You Don't Know My Name by Kristen Orlando

10:00 AM

Title: You Don't Know My Name (The Black Angels Chronicles #1)
Author: Kristen Orlando
Release Date: January 10, 2017
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Pages: 304
Source: ARC provided by Raincoast Books
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Overall: 2.5 STARS

Fighter, Faker, Student, Spy. 

Seventeen-year-old Reagan Elizabeth Hillis is used to changing identities overnight, lying to every friend she’s ever had, and pushing away anyone who gets too close. Trained in mortal combat and weaponry her entire life, Reagan is expected to follow in her parents’ footsteps and join the ranks of the most powerful top-secret agency in the world, the Black Angels. Falling in love with the boy next door was never part of the plan.

Now Reagan has to decide: Will she use her incredible talents and lead the dangerous life she was born into, or throw it all away to follow her heart and embrace the normal life she's always wanted? And does she even have a choice at all?

Find out if you are ready to join the Black Angels in the captivating and emotional page-turner, You Don't Know My Name, from debut novelist Kristen Orlando!

I was first attracted to Kristen Orlando's You Don't Know My Name because its plot description gave off major Ally Carter vibes. A teen girl training to be a spy? Yes! Count me in. I thought it'd be really fun reading about a heroine who had a double life, pretending to be a normal teen at school and then learning subterfuge and combat at home. It's definitely not the kind of premise you come across all too often for a YA novel, so I couldn't wait to read the book.

I liked that we explored Reagan's torn feelings between desiring a normal life and following in her parents' footsteps into the world of espionage. Reagan is tired of living in fear and always looking over her shoulder, wondering when their identities will be exposed and she'll have to leave everything behind again. She loves speaking in acronyms with her school friends Harper and Malika. And her major crush on Luke, her neighbour and friend, is on the verge of becoming something more. But Reagan's parents fully expect her to join the Black Angels, to use her incredible skills on important missions and protect their country. 

The first half of the book is more on the cute and slow side, allowing us to see Reagan enjoying her life as a regular teen, and then the second half takes a dark turn and is all action, action, action. The pacing jumped to warp speed and everything went so fast that I couldn't really process it. There was no time to really build up the tension and suspense before everything was all over; it just felt so rushed and straightforward. And I didn't really feel so connected to the story anymore. The sudden change in pace made it seem like the book jumped right from the beginning to the end, with not much development actually in the middle.

You Don't Know My Name also ended up being one of those books where I can't think too hard about it because I'll start seeing plot holes everywhere and then pick it all apart. The Black Angels are supposed to be this all-powerful covert organization, yet it seemed like they were understaffed and didn't have enough resources at times. Like they couldn't keep track of Reagan's passport activity?! And how could they allow Luke to help in the dangerous rescue operation when he has zero training?! You see, once I start, I can't stop pointing things out which didn't make much sense to me. And that's another reason why I've dropped my rating...

I liked Kristen Orlando's YA debut You Don't Know My Name enough to say I found it mostly enjoyable, but I didn't fall in love with it. I'm kind of curious to see how the series will continue, especially after the way the book ended, but it won't be a priority read on my TBR.

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  1. I felt exactly the same way about the pacing. It was so slow in the beginning I wanted to give up and I never DNF books. Thankfully I pushed on and got to enjoy all the action in the last third of the book. I'm definitely curious how the story will go on...

  2. I've heard a few things about this book but they've mostly been negative reviews. I probably won't end up reading this one, but I wish it had turned out better!