Also Known As | Robin Benway | Book Review

I am solidly in the camp that as an author, Robin Benway can do no wrong. Also Known As was the third book I’ve read by Benway, and like her previous two it was an absolute hit with me. Also? Holy moly I was clicking the pages so fast (I read this on my Kindle on the bike). Benway brings her trade mark humor and sass to her latest story of spies, espionage and boo, high school with Also Known As. Seriously, if you aren’t already on the bandwagon of RB love, you will be after reading this book, it is MAR-VEL-LOUS!

Also Known As by Robin Benway | Good Books And Good Wine

Maggie’s parents are spies AND SO IS SHE. Her family works for this shadowy agency called The Collective that takes them all over the world where they basically bust human trafficking rings and even take down dictators. Pretty much her family has the best job ever. Of course, Maggie isn’t a useless lump content to ride on her parents’ coattails. Instead, she brings her own talent of safecracking to the table — and what that means is she’s kind of a master lock picker. Girl can work a bobby pin, yo. Anyways, Maggie is about to get her first assignment, and so her family packs up from Iceland and heads to Manhattan. Maggie must get close to this boy, Jesse Oliver and somehow prevent his dad, Armand, from running a story in his newspaper that he owns that would dox members of the Collective. OH? And? Maggie still has to do calculus homework while trying to save the world. What a life, eh?

Even though Maggie is very new at the whole school and friendship thing, I think that for the most part I’d totally give her a friendship bracelet. She’s got this crazy awesome sense of humor. Further, when it really matters she is there for her first friend ever ROUX and I love that. Y’all, Maggie was so compelling to read about. First off, she is not at all angsty like other teenagers that I usually end up reading about. Secondly, she actually has an interesting backstory. Third, omg Maggie is FUN. You guys, fun. And hahaha I am dorky but I feel I could read about her safecracking all day.

Are you all about the contemporary books that have different types of relationships, each POSITIVE? Then friend, Also Known As should totally be on your to be read list (and also Benway’s other books). Seriously, okay as with Audrey, Wait! there’s a fantastic best friend. You see, Maggie makes friends with this social outcast named Roux on her first day of school. Roux is sarcastic and loud and my spirit animal. LOL, at one point Maggie is feeling down, so Roux offers her this clear drink and Maggie is like, oh thanks for the water. BUT IT IS VODKA. ROUX, I LOVE YOU. Of course, there aren’t just friend relationships, but also romantic relationships. Y’all, yes Jesse Oliver is the mark, but of course, Maggie develops feelings for him. I can’t blame her. Like other Benway dudes, Jesse is NICE and sweet and kind. ALSO, he banters with Maggie like constantly. Seriously, I just loved reading the conversations between the two and was like, please please banter for the whole book AND THEN have a three way banter session with Roux.

One trademark that you can usually count on with Benway’s books are that she usually does not portray her adults as bumbling idiots. Instead, Maggie’s parents are portrayed as quite realistic but without much dysfunction. Her parents are slightly goofy and weird, but what parents aren’t? Further, Maggie’s mom and dad actually really do give a crap about her and are protective of her but still give her room to grow. Also Known As might not have typical parents, in that they are spies, yet, Benway does a great job portraying a healthy relationship between Maggie and her parents. ALSO? There’s this other adult character named Angelo who rocks a lot of suits like Barney from How I Met Your Mother only he’s totally not a womanizer, but awesome, regardless. He was one of my favorite side characters.

The pacing is aces. Seriously, there is not a single dull moment in Also Known As where I was like urgh this book is going nowhere. Of course, yes there are suspenseful moments where I worried about Maggie, but that’s different and good. If you’re looking for a quick read that’s great for working out, then Robin Benway’s Also Known As is a great choice. It has humor, heart and strongly drawn characters. I could not recommend this book more. I also would suggest checking out Benway’s other two books.

Disclosure: Received for review via Netgalley, however I will be purchasing a signed copy on March 2nd.

