August 2, 2017

Who Will I Be? • The Secret History of Us

Olivia wakes up in a hospital after a car accident that nearly kills her, an accident that she can’t even remember. But it isn’t the only thing she’s forgotten; she can longer recall anything about the last four years of her life – her high school memories, her friendships, her boyfriend are all unfamiliar and strange. Olivia struggles to come to terms with the girl she used to be, the girl everyone says she was and the girl she is now… especially when she discovers secrets being kept from her.

The Secret History of Us book cover
Plot? It sounds like a story straight out of a film, or even something you might hear about on the news. A girl in a near fatal car accident who miraculously survives, only to realize that her memory of the last four years of her life are lost to her and she needs to figure out how to move forward without those experiences, feelings, relationships being a part of who she is any more. It is very simple, but the way it is told is quite compelling.

Characters? Olivia is, without a doubt, a very complicated. She is being told who she is by the people who remember things about her, but is also coming to terms with the feelings and instincts she is currently experiencing. It’s a complex juxtaposition, and I truly felt for her while she was struggling to figure out what is right for her. It was also easy for me to like her, as I did find the impressions of her – from other people and her own thoughts – relatable. Kirby also does a great job with the secondary characters, from Olivia’s family, her best friends, her boyfriend and the stranger who saves her life.

Writing? It’s such simple writing, but Kirby includes subtle details to bring the place, the people, the story to life. It did feel a little bit anticlimactic and rushed at the end, and I would have enjoyed a little more time with Olivia as she sorts out what is going on with her. I also felt like the secondary characters could have used a little more page time to become even more well-developed, fleshed-out individuals. But overall, since this is primarily Olivia’s story, we get what we’re told we will: a lot of Olivia sorting out her life and feelings on her own, and with the help of other people now and again.

Overall? I liked The Secret History of Us, despite the issues I had with the ending and the development of characters and plot. The novel does a great job of portraying Olivia’s internal struggle after she wakes up from a coma without some of her memories, and I was drawn into her story and rooting for her to do what was right or best for her. It’s a very quick read, though I’d classify it as being on the quieter side of YA contemporary.

If you were going to share a word or phrase that only you and your friends would know the significance of, what would it be? “Angel of Mine”, and I’m not going to tell you what it means. If you know, you know.

The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby
Publisher: Harper Teen | Publication Date: August 1, 2017
Source: e-galley downloaded from Edelweiss (Thanks!)


Post a Comment

Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)