The Secrets We Keep
by Trisha Leaver Published by Macmillan
on April 28th 2015 Genres: Contemporary
, Death & Dying
, Love & Romance
, Young Adult Format:
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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.
I’m for sure not going to keep it a secret that I enjoyed The Secrets We Keep. Trisha Leaver wraps her characters up inside a complicated web of repercussions after a family tragedy–and the people involved will never be the same.
How would you feel if you went to your own funeral and saw everyone’s reactions to your death? Your friends, your parents, your classmates, even the people who bullied you? What would it be like to stare into the coffin and see a girl who’s supposed to be you? How would you maintain your sister’s relationships and social status in the wake of her death, while uncovering secrets about her that you never knew? How sad would you have to be to think that everyone around you wanted your sister alive, not you?
Ella Lawton experiences all of this. She thinks people would want her sister, Maddy, alive instead of her. Her character was being eaten away with grief, and that turned into this obsession of preserving Maddy’s life to shield the people who loved her, though it ended up hurting them more.
I never once got annoyed or angry with Ella for faking her own death. I could really feel the emotional impact it had on her, and, nobody in their right mind impersonates a dead person, their dead sister for that matter, if they are not really emotionally unstable. Ella was a truly broken character, and though it was hard to hear the painful parts of her story, I found her to be a great protagonist. She was relatable in her struggles with bullying, sibling relationships, insecurity, and shyness. Maddy and Ella were completely different in everything but looks–and the tension is obvious as Ella describes the way she covers for Maddy even when her sister in no way deserves the care or concern she shows for her. The night Maddy died, the tension between them was high, and after Maddy’s death the complex relationship begins to unravel as Ella remembers past times of their relationship.
I loved how Trisha Leaver was able to pack so much love and loss into this novel all at once. So much family (the parents are actually present and really supportive), guys, friendship, and heart were present as I was reading. The romance was one of those best friends-to-lovers romances I have read about, and it was so adorable! There were tears, there were smiles, there was squealing, and my heart broke a little when I finished; I didn’t want the words to stop! Go grab this gorgeous book. About four months after reading, I wrote this review, and that just shows how this haunting and beautiful novel stuck with me.