I’m a huge fan of Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls series. Like, I own all of them in hardcover. But when the fifth book came out, I decided I was too involved with intellectual books for classes. With the sixth book coming out September 17th, I decided it was about time for me to read number five. This was assuming that I would read a few chapters a night and just take my time with it.
Considering I started it at about 5:30 and it’s now finished at 8:45, and there was a dinner break in between, we see how that went.
Out of Sight, Out of Time is quite possibly the most brilliant of the entire series thus far. What has been so wonderful with the Gallagher Girls books is that they’re about real teenage girls who happen to be attending a school for spies. There’s romance, there’s adventure, there’s a seriously awesome mom, and there’s the super cool teacher who reminds me of Professor Lupin every time he enters a scene (here’s looking at you, Joe Solomon!). In this fifth installment, everything changes.
You know the ante has been well and truly upped when the book opens with Cammie unable to remember what’s happened to her – she’s been somewhere doing something with some people for four months. And then, of course, there’s the implication of her being tortured for information she can’t remember. And, most heartbreaking, her reunion with her worried-sick mother and best friends.
And this is all within just the first few chapters.
I think what really makes me amazed at this book is how well Carter captures the confusion of a girl who has lost time, quite literally. The title didn’t quite work for me until I’d finished the book (the other books are amusing nods to spy culture – I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You, Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, etc.) and then it totally made sense.
In fact, I’d say it was the most brilliant title I’ve seen on a teen book in a good long time.
As is the case with most teen books, I wasn’t necessarily surprised by the important twists, but there are so many other little details that shocked me that I can forgive the rather predictable connection with the evil Cammie-hunting group, the Circle. And probably I’ve just watched too many spy movies, so it might not have been that obvious.
And speaking of movies, let me just take a minute to applaud the amazingly cinematic action (or sleepwalking) sequences throughout the book. WOW.
Let me reiterate: WOW.
I actually felt like I was running for my life, like I’d forgotten everything about myself, like I lost time. It was incredible, and since it’s pretty hard to pull off, here’s to Ms. Carter and her brilliance.
I’m also still impressed by Cammie’s internal dialogue. She has a knack for getting just the right words and expressing herself so that you totally relate. For example:
But then a chair squeaked, and Madame Dabney asked, “How are you, Cameron?” and I had to remember that when you go to a spy school, some questions are way more complicated than they appear.
Say “I’m okay,” and you might sound like an idiot who doesn’t care she has amnesia.
Say “I’m terrified,” and risk looking like a wimp or a coward.
“My head hurts” sounds like a whiner.
“I just want to go to bed” sounds like someone too foolish or lazy to care about the truth.
But saying nothing to the faculty of the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women wasn’t exactly an option either, so I took the seat at the opposite end of the table, looked my teachers squarely in the eyes, and told them, “I’m feeling better, thank you.”
Okay, so maybe this book isn’t as funny or light as the others in the series, but that’s it’s gift. Cammie still has a sense of, not so much humor, but the necessity of humor during tense moments. She can see things for what they are, laugh a little, and still have something meaningful to say. I mean, she’s really developed into a bright young character over the course of five books.
The only thought I’d like to leave you with is a reminder that the sixth and final book in the Gallagher Girls series, United We Spy, is coming out SEPTEMBER 17TH (which also happens to be the day The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater comes out – WHOOOO!). If you haven’t started this series, you should; if you haven’t read this particular book, you must; and if you’re ridiculously excited for the last one, we should probably start a club…
Want to know more about United We Spy? Click here!