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Liberty: The Spy Who (Kind of) Liked Me

Review

Liberty: The Spy Who (Kind of) Liked Me

Turn on the news. I bet you my first born child that Russia will be a topic of conversation at some point during the program.

Now, turn to the first page of Andrea Portes’s LIBERTY: The Spy Who (Kind of) Liked Me. You’ll still see Russia but the tone will be way different than what you will see on the news.

To be clear, LIBERTY does not open with Russia. It opens with the main character fighting two guys with AK-47s in a restaurant with nothing but her dissociative disorder to guide her --- you know, just a normal visit to Applebee’s. Paige is the child of two journalists who were taken hostage somewhere near Damascus in Syria. She does not know if they are even alive, but she must live her life normally. When the opportunity comes for her to rescue her parents, she decides to take it. But what she was not expecting was that on the way, she would fall in love with an enemy of the state, be the target of a Russian gang and learn things about herself she never knew before.

"I finished LIBERTY much quicker than I wanted to. The writing was incredibly easy to read but still had substance. The fast pace allowed me to fill in the blanks but did not leave me feeling lost at any point."

The first big scene that I described above gives the reader a very nice clue as to what to expect from this wild book. It’s filled with seemingly absurd moments that will make you laugh harder than you have ever laughed while reading a book. I can say this for sure: I have never laughed as hard as I did while reading LIBERTY. There were times where I couldn’t see the words because my eyes were welling up with tears because of how much I was laughing. I am an incredibly big fan of dry and sarcastic humor and this book had all of that and more. If you like that kind of humor, this is the book for you. The absurd nature of some of the things that happen in the book were done with care. It was absurd enough to make you laugh but not absurd enough to not make sense. I think this balance is difficult to achieve for any author, but Portes not only did it well, but excelled.

The protagonist tells the story as if you are her friend. I have read a few other books that attempted this technique but I have not seen it done as well as in this book. It felt like I was reading emails from a best friend instead of a book. The writing was casual but still polished, which is a quality that is quite difficult to achieve in my opinion.

Another thing about Paige that I loved was how confident and amazing she was. Because I am quite a small person (just barely 5’0), I feel like people often do not see me as a very strong person.  However, I have always aspired to be someone like Paige: someone who can completely defy any expectations other people might have of her because of how she looks. I made it a big goal this summer to work out and get stronger. The journey has been going well so far and this book just reinforced my motivation to work out even more! Talk about an unexpected bonus!

That said, I was a bit disappointed that the story did not focus on her parents as much, which is what I initially expected that from the beginning pages of the book. Granted, Paige’s mission to Russia was a step in her getting her parents back but the book ended before she could even get started on that particular mission. I could not find any information about an upcoming sequel but one certainly seems appropriate!

I finished LIBERTY much quicker than I wanted to. The writing was incredibly easy to read but still had substance. The fast pace allowed me to fill in the blanks but did not leave me feeling lost at any point. I loved the novel because of the characteristics displayed by Paige. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a book with a kick-butt heroine because let’s be honest, we always need more of those.

Reviewed by Pranshu A., Teen Board Member on June 29, 2017

Liberty: The Spy Who (Kind of) Liked Me
by Andrea Portes