Monday, April 27, 2015

Review ~ The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver

Series: standalone
Genre: YA contemporary / mystery
Pages: 304
Publication Date: April 28th, 2015
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Goodreads Description:
A girl takes over her twin sister's identity in this emotionally charged page-turner about the complicated bond between sisters.

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. 
Source: I received an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Secrets We Keep made me cry really hard. It started out making me choke up a little, then making my eyes water, then BAM. All the feels hit. It was just so sad and incredibly unfair. Why does life have to be so unfair? I wasn't just feeling for Ella or the rest of the characters. I was feeling for the fact that so many people have to lose loved ones in completely unfair situations. Even though the actions that Ella took--pretending to be her sister--aren't common ones, the pain she felt, the loss she had to endure are really common. This book reminded me of that and made me incredibly sad. Simply writing this is bringing back those feelings.

Moving on. . . .

This book was about many things: death, guilt, life, sister bonds. Feeling inadequate or the lesser of the two options. Living your life. You can't becomeanother person--you can't live their life for them. You need to be you.

Ella broke my heart. She so insecure and lacked of self-esteem. She didn't realize how much people loved her, partially because she kept pushing them away. Her actions were definitely not normal, but I could understand why she decided to be Maddy. The guilt and inadequacy she felt were really easy to sense, so her decision to be her sister and attempt to live her life for her was convincing to me.

Josh was my favorite character besides Ella. I felt really bad for him because he had to go through the experience of losing her (which was one of the many things that made me really sad). I liked how Ella could be herself around him--he reminded her so much of herself. He helped her open her eyes and realize that she was loved more than she thought she was. I found it sad that it took Maddy's death to trigger that.

There was a little bit of mystery, but it was late and it didn't seem to fit. It was just odd. It felt unnecessary, yet the effects of learning Maddy's secrets were important.

It took me awhile to get into the writing. I was immediately wary of it, but the story swept me up. So, I didn't notice anything bad about the writing for the majority of the book.

Overall, The Secrets We Keep is an emotionally draining read capable of leaving lingering effects on its readers. Reading Ella's story as she felt the need to live Maddy's life for her and to leave Ella behind was an experience that I was glad I got to have. I highly recommend this one if you love a great emotional contemporary.

2015 challenges this book counts towards:
105 Challenge
Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge

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