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We must learn and we must persevere. We must be careful and we must be brave. And most importantly we must protect our sisterhood. And our sisters,” Headmistress Morgan. –Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover

Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover

Gallagher Girls #3

by Ally Carter
AR Test, Strong Female

At A Glance
Interest Level

Reading Level
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With Macey’s parents running for president, life at the Gallagher Academy is turned upside-down. First, Cammie and Macey barely escape a kidnapping attempt. Then, the Secret Service follows Macey back to school, threatening their school’s secret heritage. And finally, there is Zach, who has a tendency of showing up at the most suspicious moments.  

Cammie fully intended to follow the rules at school this year. However, the Gallagher Academy is a spy school, so following the rules is not always an option—especially when Macey’s safety is at risk. Cammie, Bex, and Liz will take no chances with their friend’s life, even if that means they have to break out of school and follow Macey to personally ensure her safety. However, when Cammie’s Aunt Abbey shows up as part of Macey’s Secret Service detail, breaking the rules becomes much more difficult.  

Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover increases the suspense and action from the previous books, ramping up the stakes while bringing back all our favorite characters. The presidential campaign of Macey’s parents adds interest, new settings, and a new boy. Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover both begins and ends with action, keeping readers engaged until the very end.  

Despite being a spy, Cammie is a strong protagonist who is relatable to readers. Like most teens, Cammie worries about her friends, has boy trouble, and doesn’t always make wise choices. Cammie is confused by Zach, which adds a fun element to the story. Readers will fall in love with Cammie, who is a well-developed character who is easy to sympathize with. However, what makes the Gallagher Girls Series unforgettable is the friendship factor. 

In Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover, Cammie spends her time trying to protect her friends. Cammie knows that her friends will always have her back as well. While the story focuses on Cammie, all the characters are well-developed. Each character is unique and given their own chance to show their spy skills. The Gallagher Girls Series brings to life a group of awesome girls who are smart, brave, loyal, and yet, completely baffled by boys.   

Through first-person narration, Carter creates a fun story full of relatable characters and explores teen romance in a wholesome way that is perfect for middle-grade readers. While the story has romance, Cammie spends most of her time trying to outsmart secret agents, unravel mysteries, and keep her friends safe. The suspenseful story ends with a cliff hanger that is sure to leave readers hungry for more.  You will definitely want to have the next book, Only the Good Spy Young, handy.  

Sexual Content 

  • Aunt Abbey kisses Joe Solomon. Cammie thinks, “None of the spy training in the world prepared me for the sight of my aunt grabbing Joe Solomon by the shirt. And kissing him. On the mouth. For eighty-seven seconds.”  


  • Macey and Cammie are attacked in a kidnapping attempt. Cammie “parried the attacker’s first blow [and] took a half-step to my right and landed a kick at one of the masked men’s knees.”  
  • During the kidnapping attempt, a boy “pulled back his free hand and punched the man in the throat. It was a perfect lucky shot.”  
  • Macey’s arm is broken during the kidnapping attempt. “The men lunged for Macey. I heard a sickening snap. I turned and saw my roommate clutch her arm and fall to the ground, howling out in pain.” The fight happens over six pages.  
  • Cammie and Macey escape the kidnappers by diving into a laundry shaft. Cammie jumps in and is “free-falling. I felt my head bang against the metal shaft. Something hot and wet oozed into my eyes.”   
  • When Zach startles Cammie by grabbing her shoulder, Cammie flips him over her shoulder in self-defense. “I forgot all about Mr. Solomon’s assignment as I reached back and grabbed the offending hand, stepped into the move, and swung the guy smoothly through the air, watching him crash onto a red balloon with a pop.”  
  • Cammie is injured during a second kidnapping attempt. Someone attacks her and her “head was on fire. My body was crushed beneath my attacker’s weight. Someone or something must have knocked us both to the ground. . . my roommates [were] battling two men twice their size. Liz clung to the big man’s back while Bex parried away his blows. Macey fought against the second man.” The struggle takes place over six pages.  
  • When one of the kidnappers tries to shoot Macey, Aunt Abbey jumps in the way. Cammie “saw the flash—heard the blast . . . Someone else was lunging through the air in front of Macey and then falling too hard to the dark ground . . . Zach’s jacket had fallen from my shoulders, and Macey held it to the wound in Abby’s chest, trying to stop the blood that spilled onto the dark asphalt.” Aunt Abbey is rushed to surgery and recovers.  

Drugs and Alcohol 

  • Cammie’s mom tells Aunt Abbey that “perhaps the United States Secret Service should consider that it might be unwise to tell Madame Dabney’s eighth graders how to make their own chloroform out of Kleenex and lemon wedges?” To which Abby replies, “Yeah, I couldn’t believe they hadn’t figured out how to do that yet.”  
  • During the second kidnapping attempt, the kidnappers try to drug Cammie. “There was a rag over my mouth—a sick smell. I tried not to breathe as my arms flailed and the world began to spin.”  


  • None 


  • None 

Spiritual Content 

  • None 
Other books by Ally Carter
Other books you may enjoy

We must learn and we must persevere. We must be careful and we must be brave. And most importantly we must protect our sisterhood. And our sisters,” Headmistress Morgan. –Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover

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