The Secrets We Keep
Author: Trisha Leaver
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Genre: YA Contemporary
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Source: egalley received from publisher via Netgalley
Rating: 2.5 Stars
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***I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way changed my opinion of the book. The review below is my open and honest opinion.***
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
Imagine taking over your sister’s life after she dies in a tragic car accident. Imagine stepping out of your own skin and into someone else’s. Pretending every single day that you’re someone you’re not. How exhausting would that be? Well for Ella, that’s pretty exhausting. I understood what she did. I understand feeling like you can’t do anything right, like your parents are constantly looking at the other sibling. I have two sisters, so I’ve definitely shared these thoughts with Ella. Maybe not quite to the extent she does, but I’ve had my moments.
What I didn’t understand was how her parents didn’t know. I just couldn’t buy this. They seemed like dedicated, involved parents, yet they were unable to tell their twin daughters apart. I don’t care if they look identical, they should have known. I just don’t see this ever being pulled off. And that unbelievable factor made it really hard for me to become invested in the story.
Ella was an interesting main character. I really enjoyed watching the battle rage within her over whether to continue living her sister’s life or to come clean. However, I felt like that battle resolved too quickly. It felt like the story was building and building and then a decision was made and it was all over. I wish Ella had had more time or had gone through some more things before making her decision so it felt a little more genuine to me.
Another thing I really didn’t get was Jenna, Maddy’s mean girl best friend. I wasn’t really sure what purpose she served in this story, other than to be the mean girl. She was awful and we heard some sob story about why she was so awful, but I didn’t buy into it just like Ella didn’t. I thought her character really was kind of pointless and every time she was in a scene I was just annoyed.
My favorite thing about this book was probably Josh, Ella’s best friend. He was so sweet and my heart just completely broke for him. He was destroyed by Ella’s death and you could tell just how much he really cared for her. Oh, and Ella’s dog Bailey. Because of course, a dog knows the truth. <3
Even though this was an interesting story, the lack of believability really stopped me from liking it too much. It wasn’t bad, if you’re able to set aside the obvious issues and go with it. I did enjoy watching Ella learn more about Maddy and come to terms with what happened between the two of them before she died. But my final verdict? It was just okay.
Have you read this one yet? What did you think? Did you find the whole concept a bit unbelievable?