Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Review: Going Rogue by Robin Benway

Title: Going Rogue (Also Known As, #2) 

Author: Robin Benway

Rating: 4 Stars

Note: This review contains no spoilers for Also Known As, the first book in this series, but it does hint at events from Also Known As during the brief synopsis to provide context for this novel. You can read my review of Also Known As here.  

I honestly didn't expect to fall in love with this series as much as I did. I tend to gravitate towards darker contemporary fiction featuring teens on the cusp of adulthood and yet, Benway's entertaining spy thrillers have managed to establish their own niche in my heart. In Going Rogue, Maggie, a safecracker whose life has been spent working for a spy agency known as the Collective, has finally settled down for the first time in her life. She's been in New York City for nearly a year now, spending her days alongside her best friend, Roux, and boyfriend, Jesse. Though Maggie longed for the chance to be just another normal teenage girl, now that the highlight of her days are SAT prep classes, she is forced to admit that she's bored. As much as she thought she could suppress being a spy, the fact of the matter remains that deep down, being a spy is more than just a profession; it's who she is.

When the Collective turns against Maggie's parents, however--a retaliation after Maggie exposed the chink in their armor in Also Known As,--Maggie takes it upon herself to find the evidence that will prove her parents' innocence. With the help of Angelo, the man who is practically an uncle to her, Maggie swears to save her family, all while maintaining the new relationships she's formed since arriving to NYC. While Also Known As charmed me with its down-to-earth narration and genuine honesty, Going Rogue stole my heart with its all-too-believable hurdles and heart-warming difficulties. As easy as it may be, physically, for Maggie to return to former skills in order to save her parents, it's a mental strain as it means she must distance herself from her best friend and boyfriend. After getting Roux and Jesse involved in her life a year ago, Maggie has no desire to put them in harm's way again and though she has their best interests at heart, it isn't easy to navigate those relationships.

Both Roux and Jesse understand and support Maggie, but they also want her time and presence in their lives. For Roux, who is used to being left behind by her absentee parents, the thought of Maggie going undercover instantly equates to Maggie leaving. I love the friendship between Maggie and Roux but it undergoes its rough patches in this novel, though it certainly emerges stronger for it. Similarly, Jesse and Maggie face their own struggles in their relationship but, what I love about these two is how perfectly they balance one another out, especially in times of turmoil. Despite any hurdles in their path, they face them down together and Benway writes their romance with plenty of swoon, despite the lack of steam. In fact, that's what makes their love story all the more adorable and swoon-worthy; the little things.

Going Rogue introduces a handful of new characters, all of whom I loved, and it continues to feature a stellar example of faithfully realistic parent-child conversations. Angelo, who I grew to like very much in Also Known As, has swiftly become one of my favorite characters and his wisdom, intelligence, and presence in the lives of all these teens, not just Maggie, is reassuring. It adds a touch of realism to what would have otherwise been a wildly unbelievable novel, I think, as Maggie isn't solely responsible or wise enough to take on international spy tasks without Angelo's intel and guidance. Benway's prose, as always, is compulsively readable and the narration, full of easy sarcasm, clever wit, and laugh-out-loud humor only adds to the pleasure of the reading experience. These novels prove to be the perfect light-hearted contemporary read, all with the much-needed character-depth I constantly crave. Quick, fun, and with no shortage of swoon, Benway's novels are a must-read.


  1. You're making me want to start this series so bad!! *-*

  2. " full of easy sarcasm, clever wit, and laugh-out-loud humor only adds to the pleasure of the reading experience."

    Sounds right up my alley Keertana! I love a book that sarcasm well and can make me laugh. Sarcasm is a tricky thing in fiction I think, really easy to overdo:) I'm definitely adding this to my list after 2 glowing reviews for the series!

  3. Isn't this such a fun series? I really hope there is a third book because I really have loved this series. :D

  4. I adore this series so much! The characters are fantastic and I'm obsessed with the humor. They're just tons of fun and something read when you need to smile. The romance, too, is all kinds of swoony. <3 Glad you gave these a chance even though they're not normally your thing!
    Lovely review as always, K!

  5. These books sound like such fun! I don't really read a lot of fun, cute books but I should. Sometimes you just need an exciting book with great characters and not much darkness.

  6. Angelo is the best. He was one of my favorite things in the first book and I am so glad that he still has a major role in the book!

    I am also so VERY happy to hear that she got BORED. I was so sad when at the end of the book she decided that normal was a lot more exciting than spying .-. I mean isn't being a spy a lot more exciting?? :P I'd want to be one that's for sure!

    I am glad to hear about all the development the friendships and romance undergo in this instalment.

    You have me so much more excited to read this book, Keertana!!!

    I should have read it earlier shouldn't I??? :P

    Lovely review, as ALWAYS, hon!

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

  7. Gah! I love your reviews for both GOING ROGUE annndd ALSO KNOWN AS! I'm definitely picking up this duology very soon, thanks to your glowing reviews. I'm so happy to hear that the sequel is just as adorable and lovable! It's understandable that Maggie must deal with fluctuations and rough patches in her relationships with her new friends, but I like the Benway makes it so that they all come out on the brighter side! Angelo seems like a fantastic parental figure in these books. Thanks for your lovely review, Keertana! I'm excited to compare thoughts once I read these books. :D

  8. Sometimes it's a nice break to get away from the darker reads and dive into a lighter, fun series like this one. Nice to hear you're enjoying it. I haven't picked up any of Benway's novels but I'll keep them in mind. Great review, Keertana! :)

  9. I've heard so much about this one and I'm hitting myself on the head because I haven't dared open a page of it yet. The covers always throw me off, as they seem so fluffy, but it seems like it's much deeper than its appearance makes it seem. I mean, faithful parent-child relationships? A story where a parent is grounded and has a strong presence? You really don't see that nowadays.

    Faye at The Social Potato

  10. This isn't one I would normally gravitate toward, but the way you describe the writing really has me curious. I may have to put this author on my must read list!

  11. I've had my eye on this series for sometime now and although I haven't started the first book yet, they remind me a lot of Ally Carter's Heist series, a series which I adored. I can't wait to finally start these, I hope I end up enjoying it just as much as you did! Lovely review! :)

  12. Sounds like fun! I wanna try this soon :D I'm ready to laugh! hihi You should try Emmy & Oliver, it's a pretty fun book too!


  13. Fun AND swoon? Ooh, yay! I saw these books around and really considered them but, as you well know, books piled up and I never got to them. Time to dig them out!

  14. Agreed! These books are so much fun. They manage to be light, but engaging and clever and low on relationship drama. I need to read more of Benway's stories! Glad you gave these two a chance.

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