ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Rebellious Frannie Tasker knows little about the war between England and its thirteen colonies in 1776, until a shipwreck off her home in Grand Bahama Island presents an unthinkable opportunity. The body of a young woman body floating in the sea gives Frannie the chance to escape her brutal stepfather–and she takes it.
Assuming the identity of the drowned Emmeline Coates, Frannie is rescued by a British merchant ship and sails with the crew to New York. For the next three years, Frannie lives a lie as Miss Coates, swept up in a courtship by a dashing British lieutenant. But after witnessing the darker side of the war, she realizes that her position gives her power. Soon she’s eavesdropping on British officers, risking everything to pass information on to George Washington’s Culper spy ring as agent 355. Frannie believes in the fight for American liberty–but what will it cost her? Inspired by the true “355” and rich in historical detail and intrigue, this is the story of an unlikely New York society girl turned an even unlikelier spy.
I was initially drawn to this book because it is written by Veronica Rossi, author of the Under the Never Sky trilogy, which was one of my favorite YA series when I first became obsessed with the genre (Just thinking about UTNS is making me feel so nostalgic)! I was intrigued when I found out that Rebel Spy was a historical fiction novel, as I was eager to see how it would compare to Rossi’s dystopian books. While Rebel Spy and Under the Never Sky couldn’t be more different, they do have one thing in common… They’re both absolutely amazing!
Veronica Rossi’s writing has this sheer addictivness about it that can be found in all of her books, regardless of the genre. Constant action keeps you turning the pages, and subtle hints of mystery and romance have you all the more hooked. The writing is fairly simplistic and straightforward, making it easy to get lost in the pages.
But make no mistake: though simple, the narration is still breathtaking. Something about it is just so beautifully transportive. For instance, when Frannie described the effortless bliss of diving, I was transported into her world, swimming into the deep blue abyss of the sea right alongside her.
Frannie herself was a very interesting character to get to know. Her rocky past and moral flaws gave her so much complexity, as did her complicated relationships with the other characters in the book. What I liked about Frannie was that her inner flaws didn’t stop her from being a heroine I could root for. Like all interesting characters, she wasn’t perfect and she made mistakes, but her unconditional desire to fight for what she believed in triumphed over any flaws she might have had.
My only problem with this book was the ending. Not only was it anti-climatic, but it was also very vague. If you don’t have an issue with open-ended cliffhangers, the ending won’t bother you, but if you need closure like me, you’re going to finish this book feeling pissed as hell. This is a spoiler-free review, but I couldn’t even spoil the ending if I wanted to because it was so darn vague. It didn’t make any sense, and the story ended with so many loose ends and unexplained plot holes. Maybe I’m just not ~thoughtful~ or ~philosphical~ enough, but the ending was so non-descriptive that it just felt like pure laziness. It’s as if the author was too lazy to come up with an actual ending that would tie up loose plotlines and provide satisfying closure. If Rebel Spy was the first book in a series, the ending would have made more sense, but I’m almost certain that it’s a standalone novel, so… No excuses, Ms. Rossi.
To sum it up: Did the vague ending ruin the whole book for me? Of course not. But did it still annoy the hell out of me? Yup.
I’m willing to look past this though, because Rebel Spy had so many other fantastic elements that made up for that awful ending. A complex main character, beautiful writing, and fast-moving plot to name a few!
Whether you’re a full on history buff or just someone who is reading historical fiction for the first time, you’re bound to enjoy this book! It’s a great story from a wonderful author who never fails to please her readers! I had such an amazing time getting lost in this beautiful book, and I think you will too. ❤