For the love of spy novels, or my review of You Don’t Know My Name

you dont know my name

You Don’t Know My Name (The Black Angel Chronicles #1)

By: Kristen Orlando

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Publication Date:January 10th, 2017

Format: eARC


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!

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4 star (griffin)

If there is anything that is lacking in the YA genre, it is good teenage spy stories. So I fall hook, line, and sinker when I find one. One that feels approachably realistic while still sending your pulse pounding. Reagan’s life is a mix of practical spy training and being kept in the dark by her parents to the particulars of the Black Angel missions. It was a great mix that felt believable, of course you would train an upcoming operative and no, you wouldn’t give out sensitive details to someone even if they are, or especially if they are, your kid. It didn’t leave me questioning, as so many other books have, why you would send a teenager on an important mission that could easily, and more competently, be handled by adults, because Reagan wasn’t. The people in charge realized that her training wasn’t complete, couldn’t possibly be complete, and acted accordingly, i.e. by continuing to train her and eventually enroll her in the Black Angel version of college.

The plot was also a refreshing divergence from the usual teen spy story line. There is no mysterious recruitment by the government. Reagan was born into this life and is expected to live, breath, and die it. That isn’t an exaggeration. She is the golden child, raised by two star parents and it isn’t questioned that she will follow in their footsteps, even as the option of a normal life lingers in the back of her mind. Reagan’s longing for normal, for close friends and a romantic relationship, felt relatable and her interactions with her friends felt real. And the romance. It was sweet and lovely and a great best friends to something more story. Luke is a sweetheart and utterly delightful and I so want him and Reagan to work out.

You Don’t Know My Name started and finished with a bang. There was action and kick assery, the opening sequence ropes you into the sneaky spyness with a satisfying crunch and leaves you with a delicious, gooey sweet center and a devastating ending. I can’t wait for the next book and to see more of Reagan.

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Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us. An advanced copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

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