ARC Book Review: The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver

The Secrets We KeepBook: The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver

Published April 28, 2015 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux|204 pages

Source/Format: I got the e-book from, which hasn’t influenced my review in any way.  Promise!

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

What It’s About:

Ella and Maddy Lawton are identical twins. Ella has spent her high school years living in popular Maddy’s shadows, but she has never been envious of Maddy. In fact, she’s chosen the quiet, safe confines of her sketchbook over the constant battle for attention that has defined Maddy’s world.

When—after a heated argument—Maddy and Ella get into a tragic accident that leaves her sister dead, Ella wakes up in the hospital surrounded by loved ones who believe she is Maddy. Feeling responsible for Maddy’s death and everyone’s grief, Ella makes a split-second decision to pretend to be Maddy. Soon, Ella realizes that Maddy’s life was full of secrets. Caught in a web of lies, Ella is faced with two options—confess her deception or live her sister’s life.

What I Thought:

I have such mixed feelings about this book!  So much of it made me angry, and I was expecting more mysteries and lies than what we really got, and yet it’s an interesting premise.

The characters made me so angry!  I understand why Ella did what she did, and  I totally get how she feels, and why she feels that way.  I understand that she really felt like she was living in Maddy’s shadow, and that it would be easier for her to pretend to be Maddy since everyone has so happy she survived.  But I was also angry that it went on for so long, and that no one else seemed to notice.  I know that grief makes people do very strange things, and everyone around her was too wrapped up in their grief to notice that Ella was alive, and not Maddy, but still, how do you not figure out who’s who?

And how does Alex not figure out that it’s Ella and not Maddy?  Considering he was Maddy’s boyfriend, you’d think he’d figure it out.  Plus, his whole “Maddy needs to start acting like herself right way, or else” thing was so frustrating and hard to read.  Of course, she’s acting differently, not only did her identical twin JUST DIE, but she’s also pretending to be her dead twin.

I really am trying to chalk it up to everyone’s grieving but it’s so hard!

And no one seems to care that she was pretending to be her twin.  Maybe they gave her a free pass, but I wanted more fall-out after the big reveal that it was Ella.  I also wanted to see more of what happened after, instead of the jump to Ella starting over at college.

Ella was just really frustrating as a character- unhappy because everyone is glad that Maddy’s alive and feeling like she needs to pretend to be Maddy, and yet she keeps everyone at arm’s length while judging them and acts like she doesn’t care when she really does.

I also felt like the mystery was really blah.  It’s your typical mean girl mystery, and I was expecting something…more. Something darker.  I didn’t really care about the lies and secrets Maddy had.  Granted, it was a pretty crappy thing to do, but it was still really unimpressive to me, and wasn’t what I expected at all.  I know the book deals with the fact that they grew apart, but I felt like that could have been dealt with in a much different way.

My Rating:

2 stars.  I liked the premise but wished that Maddy’s secrets were darker instead of something out of Mean Girls.  And Ella was so frustrating that I couldn’t sympathize with her, even though I do understand why she acted the way she did.  I just couldn’t suspend any disbelief for this one.

2 thoughts on “ARC Book Review: The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver

  1. I was interested in this book but from you said, I think I’ll pass. I’ve read too many similar sounding books and if this one wasn’t great, it’s not worth it.

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