April 16, 2015

The Secrets We Keep - Trisha Leaver

The Secrets We Keep book cover
The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux (BYR)
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Source/Format: Publisher (Thank you!) || ARC
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects my review.]

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.

It is rather disappointing when you want to fall in love with a book you're reading, but find yourself, well, not in love with it. At all. This is not to say that I didn't like The Secrets We Keep, because I did. It has a great concept, decent execution, and there came a moment in my reading where I needed to know just what the heck was going on. Plus, there are fascinating elements at play. Twins who are different as night and day (Sweet Valley, anyone?) and their special connection. Friendships that are made of really strong stuff. Artistic talent that sounds incredible (and I do have a soft spot for artistic characters). Secrets that beg to be known immediately after catching the first whiff of a hint.

It sounds incredible, does it not? And yet, The Secrets We Keep fell short. Part of the reason was the pacing; it takes time for this novel to crescendo into something compelling. And, as I mention frequently, character connection is essential when it comes to my enjoyment of a novel, and this was lacking in that department. Add these up along with a touch of soap opera level drama, and it resulted in a book that was not my cup of tea. 

It's quite a shame that what I did like of The Secrets We Keep failed to withstand the onslaught of the things about it that I didn't quite gel with. Subjectively, I didn't particularly think it memorable. But objectively, I do think it's a good contemporary stand-alone that many others will enjoy. If the synopsis appeals to you at all, I'd encourage you to give it a shot!
Do you have any gifts you've kept from your best friend?

I keep so many gifts from my best friends! These are girls I've known for years and years now, at least one decade, so it's not surprising I have a bit of a collection. Here are a few of my favorites:
  • One of my favorite gifts I've ever gotten is from my best friend Rachel, one of my college roommates. She gave me a necklace with one of my nicknames ("Lexy") spelled out, and I have it to this very day. 
  • I also have a Paris-themed storage chest, an Eiffel tower picture holder, an Eiffel tower shirt and an Eiffel tower necklace from my best friend Pam, one of my high school friends. It's a set of gifts inspired by our dream of one day visiting Paris together.
  • I have a New York-themed charm bracelet from my best friend Jaymee, which is inspired by our mutual experience of living, working and making our way in New York City together.
I also have so many notes passed between us when we were in school, letters and emails we've exchanged over the years, and even lots of silly printed photos of us. My best friends are some of the most amazing women, and I'm so lucky to have them in my life.


  1. This reminds me of the movie "The Pretty One" (2013) starring Zoe Kazan, which has the exact same premise, but instead of web of lies, you get a cute neighbor. You should check it out! :)

  2. I felt the same way about this book. So much to love but then I was so put off by the pacing. I wish the story had started later.

  3. Nicole @ The Quiet ConcertApril 17, 2015 at 10:13 PM

    I don't think I am going to read this one. The synopsis didn't completely pull me in to begin with and your not the first person to mention its shortcomings. Sorry this one wasn't quite what you hoped it would be :/

  4. Shelumiel Gueco DSApril 20, 2015 at 5:44 AM

    This sounds much like Zoe Kazan's The Pretty One. But sucks that you didn't love it. John Green has just the right quotation for this kind of situation: "I wanted to like booze more than I actually did."


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