Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver: Book Review

The Secrets We Keep
Author: Trisha Leaver

Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2015
Age: 12 up, Young Adult
Pages: 294

It's the summer before her senior year. Ella Lawton has dreams of going to a prestigious art school with her best friend Josh after graduation, and aside from her identical twin (Maddy) sister's obnoxious behavior since starting high school, life has been manageable. Ella is the studious, artistic twin who gets good grades (geeky by the popular crowd’s standards), while Maddy is the hipper of the two. She dresses cool, knows how to wear makeup, and as co-captain of the field hockey team, is both gorgeous and popular. 

But here lies the problem. Ella often has to rescue or cover for Maddy, who loves to party. She even does her assignments and takes exams when she needs help. Ella puts up with it for the most part; she loves her sister. But one night, on yet another rescue mission (Maddy calls from a party), they get into a big fight and crash the car. Ella, who was driving, survives, but Maddy dies instantly. When Ella regains consciousness she's horrified to learn she has killed her sister, and vows then and there she will sacrifice her own life and pretend to be Maddy henceforth. Since Maddy was wearing Ella’s coat at the time of her death, convincing the hospital is easy. When asked her name, Ella claims to be Maddy and the impossible lie begins. 

Ella is convinced she can pull off the ruse. She has pretended to be Maddy numerous times before, and since she is recovering and grieving, she manages to keep Maddy’s boyfriend Alex placated when her behavior seems odd. This works for awhile until her childhood friend Josh figures out the lie (he happens to also be in love with Ella). Keeping her parents at a distance is another problem. Added to this, Ella uncovers a dark secret Maddy had been hiding that has seriously affected classmate Molly’s scholarship eligibility in college. Molly failed a drug test because of something Maddy did. Knowing what she knows, Ella is faced with doing the right thing.....telling the truth. 

Copyright 2015 © Sharon M. Himsl

8 comments:

  1. This does sound like an interesting twist on the twin story. Congrats on the book!

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    1. I have always loved twin stories. Thanks Birgit.

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  2. Congratulations on what looks to be an excellent book. Good luck.
    Yvonne.

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    1. I did enjoy it. Have not heard how well this book has done.

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  3. I've always enjoyed FSG books--they're more literary and thought-provoking than some other books by traditional publishers. This sounds like one I'd really get into. It's so psychologically twisty. Excellent review.

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    1. A new twist for sure. I'll save my copy for you :)

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  4. I'm kinda surprised by the premise. There have been a ton of twin-switching-identity stories going back to the Parent Trap. But because of kid readers, everything old is new to them.

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  5. And this is why young adult and children's books often have a second and third life. My grandchildren are reading books my kids enjoyed. I love this about the genre. I loved Parent Trap (the original). I've lost count how many times I've seen it :).

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