Friends, I just can never get enough of good spy stories. Since I enjoyed the first book in this series, ALSO KNOWN AS, so much, I was super excited to read Robin Benway’s GOING ROGUE. I’ve been craving more shenanigans with Maggie and her spy family, but there are fewer best friends I love more than Roux, or boyfriends I love more than Jesse. GOING ROGUE was everything I hoped it would be: fun, adventurous, funny, swoony, and fast-paced. I hope very much that Robin Benway keeps these books coming because they’re good stuff from start to finish.
Now that Maggie and her parents are retired from the Collective and living in New York permanently, things have taken on a vibe of normalcy. Maggie is spending her summer studying for her SATs with her bff, Roux, spending time with her super adorable boyfriend, Jesse, and meeting up with her still-mysterious but always awesome “uncle” Angelo. Things are going along just fine, thanks, until the Collective cooks up some drama and accuses Maggie’s parents of stealing some valuables from a job the worked decades ago, and all of a sudden things are moving at warp speed as Maggie and her friends travel the globe to prove her parent’s innocence.
The standout in GOING ROGUE is Maggie. I have to admit that I liked Roux the best in ALSO KNOWN AS, and she is still her sassy, excellent self in GOING ROGUE and I luffed her. But I really enjoyed seeing Maggie take the reins of this job, and taking so many things on her shoulders. She gets to flex her skills as a lock-picker and takes on the responsibility of locating the gold coins and their true thief with gusto, so that her parents might be spared the awful retribution of the Collective. WORD, Maggie. WORD.
Of course, all of this going on surveillance missions and traveling around trying to find some gold coins and facing off with the bad guy leaves her relationship with Jesse in a weird place. She misses some things and has a hard time juggling her responsibility to her parents and her loyalty to Jesse. The good news is that GOING ROGUE just basically cements the two of them as the most adorable couple EVAR, and Jesse as the cutest, awesomest boyfriend around. I love how he and Roux support Maggie and want to do whatever they can to help her and her parents. Jesse warms my heart, though. And GOING ROGUE has some of the best flirty banter thanks to Maggie and Jesse, and the swoons were legit, too.
One of my favorite things about spy stories–and about GOING ROGUE specifically–is the way they always seem to expose secrets, real or imagined, about things we all know or things that are right under our noses. We get some lore about Faberge eggs, a secret subway station under The Plaza hotel, and some scenes in the catacombs under Paris. Getting to jet around the globe with Maggie, Jesse, and Roux was fun and full of intrigue and danger and action. Big fan of that, ALWAYS.
Also, can I just say that I really enjoyed the little hints and glimpses we got of Roux and Angelo’s father-daughter relationship? I loved that we learned of their get-togethers and chats. It gave me warm-fuzzies to learn that Roux–amazing, vibrant, loyal, hilarious Roux–had a grown-up who cared and paid attention to her. I cheered for her when she forged a really sweet butterflies-in-my-tummy connection with one of the new characters we meet. (The new characters are all super, by the way. Trying not to give away too many details! But they make GOING ROGUE even better.)
I really can’t say enough how much I loved basically everything about Robin Benway’s GOING ROGUE. It had a great plot that zoomed along at a nice clip, a decently bad baddie (although the parts with him were probably the weakest), wonderful characters, adorable romances, great parents, travel, action, humor, and feelings. The end seems both open and closed, so I’m not sure where Robin Benway is planning to go from here–if she’s planning to go anywhere–but I’d keep reading books about Maggie and Jesse and Roux FOR SURE.