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ARC Review of They Call Me Alexandra Gastone by T.A. Maclagan

In An Oyster Shell- I’m a huge fan of spy fiction, spy fiction that’s YA even better. A unique story with excellent execution I recommend this book.

The Pearls –

There is so much that is right about this book!

The main Character’s voice was super strong and consistent. It was one of the better first person POV’s I have ever seen. This showed me that the author had talent.

There where little to no grammatical or spelling mistakes. Always a bonus for me shows respect to the craft. This book is slightly quotable, I found myself highlighting texts a few times! I thought this book was interesting because it made up a country and weaved it into existing countries… No matter that it was a made up country or not it captured the danger of misguided patriotism. It challenged the character and the readers to question authority. Not in a rebel without a cause kind of way, but in a healthy don’t believe everything you’ve been told. (Even if you have been indoctrinated with it as a small child.)

Since I jumped right to it, for me that was the theme, having allegiance to what is true as you have deduced it. Not to those who may have been a little forceful in trying to guide you otherwise. I thought the author did an amazing job sculpting this out in the story.

The characters were lovable. Alexandra is a well-developed character, that undergoes amazing growth that fits along with the conflict of the story. The character element that I enjoyed the most from this book was the supporting character’s. Alexandra was the star but from her handler, to her grandpa, to her boyfriend, and other strategically placed character’s there story was made complete. It was an awesome collection of character’s but not too much that you got lost in who is who.

From the very beginning of the book you are drawn into a gut-wrenching scene that carries you through to the end. This author was not kind to her character which made for a rich story and a few cringe reactions from me. Overall the conflict of this story is about Alexandra a teenage sleeper spy who starts to develop a mind of her own and is conflicted about carrying out her orders. The journey is well worth the read. Kudos to Maclagan on a great debut novel!

The Sand – There was a little too much inner reflection with the Alex, which could occasionally slow the pacing of the book.

I give this book 4 pearls.

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