The Athena Protocol by Shamim Sarif
Publisher/date: HarperTeen (October 8, 2019)
Genre: YA Jason Bourne (yes, I'm making up my own genres!)
”Maybe we need thousands of smaller heroes every day every day instead of the occasional big one.”
Jason Bourne meets The A Team, but female!
I would be a terrible reporter, that’s a really bad tag line! But that’s the gist of this action thriller.
Athena is an agency created by women to help women for whom governments, for one reason or another, cannot save or enact justice for. They have a small team of spies, one of whom is our protagonist, Jessie.
Here's a quick peek at her team:
Jessie - more about her later...
Hala - a strong silent refugee with her brother still stuck on a terrorist watch list
Caitlin - an ex-military sweetheart with PTSD issues
Angie - let's call her the "Q" of the team
Kit - a retired rockstar, and Jessie's mom (the mom issues are RIPE in this book!)
Peggy - the mother hen of the group
Li - the face of the operation, a tech tycoon who hides Athena in plain site behind her company, and a strict leader with expectations of perfection.
Jessie loses it a little during one of her missions. OK, she loses it a LOT and disobeys orders and kills someone (he deserved it.) And she gets fired. But when she discovers that her team may be in danger on their next mission, she becomes a vigilante’s vigilante, and sneaks off to help them.
Jessie is in way over her head on this op. Between the situation being far uglier than it originally seemed, and Jessie's growing feelings for the daughter of the bad guy himself, will she be able to overcome her feelings and lack of discipline to save her team?
Usually when I read something that isn’t fantasy or sci-fi or Austen, I may enjoy it, but not as much as my preferred genres. But this one was AMAZING! An intelligent badass gay female spy with discipline issues? Yes please!
I also enjoyed that while there was plenty of action, it didn't get too techy. Sometimes authors get down into the dregs with hi-tech gadget explanation, and it detracts from the actual storyline. Shamim strikes the perfect balance of action, suspense, and character development.
I sincerely hope that this is the first of a series involving the Athena team, because I cannot get enough of these characters. They are all tough and each one has her own issues and personality, and I’d love to read more.
5/5, the world needs more female agent books!