Monday, March 8, 2010

The Agency: A Spy in the House (YA review)

Jacket description:
"Orphan Mary Quinn lives on the edge. Sentenced as a thief at the age of twelve, she's rescued from the gallows by a woman posing as a prison warden. In her new home, Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls, Mary acquires a singular education, fine manners, and a surprising opportunity. The school is a cover for the Agency-an elite, top secret corps of female investigators with a reputation for results-and at seventeen, Mary's about to join their ranks.

With London all but paralyzed by a noxious heat wave, Mary must work fast in the guise of a lady's companion to infiltrate a rich merchant's home with hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But the Thorold household is full of dangerous secrets, and people are not what they seem-least of all to Mary."

Do you remember last week when I wrote about how in love with The Luxe series I was and how much I was going to miss it? Well I've found my replacement and I think it just may be better! From page 1 I was sucked into Mary's world of undercover investigation in 19th century London and was quickly flipping pages to see what scrap she got herself into next. I loved that she was a daring girl, always wanting to take risks and refusing to sit back and wait when there was an investigation to conduct.

Mary isn't perfect at her job, but she learns quickly what to do and what not to do, while almost being caught countless times, forming a bit of a crush on a forbidden man, and entrancing this reader the whole way through. I have a feeling her stubbornness and impulsive nature will be following her into future books.

Author Y.S. Lee is certainly talented in character writing, as well as creating a brilliantly addictive plot filled with twists and turns, as well as high fashion, old money, and handsome gentlemen. For a first novel I'm extremely impressed. If you're a fan of The Luxe or just a lover of good mysteries or historical fiction, this is a fantastic choice. Great writing, likable main character, and a truly enjoyable overall story. Truly an intelligent novel.  I can't wait for the next book in the series!

Overall rating: 4 out of 5
The only reason I'm rating this with a 4, rather than a 5 is that I felt it was a bit long and wordy in areas. Kid lit authors seem to be getting lengthier in their books lately and I feel it a little unnecessary in a lot of cases, this being one of them. Still a fabulous book, which I recommend wholeheartedly and is already on my Cybils 2010 radar. 

The Agency: Spy in the House
Y.S. Lee
352 pages
Young Adult
March 2010
Review copy received from publisher

To learn more or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon. I am an Associate and will receive a small percentage of the purchase price. Thanks!


Jennie said...

Oooo. I'll have to look this one up. While I was glad that the Luxe stopped while it was ahead, I'm seriously missing it!

Also, I saw a piece of flair on facebook along the lines of "JK Rowling proved that a kid's book could be 700 pages. Stephenie Meyer proved why they shouldn't be."

GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

You're right, this book is a perfect book to fill the gap that The Luxe left. I loved it!