Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver

Ella and Maddy are identical twins that couldn't be more different.  At one time they were inseparable, but that was before Maddy traded their relationship for popularity and a boyfriend.  Ella might not have been the popular twin, but she was perfectly happy with her low-key life.  She had a passion for drawing and big plans for her future.

Then there is a terrible accident, and only one twin survives.  When Ella wakes up in the hospital, everybody thinks she's Maddy... and everyone seems relieved that she's the one who survived. Rather than crush her parents, and also because she feels responsible for Maddy's life being over, she decides to become Maddy.  Now Maddy will get to live the life that was taken from her so suddenly.

I was middle of the road the whole way through this book.  Part of me was totally addicted and couldn't put it down, part of me wasn't buying the things that were going on.  I think the idea of one twin becoming the other is a really cool one, but I just think it's hard to pull off 100%.

So Ella takes Maddy's place.  She's her identical twin, but she doesn't know very much about Maddy's life.  And then there's Josh.  He was the friend that Maddy pushed Ella off on when she began her social climb.  Ella and Josh formed this really strong friendship.  Of course there was some sexual tension between them, but Josh has a girlfriend, so they're just kind of at a stand-still.  Josh knows right away that something is up with Maddy/Ella.  He knows his best friend.  Even when she does her best to try to convince him, deep down he knows.  I loved that.  I loved Josh the whole way through the book, and felt he was the character who felt the most genuine.

There was a lot of emotional moments in this book, and I felt really connected at times to those feelings.  I felt so bad for Ella that she mistook people being happy that Maddy lived- for them being happy that Maddy was the ONE who lived.  Those are two very different things.  What kind of state of mind do you have to have to believe that your parents would be happier with you being dead over your sibling??  It was a little heart-wrenching.  It also broke my heart when there were flashbacks to how Maddy callously walked away from her twin sister and their life together.  They went from 14 years of being everything to each other to a clean break, where Maddy only seemed to bother with Ella when she needed her help.  So sad!!

Things I didn't like so much:  I never felt that Ella tried all that hard to be Maddy.  She wore her clothes and hung out with her friends, but she never tried very hard to act the way Maddy did.  I know she was grieving, but if you are serious enough to allow your name to be engraved on the gravestone, put some effort into convincing people.  I also didn't like seeing the same old stereotype of the popular kids being the backstabbing-evil types.  And they're always "trying so hard to keep it all together".  Not all popular kids have deep dark secrets that they have to hold in.

The ending was also BLAH.  It wrapped up way too neatly and this quote is spoilery, so highlight it if you want to see it: >>> "As long as I had Josh then somehow everything- the accident, Maddy's death- was going to be okay."  No having a boyfriend does not make the fact that your TWIN sister died okay.  Nothing will.

OVERALL:  A good try at a really hard premise.  I loved the emotional moments that I had while reading it and the way I felt the NEED to keep reading, but it didn't make up for how this book felt too much like many other mediocre Ya books I've read.

This Book Contains:
  • A car accident
  • Twins
  • Sex
  • High school drama
  • Grief
  • Attending ones own funeral
  • Secrets

Add it to your To-Read List!!!

My Rating: 2.5/4

How I got this book: Thanks to Netgalley and Macmillan Children's Publishing Group for allowing me to read and honestly review this book.
Date Published: 4/28/2015

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