Meagan's Reviews > A Spy in the House

A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee
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's review
Apr 05, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction, historical-fiction, mystery, ya, series
Read from April 05 to 07, 2010

Mary Lang is an orphaned pickpocket and burglar living in Victorian London, when at the ripe old age of twelve she is captured and sentenced to hang. Luckily for her, the kinds of skills she's developed on the streets (stealth, self defense, etc.) are the exact skills that could make her a very effective spy. Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls, a front for an all-female spy ring, offers her a second chance and Mary Lang becomes Miss Quinn. Miss Quinn is just the sort of girl who would make a proper companion for a spoiled merchant's daughter, especially when the merchant is suspected of insurance fraud and trade in illegal artifacts.

I don't often see teen books that incorporate real mystery, so this is the kind of book that it's good to be aware of. Apart from that, it's a fast read filled with period detail and featuring an actual, honest-to-God independent heroine. Indeed, my favorite aspect of the story was that there was a romantic subplot involving a guy who is, in his own right, a cool character. But 17 year-old Mary never even considers giving up the spy life for marriage, and her love interest, an engineer named James Easton, never thinks to suggest it. They both have plans: Mary to continue in her training and learn more about her past, and James to travel to India to build his business. No one's compromising here, I'm pleased to say. I'm very interested to read the next installation in this projected trilogy.

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Reading Progress

04/07/2010 page 248

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