I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

The basics

Title: I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You


Series: Gallagher Girls #1

- I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You (2006)
- Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy (2007)
- Don’t Judge a Girl By Her Cover (2009)
- Only the Good Spy Young (2010)
- Out of Sight, Out of Time (2012)
- United We Spy (2013)

Add it: Goodreads

Goodreads Summary:

The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women is a fairly typical all-girls school - that is, it would be if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses, but it's really a school for spies. Cammie Morgan is a second-generation Gallagher Girl, and by her sophomore year she's already fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways (one of which involves a piece of uncooked spaghetti). But the one thing the Gallagher Academy hasn't prepared her for is what to do when she falls for a boy who thinks she's an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, and track him through town without his ever being the wiser - but can she have a relationship with a regular boy who can never know the truth about her? Cammie may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she's beginning her most dangerous mission - falling in love.

Read a full summary of I’d Tell You I Love You but Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter below. If you can’t remember what happened in I’d Tell You I Love You but Then I’d Have to Kill You and you need a refresher, then you’re in the right place.

Amanda very kindly offered to save this series from evil. Thanks, Amanda!

in short

Cammie Morgan is a legacy. Her father and mother were both spies. Now her father is dead and her mother is the headmistress of the elite Gallagher Academy where young female spies have trained for decades. Cammie has been at this school since seventh grade, but this semester proves to be different. First, there’s the new Covert Operations teacher, Joe Solomon. Basically the entire student body mutually agrees that he’s incredibly attractive. They definitely aren’t prepared for his method of teaching, however. His goal, despite seeming like it’s to kill the hopes and dreams of every teenage spy-in-training, is really to get each girl face-to-face with reality and train them to be ready for anything.
Second, there’s the totally unexpected new girl, Macey McHenry, cosmetic heiress and nearly-juvenile-delinquent senator’s daughter. She’s also a descendant of the Gallagher Academy’s founder, Gilly Gallagher, and that’s why she got accepted in the first place. But anyway, Cammie and her friends Bex and Liz have to share their room with this spoiled girl, and they’re none too keen about it. That is, until the first CoveOps field assignment ends in a Cammie-the-Chameleon spotting by…gasp! An ordinary boy! Macey is the only one in perhaps the entire school who’s had experience with normal, ordinary boys, and she strikes a deal with Cammie. She’ll help Cammie navigate this incredibly confusing relationship if Cam will help her get out of newbie classes.
Through a series of close calls and confusing conversations, Cammie develops a relationship with the ordinary boy, Josh Abrams. But as this continues, her real life and imaginary life begin to brush against each other until finally they meet with a smash and Cammie must decide between the two, once and for all. So she walks away from what she had with Josh and plants her feet firmly into the spy world–just in time for her CoveOps final, which involves simulated kidnapping. Unfortunately, the rejected Josh is still standing by, and follows her into the midst of the exam, culminating in an epic industrial-building-wall-smash-with-a-forklift.

