by Trisha Leaver
To be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
on April 28, 2015
Source: ARC for review
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.
My take: I really love twin books and books about impersonators and books about twins who impersonate one another. I've loved this trope since the original The Parent Trap and all those cheesy soaps I was watching instead of doing my homework, in which everyone seemed to have an evil twin.
So let's just say I've seen this plot a few times before. Perhaps as a result of all those twin switch books I've read, I've developed my preferences. While I liked The Secrets We Keep, I can't say I loved it. In my opinion, twin switch plots work better if they choose a lane: comic or creepy. This book was sort of ... neither. As the synopsis suggests, Maddy dies and Ella feels responsible for her death and, in a sort of strange twist, decides to pretend to be the dead sister out of guilt. Which also prevents her from facing her guilt. And that should make her feel even more guilty...
I think this book was trying to do too many things. It had to be a switching places book and a grief book and a guilty secrets book and a romance and then there was also a mystery thrown in -- not about Maddy's death, which I think could have improved the story, but about some shady stuff that Maddy had been up to before she died. For me, this prevented this book from being as suspenseful and/or emotional and/or romantic as it could have been. On the plus side, this story avoided messy love geometry, as can happen in these kind of life swapping stories.
If you love impersonator books, definitely give The Secrets We Keep a try, and you can also check out my review on Goodreads, which includes a list of twin/impersonation books I've read.
Be sure to stop by on Friday, because I'm giving away an ARC of this book!
This book sounds like it's afflicted with an ADDisorder. Probably not going to be an enjoyable one for me.ReplyDelete
For me, it felt that way. Others on Goodreads have enjoyed it, though.Delete
I have never read a twin switch book before and it sounds interesting. I am going to checkout your list of others - Thanks!ReplyDelete
You must read a twin switch book!!Delete
This is the first time I read about this book, and I love how it sounds. I've never read a book like this, so I think I'll enjoy it.ReplyDelete
Thanks for your review, Jen!
I look forward to hearing your thoughts! I did see some positive reviews, so I hope you like it!Delete
It's not uninteresting, but as you yourself note, it's not exactly a novel concept. Personally, I'm not too big a fan of the idea, though I can't quite explain why. I suppose I'm having a hard time stomaching it. I'm not a twin, but I do have a little sister and we're close :) Sisterhood, from my experience, is sacred and I guess don't like it portrayed any other way. Which I guess make me a big weirdo, but there you have it. Another lovely review, Jen :)ReplyDelete
I think the concept works better when it's for laughs, as in Parent Trap or those Olsen twin movies. Or maybe if Ella had been trying to solve Maddy's murder. I just didn't find her motives for the switch compelling enough.Delete
I actually just finished this one too Jen. although I think this one worked for me way more than it did for you. I can see how you had a few issues with this one and I understand your qualms about this one being about a bit too much. I definitely see that but at the same time, it just worked for me. Great review Jen! I love reading about different opinions!ReplyDelete
lol -- read your review yesterday. I'm glad it worked better for you, and I could see your point of view as well. I think because I've read so many of these books, I can't help but compare!Delete
I like the concept of this book but if there's too many things happenings the book a trying to be and do it would put me of.. I am going to add this to my TRL and hopefully give it a try.ReplyDelete
Megan @ http://readingawaythedays.blogspot.co.uk
Hope you enjoy it!Delete
Great review. I've had mixed feelings on reading this one. I'm not sold on the book yet, but I might give it a try if I get around to it.ReplyDelete
Let me know what you think!Delete
I read this one back in December, while I do love the premise and the pretty cover - the plot bothered me a bit because it wasn't that creepy of what Maddy did, I expected something more shocking and creepy you know? Wonderful review overall. <3 Benish | Feminist ReflectionsReplyDelete
Completely agree! I think it needed to be either more comic or way more creepy. There were moments in the book -- like when Maddy's boyfriend started moving in on Ella because he thought she was Maddy -- that had the potential to be creepier, but the book always backed off on that.Delete
I haven't read a lot of twin impersonating books, but the things you brought up about this book makes me weary when I read a synopsis about the topic. It can either be awesome and explore so many things, or it can be terrible. I'm glad this book avoids the messy love geometry. I wonder how.ReplyDelete
lol -- see my comment above. It definitely avoided that, which I appreciated, but at the same time, pretending to be Maddy should have felt more ... dangerous!Delete
This book sounds a little bit messy, but I like the concept. I was also a huge fan of The Parent Trap, and I like the whole impersonation idea. I hope I have the time to read this one day!ReplyDelete
I can't even count the times I've seen The Parent Trap, both the original and the LiLo remake!Delete
Great point about trying to do too many things, but I ended up connecting with her more so I liked a bit moreReplyDelete
I'm glad you enjoyed -- I saw reviews on Goodreads that agreed with you and some reviewers that felt more the way I did. So people should make up their own mind!Delete
bummer. I think you are so right though. Twins can go creepy or comically not really much in between. Sometimes when books try to fit everything in the story...romance, realistic fiction, mystery and so on it works and other times it doesn't. its a think line to walk.ReplyDelete
That was my issue. I wanted it to be a little edgier, scarier, more dangerous. It just never got there for me.Delete
Sounds too much like its all over the place for my liking. The cover is great though :)ReplyDelete
I need to add it to my silhouette cover post!Delete
I haven't had great luck with sister books so far. I usually connect to one and get annoyed by the other.ReplyDelete
Is it just me or are a lot of books suffering from "too many things" syndrome lately?
Karen @For What It's Worth
I think there's the temptation to keep throwing stuff in to make the book exciting, and then it ends up like a recipe with too many things in it!Delete
Oh, man, that's disappointing. I was ready to give this book a go, but if it's all over the place and doesn't focus on a central theme, then I'd be frustrated. I want something tighter and meaningful, than one that tries to do alot of things at the same time :/ Sadness.ReplyDelete
Faye at The Social Potato
Try it, or at least read a few more reviews!Delete
Ah, the premise sounds intriguing, but sometimes when books try to do too much, they end up failing at all of it. Sorry this wasn't a winner!ReplyDelete
I agree -- I think this book had a bit of an identity crisis.Delete
I completely agree with the comic or creepy part and I must say that I prefer creepy. I'm very picky when it comes to humor. Anyway, I don't think this would work for me, unfortunately. It sounds like a decent read, but I'd definitely want more.ReplyDelete
I can go either way!Delete