Review: Two Lies and a Spy by Kat Carlton

Two Lies and a SpyTitle: Two Lies and a Spy

Author: Kat Carlton

Genre: YA Contemporary, Thriller, Mystery

Publication Date: September 3, 2013 (Simon & Schuster BFYR)

Source: print ARC from the publisher

Synopsis: Kari plunges into the world of espionage on a mission to save her parents while trying to impress the guy she’s been in love with forever.

When sixteen-year-old Kari’s dad sends her an unexpected text, she and her brother immediately go into hiding. Because when your parents are superspies and your dad declares a Code Black, it can only mean something bad. Very bad.

Kari soon discovers that her parents have been disavowed and declared traitors, and she’s determined to clear their names. Breaking into the Agency seems like a reasonable plan, especially with the help of a team that includes her longtime crush, Luke, as well as her two best friends—an expert hacker with attitude and a master martial artist—and Luke’s popular, vindictive twin sister. Oh, and a new guy, who’s as cute as he is complicated…

3/5 stars – great thriller with a fast-paced plot and THAT kind of love interest

First off, I apologize to anyone who saw this post when it was just a bunch of notes thrown together because I forgot to post it as a review. I’m so deeply, thoroughly mortified that happened. But now that my apology and dying-of-embarrassment is out of the way, Two Lies and a Spy. How did I like it? It was pretty fun! It indulged in a few of my least favorite pet peeves, but as a YA thriller, it’s solid and even turns a trope or two on its head while it’s at it.

Two Lies and a Spy starts off with a bang, though Kari tries to tell us a little too much at once. The length and the lightning-fast pacing work together to make it a quick read. The characters aren’t fleshed out enough beyond Kari, but they make for such a fun, motley crew that it gave me fond flashbacks to Ocean’s Eleven and Ocean’s Thirteen (the movie between them does not exist according to me). It follows the path of being a YA thriller faithfully, but it knows exactly when to call out the more ridiculous elements. Kids being able to outsmart the US government? Please. Seeing that be turned on its head was one of my favorite parts.

Lacey, mean girl and sister to Kari’s crush, is a standout character that probably isn’t meant to be so. I can’t figure out why she’s playing along as Kari tries to prove her own parents innocent of their charges, but she can really rise to the occasion despite how Kari characterizes her as selfish and slutty. If only Kari were able to pay less attention to a flash of Lacey’s underwear as she fights a guard and more attention to the fact Lacey is risking her life, safety, and future to help her by fighting a guard.

A supporting character named Evan is the other major sticking point in my experience. He plays the part of the rude, crass, and very British flirt who comes off more often as a creep than anything and makes his way into everything he shouldn’t. It later turns out the way he’s been acting isn’t what he’s really like at all, but his true nature and the sad backstory that goes with it don’t excuse the fact he chose to act like a creep. There had to be something else he could do!

Nevertheless, the cliffhanger ending that comes just after a handful of unexpected twists has me hooked for the second book in this series. I’ll forever be fond of YA thrillers and on the lookout for more good ones. Two Lies and a Spy, despite the hiccups described, is definitely a good one.


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