Author: Kristen Orlando
Find the author: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram
Publisher: Swoon Reads, Macmillan
Publication date: January 10th 2017
Source: ARC from Raincoast Books (thank you!)
Fighter, Faker, Student, Spy.
Seventeen-year-old Reagan Elizabeth Hillis is used to changing identities overnight, lying to every friend she’s ever had, and pushing away anyone who gets too close. Trained in mortal combat and weaponry her entire life, Reagan is expected to follow in her parents’ footsteps and join the ranks of the most powerful top-secret agency in the world, the Black Angels. Falling in love with the boy next door was never part of the plan.
Now Reagan has to decide: Will she use her incredible talents and lead the dangerous life she was born into, or throw it all away to follow her heart and embrace the normal life she's always wanted? And does she even have a choice at all?
Find out if you are ready to join the Black Angels in the captivating and emotional page-turner, You Don't Know My Name, from debut novelist Kristen Orlando!
Review: You Don’t Know My Name by Kristen Orlando
I came into You Don’t Know My Name hoping for an Ally Carter like spy story. And knowing Swoon Reads, I expected a fast-paced book with a lot of romance. This book is definitely not Ally Carter, but it does do an okay job with the whole “normal girl who is secretly a spy” idea.
I liked Reagan and her friendships, and I enjoyed the romance with her neighbour Luke. I also appreciated that the author took her time showing us Reagan’s teen life and what she leaves behind every time her spy family has to move away from a place. The book masquerades as a cute contemporary for a long time. It was a really clever way to lull the reader into submission; made the transition from high school to action/mission that much more of a contrast.
While most of the book was predictable, the back third of You Don’t Know My Name was definitely earned and pretty shocking. There’s a marked change in the speed of the writing. I was actually surprised by how one character’s arc played out, which I really appreciated – it’s hard to fool me! The author was not afraid to go to some really dark places with the story.
I think where You Don’t Know My Name fell down for me was in writing – there was a ton of telling and not showing, especially with Reagan’s emotions. I really wanted her to just act and for us to figure out why she was doing things a certain way. But the author seemed intent on spelling out the meaning of everything. There was no subtlety to the book, and that was frustrating, given that Reagan is supposed to be an amazing liar/spy.
The Final Word:
Overall, I enjoyed You Don’t Know My Name. It was a quick read, and pretty light. I would probably recommend it to younger readers who aren’t afraid of going darker or more violent. I’m on the fence on whether I’ll pick up the second book – there is more story here for sure, but I’m not sure the writing is for me.
YOU DON’T KNOW MY NAME is out now in bookstores. Will you be reading it? Are you a fan of spy books? Are you okay with violent reads? Let me know in the comments!