January 13, 2014 • Cee • Reviews

Ally Carter - GG1I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls #1)

by Ally Carter
May 1, 2006
Disney Hyperion
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Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school-that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses but it’s really a school for spies. Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she’s an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real “pavement artist”-but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her?

Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she’s on her most dangerous mission-falling in love.


First sentence: “I suppose a lot of teenage girls feel invisible sometimes, like they just disappear.”


I have Shelly of Readiculous Reads (isn’t that name just pun-tastic?!) with me to discuss and review I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You, the first Gallagher Girls book.


CEE: I have a big soft spot for spy books. I think they are cool and awesome (if they are done right). I think I’m envious because I sometimes wish I am one just because the adventure sounds fun and thrilling. I am probably not cut out for that world, but hey, I can dream, right?

SHELLY: I actually have no preference when it comes to spies but I dread action movies because I have no idea what’s going on. Similarly, I didn’t really understand what was happening in some of the major scenes (it needs to be spelled out for me!) but I agree that it was fluffy and cute!

CEE: But they’re doing spy-type stuff! That’s self-explanatory to me. ;D


SHELLY: I thought the plot was just cute. Nothing TOO special, but entertaining. There weren’t a lot of twists and turns, but I think it still flowed nicely. I expected it to be more about the ‘spy school’ versus the romance but then I remembered the title.

CEE: I thought the same thing. It’s cute. I honestly didn’t expect that? When I first heard that the book was set in a spy school, I thought it would be exactly about that. Awesome lessons in spy techniques. However, the plot isn’t really exciting. I thought Cammie would be given her first mission and during it, she falls in love with her target — a trust-fund kid. Not what actually happens.

SHELLY: We have to keep in mind that it is the first book in a series so all the exciting stuff will come later!

CEE: I know! There’s nothing wrong that it’s not totally exciting! I actually like that it doesn’t thrust us (or Cammie) into a mission. It’s a nice surprise that the book is about relatable stuff. What teenage girl doesn’t stress out about whether a guy likes them or not?

SHELLY: Totally agree! If it was too action packed, I wouldn’t have been able to keep up! Agreed on the boy thing too, it was awesome that Cammie was a spy but she was also worried about boys and stuff. TOO CUTE! (I just wanted to hug Cammie and Josh!)

CEE: I think that’s one of the reasons why I enjoy. It isn’t totally “you have to suspend your disbelief for everything.”

SHELLY: Not sure what that expression means so I’ll just nod my head. *nods in agreement*

CEE: We had this conversation before, Shelly! It’s where you have to pretend that everything in a book can happen (even though it probably can’t in real life).

SHELLY: OOOOOHHHHHHH, yes this one’s semi-realistic, but obviously the ‘spy school’ thing is far-fetched.

CEE: EXACTLY. Add in a bit of realism in there and I will like the spy book, but if you don’t, I will be irritated because I will get angry thinking about the logistics of it and how implausible it all is. *coughs* Two Lies and A Spy. *cough*

SHELLY: Hahaha, I haven’t read that one so I will take your word on it!

CEE: Psst. *whispers* Don’t. It’s so dumb. I got so angry at that book.

SHELLY: I wasn’t planning to. Thanks for the warning!


CEE: Cammie’s a fabulous main character.

SHELLY: Cammie is basically me at fifteen (but much cooler). That is all.

CEE: Ha, I wish I was like her at that age, but alas, I was not. Cammie is infinitely cooler than us because of the spy thing.

SHELLY: True, she’s also cooler than us because she can actually talk to boys without embarrassing herself TOO much. (Well, at least in my case. Haha.)

CEE: Ummm, were we reading the same book? Because she could not talk to boys at all. She was overanalyzing everything and freaking out about it (which I usually do too).

SHELLY: But she’s A FREAKING SPY (so it makes sense) and uhm hello? DID YOU IGNORE THE WHOLE PART WHERE JOSH SAW HER ACROSS THE ROOM AND SHE DID NOT RUN AWAY IN FRIGHT? I’m pretty sure I’d do that if that happened to me.

CEE: SHE HAD A COVER TO MAINTAIN, SHELLY. Of course she didn’t run away! She’s a professional. But that doesn’t mean she could talk to boys. She needed help from Macey.

