Author: Kristen Orlando
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Action
Format: Hardcover, 288 pages
Publishing Information: January 10th 2017 by Swoon Reads
Source: ARC for Review
Fighter. Faker. Student. Spy.
Seventeen-year-old Reagan Elizabeth Hillis is used to changing identities overnight, lying to every friend she’s ever had, and pushing away anyone who gets too close. Trained in mortal combat and weaponry her entire life, Reagan is expected to follow in her parents’ footsteps and join the ranks of the most powerful top-secret agency in the world, the Black Angels. Falling in love with the boy next door was never part of the plan. Now Reagan must decide: Will she use her incredible talents and lead the dangerous life she was born into, or throw it all away to follow her heart and embrace the normal life she’s always wanted? And does she even have a choice?
I hadn’t heard much about this book before picking it up but I was in the mood for an action book and thought a spy novel would do the trick. You Don’t Know My Name started off slowly but quickly gained momentum. It is a super fast-paced action novel with an interesting plot.
Reagan Elizabeth Hillis is a seventeen-year-old girl who has spent her entire life training to be a spy for a super exclusive and secret government agency known as Black Angels. Her parents are Black Angels and so she has had to constantly move places, change identities, and live dangerously. However, in her new school and neighborhood, Reagan has finally found a friend group and is falling for the guy next door. Her desire for a normal life grows and she has to decide if she wants to become a Black Angel or leave the agency. Before Reagan can truly decide, she finds herself in the middle of an insanely dangerous international crime situation.
Reagan as a character took a bit to grow on me. I really liked that she was a strong and lethal female character. I also sympathized with her struggle of wanting to lead a normal life but instead being forced to become a spy. She’s frequently described as one of the most promising Black Angels that the organization has ever seen but she feels that if she doesn’t stick to the Black Angels route, she will disappoint her parents. I completely understood her inner conflict but I must admit that I was not a fan of her whining/stubbornness. She does undergo some character development at the end of the book though.
Once Reagan confronts her parents about her real desires for the future and a crime plot unfolds, the book really start to pick up. The writing in this book is well-suited for an action book. It’s super easy to follow, which made the action scenes seem like something from a movie script (I can definitely see this book easily adapted to a movie).
I do think that this book could have benefited from being a bit longer. At only 288 pages, it felt a bit rushed and underdeveloped at parts. About a fourth of the book was about Reagan’s life, which I actually enjoyed because it gave us a perspective on her life and why she wanted normalcy. When the action started though, it never really ended and crazy events were non-stop. Non-action things, such as Reagan’s friendships and blooming romance, were sidelined. I generally really like action in books but I also like it to be balanced with a bit of world and character building; I wanted to learn more about the Black Angels’ world, the history of the organization, and a little more about side-characters.
You Don’t Know My Name is a fun and light action book. If you’re looking for a quick read to knock out in a day, this is a good one to choose.