the thought and planning behind it and different plot strands that fed into was really interesting. It’s almost impossible to tell what’s going to happen next in this novel and there were several plot twists along the way.

The great thing about the Gallagher Girl books is that even though it’s a book about teenagers, for teenagers, the characters don’t seem like teenagers so you never question the fact that they’re teenage spies who are much smarter than the average adult. This book doesn’t feature so many gadgets or fancy technology which was great because it meant that so much more of this book was about really clever thinking which is much more interesting to read about.

The great thing about United We Spy is that pretty much every character that we’ve met in the previous books is included in this novel and is somehow part of the plot. Although some characters play much bigger roles than others, no one is forgotten and it was nice just to see a name that hadn’t perhaps cropped up in a while.

What makes me feel kinda sad is how much Cammie has changed over the course of this series. She has been dragged through hell and back but that same fire is still raging inside of her. I love Cammie because she’s still a very real character. She still gets scared, I mean, who wouldn’t be if the most powerful terrorist organisation was after you, but she is brave and self-sacrificing; she’s the best friend you’d want to have in real life.

Of course, there was some Zach and Cammie action which brought a smile to my face. The good thing about the romance in this series is that it talked about so much that it overpowers the main plot. This story gets darker and more serious with each book but little snippets of Zach and Cammie’s romance stops the book from becoming too heavy. I was glad that there was still an element of humour in this novel as well, something that we’d seen less and less of as the series went on but the flashes of romance and humour helps to keep this book grounded in the YA category and stops it from becoming a complete action/thriller/spy novel.

My one criticism of this book would be that I felt like occasionally the plot would jump forwards in time, be it ten minutes, an hour, or a day, without little indication that it had done so meaning that my brain had to a bit more work than usual in order to fill in the gaps. This was a little confusing at times, though, I would prefer this, than having to read lots of useless waffle.

If you’re a fan of the Gallagher Girls series then you need to get your hands on this book. United We Spy is a brilliant finale to a brilliant series with each and every lose end tied up leaving you completely satisfied, a feeling I rarely get at the end of a series. This book doesn’t really wind down in any way (that’s not the Gallagher way), it’s fast paced right until the end and I guarantee you’ll be flipping pages like crazy.

When you’re done with the Gallagher Girls series, check out Ally Carter’s Heist Society series.

Buy United We Spy by Ally Carter: 
Amazon | The Book Depository | Waterstones | Foyles

Check out my other Ally Carter book reviews:
I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have To Kill You
Cross My Heart and Hope To Spy
Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover
Only the Good Spy Young
Out of Sight Out of Time
Heist Society
Uncommon Criminals
Perfect Scoundrels

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Laura is a culture and travel blogger based in London. She studied French at Oxford University and now studies Law in London. She’s an avid reader and traveller and loves to combine the two with literary travel. Find her tips and reviews on the best reads, eats and destinations on whatshotblog.com.

Find me on: Web | Twitter



  1. victoria peña
    26th September 2013 / 1:16 AM

    sometime ago .. i wanted to read the serie .. but i don´t know … it has romance ? —-

    • Laura Hartley
      27th September 2013 / 7:02 PM

      Yeah!! The romance is sort of an undercurrent throughout the whole series. I guess it becomes less important as it goes along but the love interest, Zach, is a main character. I'd definitely recommend this series 🙂

  2. Alex Sharrock
    30th September 2013 / 6:48 PM

    I love this series! I need to get the last book asap. I agree with you when it comes to the books getting better. To be honest I was not all to keen on the first book but the plot is fab and it is now one of my favourites! 🙂 xx

    • Laura Hartley
      1st October 2013 / 5:07 PM

      I wasn't so keen on the first one either!! It was quite different to the rest of the books, sort of out of place! aha .. Hope you get your hands on a copy of United We Spy soon! 😀

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