SHELLY: Ugh fine, I consent but still, she somehow managed to talk to him without dying so…

CEE: She was dying on the inside. I found her internal dialogue during those scenes to be hilarious! It’s everything I would think of (y’know, minus knowing different languages and all those other spy skills).

SHELLY: Her inner monologue was utterly fabulous, but the spy thing was sometimes too much, y’know?

CEE: I didn’t mind it as much as the “oh my gosh” thing.  I HATED THOSE WORDS. I was cringing when I read them. I’m like PLEASE STOP. (Maybe because I think in curse words?)

SHELLY: I was OK with it! I never swear myself (although all this reading has made me slip up and utter the occasional swear word when I mess up at work). It didn’t annoy me too much.

CEE: Lucky you. ;D What did you think of Macey?

SHELLY: I didn’t like her all that much though. She’s nicer than I expected but still only meh.

CEE: I don’t think we’re suppose to like Macey all that much. We still don’t know anything about her personality. We only know her as this stuck up brat who got kicked out of multiple schools.

SHELLY: I feel like she’ll betray Cammie at the end of the series, but I think she’s supposed to grow on us over time. Macey’s just there as a gap-filler (I think) and to help Cammie figure out how to deal with boys.

CEE: I actually don’t think she’ll betray Cammie? I always feel like there’s that one girl the other three won’t like because she’s basically an outsider, but eventually they will like her. That’s Macey in this book. I see Cammie and her friends eventually accepting her. It has already started now with Macey helping Cammie out with boys. I just hope Macey has a bigger role instead of being the expert on the opposite sex.

SHELLY: I hope so too. I want her to develop later on in the series because I’d get annoyed so much about reading her if she had no actual substance or an important role in the later books.

CEE: Agreed. Though, I like Macey more than I like Liz? Probably because Liz isn’t as prominent in the book and she’s only the “smart” one. There’s no development of her character whatsoever.

SHELLY: I can see that. Liz is very annoying. The whole ‘bookworm/hardcore studier’ thing is very boring and isn’t interesting at all.

CEE: Her shtick’s annoying! For some reason, I thought she was trying to be like Hermione Grainger and I was not having any of it.

SHELLY: YES! She’s filling the ‘smart girl’ archetype TOO perfectly. It does nothing for the novel.

CEE: Her need to figure out everything annoys the hell out of me like when she wants to know why Josh said “bro” in an email but his friend isn’t his brother. I rolled my eyes because c’mon, it’s not funny. Just plain annoying.

SHELLY: Yeah, I agree, like really Liz, really?

CEE: I got so mad during that scene. I was on the verge of turning into the hulk (sort of). Lol. I understand that this further emphasizes that she’s incredibly sheltered (like the rest of the girls), but goddamn it. *shakes head*

SHELLY: I was peeved but I was never in ‘near-hulk’ mode. I also understand why it was necessary but no, just no.

CEE: How Liz is portrayed? Not necessary. I just wished there was a better way of conveying that Liz is the type of person who needs to know EVERYTHINNNGG.

SHELLY: I think there’s no other way but it should have been less obvious/prominent. Cammie’s inner monologue told us enough about her so I think that scene isn’t too necessary.

CEE: What do you think about Bex? Isn’t she like the British muscle of the group? Lol.

SHELLY: I actually completely forgot about her, which means she was probably there just for the muscle. Hahaha.

CEE: Lollll. The only thing I remember is the secret that Macey and Cammie kept from her. I thought that was a great scene between Macey and Cammie. I like that both of them know that no good would come from it if they told Bex what happened (especially if there is nothing to really worry about). That’s friendship.

SHELLY: True, I forgot about that! Probably the only moment where I felt Macey is actually part of the story and isn’t just there but I don’t know. I feel like Bex should have had a right to know. It is HER family.

CEE: She does have a right, but I don’t think she needed to know at that moment until there was actual proof that something bad happened to her family. Why stress about something that turns out to be nothing? I wouldn’t want to know about it until there’s legitimate reason to be worried.

SHELLY: That’s true but I feel like the headmaster should have told Bex instead of letting the 15 year olds decide. I get worried about my family constantly (even without sufficient reasons) and I’d want to know if something similar was happening in my family

CEE: I do too, but I wouldn’t want to spend the rest of my day worrying and stressing out if it turns out they are fine.

