Also Known As

Book review by
Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media
Also Known As Book Poster Image
Teen spy falls for her mark in far-fetched but fun romance.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 4 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Some good information about choosing passwords as safecracking Maggie reveals how easy they typically are to break. The combination of spying and romance in Also Known As might make it a good choice for teenage reluctant readers.

Positive Messages

Even teen non-spies will understand Maggie's feelings of mistrust and sudden distance from her overprotective parents: "My parents and I had always been a team, but now it felt like me versus them, and I didn't know how to play the game." Ultimately, they renew their bonds, promising to keep counting on one another.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Maggie is a loyal friend who struggles with how to be honest with the new people in her life -- including a best friend and a boyfriend -- while still working on a spy mission for the greater good.


Nothing too scary. There's a mention of an attempted kidnapping that happened long ago and an assassination. In a faceoff, Maggie and her friends must run from a bad guy; Maggie's friend breaks his nose.


Maggie and her boyfriend hold hands and make out. Her friend becomes a social outcast after having sex with another girl's boyfriend.


A smattering of swear words, including "a--hole," "bitch," "s--t."


Some name-dropping, such as Burberry and Hunter.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Maggie's friend Roux drinks until drunkenness, and also steals Xanax from her mother. She tells Maggie she used to smoke but quit. There's a party with a lot of alcohol and no parents present; Maggie notices a boy looking stoned there.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Also Known As is a fun novel about a family of spies. As such, there is lock picking, espionage, and mentions of kidnapping and assassination. In a confrontation, a man has his nose broken when a teen girl hits him in the face. There is also some swearing, kissing, and a troubled  character who drinks, takes pills, and admits have had sex with another girl's boyfriend. But, overall, the tone is fairly light, and the book's combination of spying and romance might make it a good choice for teenage reluctant readers. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 13 years old Written byhey umm... March 11, 2021


I loved this book, the sarcasm was everything and I absolutely adored Maggie's best friend Roux! This book was perfect and I am a very picky reader.
Kid, 12 years old April 21, 2016

I Loved It!!

Yes, there are a few parts that would be inappropriate, so that's why I recommended it to eleven-year-olds, not nine-year-olds. There are some real-world a... Continue reading

What's the story?

Maggie cracked her first safe when she was 3. Now that she's 16, the agency that she and her spy parents work for -- a mysterious organization working to \"right wrongs\" around the world -- is giving her an assignment of her own: assimilating as a private high school student in New York City. If she can make friends with a \"cute and funny\" student there, and break into his father's computer, she may be able to stop a magazine from publishing a story about the agency that is \"going to name names.\" But, her mother's warning that spying \"can be more difficult if you get attached,\" proves to be prophetic.

Is it any good?

Don't turn to ALSO KNOWN AS if you're looking  for a tightly written spy thriller. But, if you want a novel with a fun premise and a little romance, this book will do the trick. Readers may wish that the author would have peppered her story with a few more spy tricks, and a more believable conclusion, but she does a good job of introducing some realistic themes into an outlandish story. Just like most teens, safecracking genius Maggie deals with trying to be a good friend, feeling suddenly distant from overprotective parents, and uncertainty about who she really is. Oh, and she's also got to stop a bad guy out to expose her spy parents and everyone she loves.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the cover of Also Known As. Why do you think the publisher decided to depict Maggie this way -- from the waist down in a short skirt? Do you think it conveys the story and her character well?

  • Why do you think books and movies about spies are so popular? What other novels about spying have you enjoyed?

  • Do you think Maggie should have befriended a girl who had spread rumors for years and had sex with another girl's boyfriend? Do you think people can change? How do you know when someone deserves a second chance?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love exciting reads

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate