YA Review: THE SECRETS WE KEEP by Trisha Leaver

Although I didn’t win this book through PitchWars like the last couple I reviewed, I did pick it up after learning about it from Trisha Leaver’s PitchWars mentor bio. As soon as I read the blurb, I was dying to read the whole book. Check it out.

The Secrets We Keep by Trisha LeaverElla 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 and her best friend, Josh, 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.

Here are the five things I loved most about this book.

1. The premise – I am a sucker for anything involving twins. I don’t know why. One of my old manuscripts is even about twins. But the idea of waking up and being confused and everyone thinking you are your twin and you think they’re happy it was you who died, plus you feel guilty, and then you’re in too deep … wow.

2. The secrets and lies – At the heart of this story is a mystery Ella must solve–a mystery about her sister, the secrets she was keeping and the lies she’d told. But she never would have known about them if she hadn’t embarked on her own journey of secrets and lies. I loved how twisted it all was.

3. The character arc – Ella doesn’t start out in the best place, even before the accident. Her sense of her own self-worth and how everyone around her sees her is very skewed, which is partially what leads her down the path of impersonating Maddy. But it’s only through being Maddy that she’s able to grow as Ella. I liked seeing how she came into her own.

4. The romance – It’s almost like there were parallel romances going on in the story. Not for Ella, but a glimpse at the romance Maddy had with her boyfriend and Ella’s realization of what she’d missed with her best friend. Because of Ella’s viewpoint at the beginning, I thought the Maddy/boyfriend side of the story was going to be shown very differently than it was. I really appreciated how learning about that romance ended up being almost a factor of Ella’s character growth.

5. The stakes/ending – This was one of those books where I couldn’t stop reading because I kept thinking, “This is so messed up, how can it possibly end well?” Those are some awesome stakes. And as for the ending, well, I’m not giving that away, but I was satisfied. I stayed up too late to get to it :).

Have you read THE SECRETS WE KEEP? I highly recommend adding it to your TBR list.

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