If you get a chance to attend an Ally Carter event, do it - she is engaging, fun, and clearly appreciates her readers. The signing I attended was well-organized and relaxed, but every author has to be tired after speaking for an hour or so and then sitting for at least as long to sign books and meet fans. She was incredibly gracious, happy to answer questions, and her young fans felt her love for the GG world she created.
The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women seems like any other all-girls boarding school to the unsuspecting public, but the young women attending the academy are receiving a curriculum guaranteed to produce some of the world's best spies.
Cammie Morgan and her friends, like Harry Potter and his cohort, constantly find that real-life mysteries are interfering with their educational goals. Each girl already has a code name, many of them have a spy pedigree as well. And then there's Zach - a handsome young man from the Blackthorne Institute for Troubled Young Men.
The six books in the series follow Cammie, Bex, Liz, and Macey as they destroy the villainous Circle of Cavan, piece by piece.
Ally Carter has created a world that young adventure seekers will enjoy entering for a while. As an adult, the story became predictable after a while and I began skimming rather than absorbing. But young readers will undoubtedly enjoy every moment of the action. The girls are gutsy, smart, and just rebellious enough to keep them in constant danger. The romances take a firm backseat to the spying, which should be refreshing to parents.
Carter's website is worth visiting. It's reader-friendly and includes deleted "scenes" that GG devotees will devour. She has a long list of answers to FAQs, previews to her new series, and many other features that clearly demonstrate her gratitude to her fans as well as her understanding of how easy it is to become obsessed with characters, a story, and an author.
If you know a tween or early teen whose love of reading is lagging - try these books. Have her read them all - in order!