10 July 2017

The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver

 
Published: April 28, 2015
# of Pages: 294 
Source: Library Copy 
Genre: YA Mystery/Contemporary 


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.
 


This was a book that I read in coordination with the SC Book Award Nominees. If you are interested in seeing what awards were nominated in the four categories you can check out the following website: https://scasl.memberclicks.net/assets/BookAwards/2017-2018/2017%20-%202018%20final%20nominee%20lists%20final.pdf

So far this has been my least favorite of all the nominees that I have read. My first issue began with the characterization of the twin sisters. Both Ella and Maddy seemed extremely insecure within the opening pages of the novel and this alone threw me completely off. Once the plot begins, the reader finds out that Ella feels guilty about the accident that took her sisters life so to gain some type of "forgiveness" or comfort she assumes her sisters identity.  Although this is the core of the story, I had no idea why Ella felt like it was okay to do this. A lot of the drama and issues that ensue because of this lie could have been prevented had she told the truth. And in my opinion, Ella doesn't have a good reason for assuming her sisters identity. Part of the reason why she did it is because she felt sorry for herself. It's out of control and a lot of her actions are based in self-pity. She thinks that her parents love her less than Maddy. She takes her best friend for granted. Ultimately, I didn't care for Ella as a person. I couldn't relate to her and I felt as though her reasoning was immature. 

Outside of Ella, Leaver did construct some interesting characters who were more patient with Ella than I would have ever been. These characters mainly came in the form of Josh, her best friend, and her parents. I know that if I was Josh and Ella lied to me the way she did to him we would have more problems than they had and it would take more than a kiss and an "I love you" to make up for it. Even with the revelation of the secrets that Maddy kept, I didn't feel like the story made much sense. The ending was too convenient and the damage that was caused could have never been resolved in the short amount of time allotted. The message that I got at the end was the following: "having a significant other fixes everything." If this message isn't problematic then I don't know what is. 

As some of you can probably tell, I didn't enjoy this novel at all. The only redeeming quality was the writing. It was fast and relatively easy to read. If you're interested in twin stories this is one that I would not necessarily recommend. 


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