SHELLY: Let’s agree to disagree on this one. ;)

CEE: Fine. :) What did you think of Joe Solomon? That dude is harsh. He does not sugarcoat anything.

SHELLY: He’s so unnecessary, like seriously, I have yet to see why he is even in the series but at least he’s honest.

CEE: Well, I think he’s necessary! He gives a  fresh view of what happens when you enter this spy business. It isn’t all cotton candy and rainbows. You and your friends can die if you aren’t dedicated or focused. This is the life you are putting yourself through. I might not like his approach to it, but it’s effective.

SHELLY: But there’s soo many new people in Cammie’s life just when we start to understand her past! It’s sometimes annoying.

CEE: I wouldn’t say we start to understand Cammie’s past because it’s really not about that. Maybe whether these characters know what actually happened to her father?

SHELLY: Ugh, I’m getting sick and tired about hearing about her father. I just get so annoyed when the same topics keep cropping up…I know it’s important to Cammie and the story but just SO DAMN ANNOYING.

CEE: I just wish there were little clues about what Cammie has been told about her father’s death. I wanted Cammie to question what happened to him and start piecing it together that maybe something isn’t right, but I guess this mystery is supposed to stretch to six books.

SHELLY: I guess so. That makes me slightly annoyed though because I feel like the big reveal will be disappointing.

CEE: For some reason at the end, I thought Joe Solomon would be revealed as a long lost uncle of Cammie’s. Lolll.

SHELLY: I kept thinking that him and her mom would end up together (which I still slightly ship, let’s be honest here)

CEE: But what if the father comes back from the dead? *gasp* (Which is likely to happen. Maybe.)


SHELLY: I thought Josh was the average male teenager but I never really understood the reason why he was so interested in Cammie, but I see that he was curious so he probably wanted to learn more about her but still, I never really understood it.

CEE: But do guys really need any more reason to be attracted to a girl than looks? (Answer is no.) She is definitely an enigma to him. She comes and goes into his life. The chase is the exciting part.

SHELLY: But didn’t Cammie say that she’s not the prettiest girl? And that’s what I was about to say next! The enigma thing is pretty entertaining.

CEE: And? She might not think she’s pretty but other people do. (People are like that.)

SHELLY: True, main characters are annoying like that as well. Besides the confused meeting, I feel like their relationship is never fully described and I wanted more cute scenes between them! Josh’s cute, but he isn’t swoon-worthy. We don’t get a chance to see why Cammie was in to him so much or what made him so special!

CEE: Mehhh. I didn’t care for the romance. Sure it’s cute, but it is sooo boring and ughhh, Josh is sooo bland! (Like a sandwich without all the necessary ingredients to make it awesome. It’s just tasteless.)

SHELLY: Exactly! We never get to see a lot of his character development. He just sort of appears in the story and we stick with it!

CEE: I think that’s why though? Because he’s normal and not exciting compared to her life, but that doesn’t make me root for Cammie and him to be together.

SHELLY: I like Josh but I want him to find his own normal girl instead of dealing with Cammie’s problems. So yea, I agree.

CEE: I hope he doesn’t appear in the series. I want a more exciting boy! Someone who is swoon worthy and someone I can root for!

SHELLY: I know some spoilers about that so *zips lips* but I totally agree!

CEE: Shhhhhhhhh. ;D


CEE: If I had the smarts, I would love to go to GG Academy.

SHELLY: It’s cool and interesting to read about. I am slightly annoyed that boys are excluded, but besides that it is really unique! Boarding schools will forever be awesome.

CEE: Oooh, can you just imagine the ruckus that would occur if there were there? Loooooovveeee (and hate) would be in the air. ;D But I’m kind of glad there were no boys just because there will obviously be a male rival for Cammie and that’s cliche.

SHELLY: Good point! But I am always a sucker for love/hate relationships (it worked in Hex Hall, okay), so maybe it wouldn’t be the WORST thing.

CEE: Ahhhh. Hex Halllllllllll. <3<3<3 It really wouldn’t. (Especially if there’s another Archer Cross. ;D)

SHELLY: Let’s just take a moment to appreciate the magic of Hex Hall so consensus: boys wouldn’t be too bad in this school.