Other reviews of Also Known As by Robin Benway:

Great Imaginations – “I recommend the book to someone looking for fun and a few good laughs

Quinn’s Book Nook – “a hilarious book with an amazing main character, fabulous, well-developed secondary characters

Rather Be Reading – “Benway brought more comedy to this story than I expected

Books by Robin Benway:

Audrey, Wait!
The Extraordinary Secrets Of April, May And June

BONUS: You can order a signed copies of Robin Benway’s books through Oblong Books. HOWEVER, I think that you have to order by 3/1/13 if you want them personalized.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Wow. This book sounds amazing. A family of spies? Great pacing? How can it can better than that? I’m going to have to put this book on my to-read list. Thank you for sharing this!

  2. I need to get my hands on this one right now!

  3. LOVED this story! So cute and compelling and quick-witted. The family, the MC, the boy, the friend…loved them all. I totally want her “gift” with locks. Not that I’d do anything with it but it’d make a GREAT party trick!

  4. I loved Angelo-he is one of my favorite adults ever portrayed in YA. Also loved the humor throughout the book which kept me fully engaged.

  5. So glad you liked this! It was a total delight for me and I love being surprised by books. One thing I kept saying to myself is WHY AM I NOT READING THIS FASTER. It wasn’t necessarily slow but I was just not sure why the story wasn’t moving more rapidly. And then it ended up being okay. I still can’t explain this weeks later. haha.

    • That is my absolute favorite — being surprised by books. I think maybe I read so fast because I was totally stuck on my bike while reading and couldn’t really go anywhere. I don’t know ha ha. Tis a phenomenon to be sure.

  6. I had never read a Robin Benway book before reading Also Known As and halfway through reading it, I went and added all her other books to my to-read list. It was everything I love: funny and smart and with multiple types of relationships (friends, love interest, parents, adult friends). I’m onboard a a big fan too.

    • I am surprised that you haven’t — because I know you are a big contemporary fan. I am pretty sure you will end up loving the rest of her books – especially Audrey, Wait! That one is wonderful. Glad you finally did end up reading Benway though!

  7. YAY! So glad you liked Also Known As. I cannot wait for next Sunday! I ordered a copy of The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June and it came in today! I cannot wait to read it. But I am making myself finish Going Vintage first. And of course, I have Audrey, Wait to read.

  8. Aw, April, you’re always so hilarious in your review! I love that this book features great positive relationships and parents who aren’t total morons. We need more things like that in books, especially YA books. I’ve heard so many excellent things about this book being a cute, and quick read, and it sounds like so much fun!

  9. I’m putting it on my TBR list right now! Wooh!

  10. You got me really excited about this book! I read the Extraodinary Secrets of April, May and June last year and I really liked it so I have this as one of my most wanted reads of 2013 and you make it sound like it deserves to be so!

  11. I absolutely adored this book! It was my first Robin Benway book, and I’ve got to say that it definitely had me wanting to read more of her stuff. It was equal parts funny and sweet, and I loved all the characters in it. SO AWESOME.

    (P.S. Aren’t you glad there’s another book with these characters that’s going to be happening??)

  12. I loved Angelo and Roux. They were GREAT characters. Ultimately though, I liked Audrey, Wait much more than this one. Maybe I was just expecting too much. I don’t know. At any rate, I’m glad you loved it!

    I still need to read The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June, and now I am thinking that book may be more for me than this one was.

  13. I feel like I’m the only person who didn’t adore Audrey, Wait! There was nothing particularly wrong with it, but I didn’t love it and found myself a little bored most of the time. So, I wasn’t really expecting to dig Also Known As all that much, but I ended up kind of loving it. Roux is a freaking awesome friend and I loved that the book was mostly about Maggie’s various relationships. It was a nice change of pace from the usual problems with a best friend/boy/parents/etc.


  1. […] April @ Good Books and Good Wine: “Seriously, I just loved reading the conversations between the two and was like, please please… […]

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