what went down

  • It’s the beginning of the semester and Cam is waiting for her friends to return. Enter tiny, clumsy, super genius friend Liz (who has major sunburn, for the record).
  • Bex, the super-cool, super-short-tempered British friend, is MIA. Actually, she’s late. Gallagher Girls are not late.
  • Cammie, Liz, and classmate Anna Fetterman observe an empty teacher seat at the welcome back banquet. What? It must be someone new…and whoever it is, they’re also late! Gracious!
  • Bex and the new teacher, the mysterious Joe Solomon, arrive at the same time. He’ll be teaching Covert Operations.
  • When the first class of CoveOps rolls around, Joe Solomon basically calls Gallagher Girls stupid. (Ouch.) He shows them they know nothing about field work, then makes a reference to Cammie’s MIA/dead (for real) father. He lets the girls out of class way early and gives them their homework assignment in two words–“Notice things.”
  • The school goes on Code Red lockdown (aka, it turns into its alter-ego the snooty boarding school). Bex and Cammie are assigned to give a tour–for an extremely persister senator’s family, including Macey McHenry, a punk rebel who’s gotten kicked out of prep schools across the country. They try their best to make the school sound terribly strict and generally awful.
  • Cammie, Bex, and Liz are interrupted by two guys bringing a bed to their room. They hunt down Cammie’s mom who explains they’re accepting Macey. The girls are, understandably, confused. Eventually Ms. Morgan reveals that Macey is a descendant of Gilly Gallagher.
  • When it’s time for Macey to get the real story, Mr. Solomon flings a letter dagger at Professor Patricia Buckingham–you know, just a little show-and-tell for the new student. (Don’t worry–War and Peace saves the day.) Macey freaks out.
  • Oh, by the way, it turns out Macey speaks French. Not a good idea to assume you can talk about a gal behind her back in French.
  • The first field assignment for CoveOps: tail Professor Smith at a carnival in town and find out what he gets to drink. Cammie, Bex, and Liz are the ones to go out, and for a while things are fine, but after some distractions and an unfortunate incident with a dunk tank tidal wave, Cammie loses her crew. Professor Smith catches Bex and Liz and marches them back to school, tossing his Dr. Pepper bottle in a trash can along the way. Cam slips out of hiding to find it, whispering “Mission accomplished”–but a boy across the street is watching her. (Can you say “plot point”?)
  • Cammie loses her cool talking to said boy and blurts out that she’s collecting bottles for her cat Suzie to play with and no, he won’t see her at school because she’s homeschooled for religious reasons.
  • Mr. Solomon totally freaks Cammie and her classmates out by showing them scary slides and reminding them what happens in real life when agents get caught. back in the dorm room, Cammie chooses not to tell her friends about Josh (ordinary boy).
  • Unfortunately for Cammie, driving lessons take her and her roommates into town, where Josh appears and Cam promptly ducks. (Like no one’s gonna notice that. Especially not your friends, who are training to be spies.)
  • Bex and Liz grill Cammie at home, and the whole story comes out.
  • Liz insists Josh has to go “in the reports,” but Cammie protests. So Bex ingeniously suggests they conduct routine surveillance themselves. After all, they’re always encouraged to do “special projects” for “independent study,” and no one ever said they couldn’t make a project out of studying a special boy independently.
  • Should we mention just how convenient this excuse will seem in the eyes of their superiors? No? Well, okay then. Moving on!
  • The girls head out to break into Josh’s house. Actually, there’s no “breaking” required, since the door isn’t locked. (Cammie observes that Josh lives in a “TV neighborhood.”) A disaster is narrowly averted when Josh comes home to grab a pie. Cammie distracts him until Bex and LIz get away, then makes an excuse and leaves just as a guy, one of Josh’s friends, comes up to him. She overhears Josh tell the guy that Cammie’s “just some girl.”
  • A minor tire explosion caused by Liz after some truly horrendous driving by Bex lands the girls a bag of Josh’s family’s trash to study. Results: a pink note from “DeeDee” and church bulletins. Since Cammie said she was homeschooled for religious reasons…he must be looking for her!
  • Macey offers to help with boy problems and interpretations if Cam will help her get out of newbie classes. Cammie agrees.
  • Cammie’s friends set her up to go into town and “accidentally” run into Josh. He wants to call her, which obviously won’t work, so Cammie says she’ll be there “tomorrow night.” After Josh tries to surprise Cammie by covering her eyes and she flips him to the ground, they talk a little and agree that waffles are much better than pancakes. (I totally agree, by the way.)
  • Cammie suggests messages-behind-a-stone as a means of contact, and Josh totally thinks she’s weird, but he agrees.
  • Josh invites Cammie to the movies and she ditches the Academy’s career fair to go. The movie thing doesn’t pan out, so Cammie and Josh go to a diner-type restaurant, where they run into DeeDee and Josh’s friend Dillon, who is rude. Cammie and Josh escape, go talk somewhere else, and…..duh-duh-DUH! Kiss, of course!
  • Uh-oh time. Cammie’s falling behind on homework, and her mom wants to do something with her. But Josh… So she goes out with him anyway since he had something special planned. He takes her to a barn dance, she meets his parents, and then… GASP! Cammie sees her mom and Mr. Solomon dancing! Cue freak out! Luckily her buddies save the day and cammie’s able to sneak out without getting noticed. DeeDee walks by and offers to get Josh, who awards Cammie a birthday present. Of course…it isn’t really her birthday…it’s just the day she blurted out.
  • Cammie gets back to the school and sees her mother crying. Then she realizes why her subconscious picked this day to call her birthday: It’s her father’s birthday. She feels pretty terrible right now.
  • A bit later, the Gallagher Girls go to town. Cammie stops by the pharmacy Josh’s dad owns, hoping for some time with Josh, but he isn’t there yet. Dillon and crew follow Anna in and harass her, and Cammie hides. Meanwhile, Bex and Macey come to the girl’s defense. Liz is upset with Cammie, and Macey tells her she has no idea what Cammie is willing to do for her friends. Liz backs off.
  • Emails between Dillon and Josh alert the girls that the “mission has been compromised,” as Dillon saw Cammie walking back with the Gallagher Girls. Cammie’s real life and her imaginary one have come head to head, and now she has a choice to make. She slips out to go tell Josh the truth, deciding to stick with the spy life for good.

how did it end?

Cammie finds Josh and Dillon on their way to “get proof” and admits she attends the Gallagher Academy. Josh is upset, but the two part with Cammie reminding Josh of their discussion on free will and wishing him good luck in making his own choices.
Then Cammie turns the corner and is kidnapped.
Don’t worry–it’s her teachers! CoveOps final, and it’s a practical exam. The girls are supposed to retrieve a disk and free Cammie. Cammie frees herself and finds the others…just in time for Josh to come bursting in to rescue her. (Or…cause problems. Ya know.) Cammie tells him to go away, and she and her teammates set off to grab the disk. They nearly fail, but just as Solomon is dismissing them, tiny Anna Fetterman slips between the bars guarding the disk and snags it.
Oh, and then Josh crashes a forklift through the wall of the building. And everyone goes back to school for a little chat. Cammie’s mom says it was nice to “finally meet” Josh. Oh, yeah–she and Joe Solomon had it figured out. Solomon explains he’s been tough on Cammie and the others because he’s lost her dad already and he wants to prepare them, but especially her.
Josh is given “forget everything that happened today” tea (except he doesn’t know it’s special tea), and he says goodbye to Cammie and walks out. Cammie doesn’t know what things will look like next semester, but she knows who’ll be beside her, “And as every good spy knows–sometimes that’s enough.” The end!

anything else

CoveOps – Covert Operations.

Pavement artist – Someone who blends in with their surroundings extremely well and is an expert “tailer.”

Field assignment – A “real life” assignment, with situations in the world.

The Gallagher Glare – The expression on the face of the Roseville, Virginia citizens who dislike Gallagher Girls because they think they’re all spoiled heiresses.

Operative – An agent/spy.

Reconnaissance – Investigative snooping.

Surveillance – Checking out an area or person, observing with an objective.

This is a full plot summary of what happened in I’d Tell You I Love You but Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter. Check out our recap list for more recaps. If you can’t find what you need, you can request a recap from us!

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