CEE: It wouldn’t be bad, but I find that books with boarding schools are always co-ed, so I appreciate all girls’ schools.

SHELLY: That’s true, we can appreciate the uniqueness that Gallagher Academy has to offer!


SHELLY: ooooOOOOOO, do you think there is an all-boys spy school in the next books?! I feel like there is! And what if they had a giant rivalry tournament?

CEE: I would love for there to be a rival all boys spy school just because I want to see the girls kick some ass.


SHELLY: It was very cliche.

CEE: It felt very rush and really absurd. I didn’t understand what was happening like 1/3 of the time.

SHELLY: I know, right? That action scene was just too intense and I understood nothing! The whole time I was like ‘WUT IS HAPPENING.’ The very end was just too cliche for words.

CEE: YES.  Too many things were going on there and then Josh was thrown into the middle of the scuffle. Major WTF. Lol.

SHELLY: OMFG I WAS DYING THOUGH. HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA. Remember how much I was laughing?!?! Seriously though, it was so unexpected and utterly perfect for the scene! It was too funny :’) Josh didn’t need to appear in that scene but I was so so entertained that I didn’t really care. (I laughed a lot, okay?)

CEE: Which actually brings me to the thing that annoyed me. For a school that’s very secretive of what it actually is, I would think they wouldn’t let Josh go without y’know threatening him or something if he doesn’t keep his mouth shut. Would they really let him go? I don’t know about that.

SHELLY: Good point! I feel like that was too unrealistic. They need to act like actual spies not just when it was convenient.

CEE: They wouldn’t let him walk out through the door. You would think they’d have technology to erase his mind or hypnotize him into believing it was ~all a dreaammmm.

SHELLY: That’s exactly what I was thinking! Like as soon as he opens the door, BAM, Joe gives him a ‘forget drug’ as soon as he steps out of the building, so Cam would NEVER KNOW. DUN DUN DUN. WOAH DID I JUST PREDICT THE PLOT TWIST IN BOOK 2, I THINK I DID!

CEE: SHHHHH. We will see.


SHELLY: Overall, this book was entertaining and cute but it wasn’t very action-packed and the love interest was fairly bland. I would grade this book a 3 out of 5 because it was nice but it didn’t ‘wow’ me.

CEE: I’m floundering between a B- and a C+. I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You was cute and light, but it didn’t impress me. Everything was really underdeveloped, specifically the characters. Nothing about them or the plot stood out. At times, this book reminded me of the St. Trinian’s movies (but the movies were far more exciting). Regardless at that, yay for girl power! I’m actually looking forward to seeing how this series and the characters grow.


5 Responses to “REVIEW | I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter”

  1. Shelly says:

    I am also really excited to see how the series will pan out & what will happen next! Thanks for letting me review this one with you (don’t worry a name is pending) and thanks for sharing! :)

  2. Missie says:

    Sounds like a silly read for one of thlse days you kinda want to read but don’t have to pay full attention

  3. Ah. The “cute and light but not amazing” feeling is the same way I felt about the first Heist Society book–I enjoyed it, but wasn’t wowed enough to pick up the second book yet. People have recd this series to me too, but I don’t know if I’ll get to it anytime soon, I feel like I might feel the same way you two did.

    I enjoy this review format, btw–we did something similar today for the first time. :)

  4. I started reading this series in high school and finished it last week (5 or 6 years later) so it has a special place in my heart. There is a bigger, more stressful plot introduced in book 3 (books 1 and 2 introduce characters, world, and other elements) and people die/almost die/get injured/ go missing. And all the characters you’ve mentioned (except Josh) end up having fairly major roles in different aspects.

    Just one thing about I’d Tell You I Love You… I think you missed a little hint line at the end and it’s why your worrying why they just let Josh go. Remember when Josh said to Cammie something like “Thank your mum for the tea” and she may or may not have been sad/disappointed/expected it (I can’t exactly remember what she felt about it)? Yeah… *HINT HINT WINK WINK*

    Anyway I look forward to seeing your reactions/thoughts on book 2 and Blackthorne ;)

  5. Belinda says:

    Wow great review. I read this book a few years back and didn’t manage to catch up with the series. I really hope I can read the rest of the books in this series:) Hope you have a great reading week ahead:)

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