Saturday, May 2, 2015

Book Review: The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver

The Secrets We Keep
By Trisha Leaver
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Source: Publisher
Summary: 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.

Review: As a twin myself, I was definitely intrigued by the premise of this book. While my sister and I are best friends, the twins in this book had definitely drifted apart during high school. I couldn't imagine my sister blowing me off like Ella's did, but I completely understand how wholly she loves her sister. I couldn't wait to read a story about a twin relationships that had a lot of secrets. 

Ella and Maddy may be identical in looks, but that's about where their similarities stop. Maddy is popular and works her hardest to stay on top while Ella is happy where she is, drawing and dreaming of getting into art school with her best friend Josh. But after Ella picks up Maddy from a party and has a massive fight with her, Ella makes one mistake that costs Maddy's life. When she wakes, Ella finds herself surrounded by people who believe she is Maddy, so Ella decides to owes it to Maddy to give her a life and pretends to be her. Being Maddy is nothing like Ella expected, though, and the further she delves into Maddy's life, the harder it is to remember the real Ella. 

Right off the bat, I've got to say that this book takes awhile to develop. It's not slow, but it takes about 100 pages for the accident to happen and Ella to decide to be Maddy. Then, the rest of the book is Ella trying to pretend to be Maddy and only uncovering one secret that wasn't all that shocking. I was expecting something horrible, but it was a bit cliche to me and not as crazy as the suspense made it out to be. I was looking for something more original and engaging than what I actually got in this book. 

What I did love about the story, though, was Ella's connection to Maddy and how she uncovers how Maddy really felt about her. Like I said, I'm a twin, so I know that intense connection twins have. Ella is really struggling with the guilt over being responsible for Maddy's death, so this was definitely an emotional read. However, I feel like Jenna's character was your typical mean girl and Ella's relationship with Josh was just another best friends who actually have always loved each other kind of story. 

Overall, this one had the emotions and potential for a really engaging, crazy story, but it fell a bit flat for me. I wanted more intrigue, secrecy, and shock instead of a predictable story with predictable characters.

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