Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Published: April 28th 2015
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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 received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Twins seem to be a theme in a lot of books coming out in 2015, well twins or siblings. Personally I’ve always been interested by twins/siblings as I’m an only child so I was pretty excited to see the theme. And I was extra excited to see The Secrets We Keep as is took the plot to a different level. And I’m happy to report that The Secrets We Keep was utterly fascinating. It was a really sold story and I’m happy to have read it.
The Secrets We Keep is about Ella and Maddy, identical twins that couldn’t be any different. Ella is the quiet, shy artist while Maddy is the popular prom queen. Up until they reached high school the girls were very close but that all changed the more popular Maddy got and the more closed off Ella became. One night after a huge argument both girls get into an accident which changes everything. Maddy dies and Ella is left to pick up the pieces. When ever one assumes she’s Maddy and not Ella, she makes the decision to take on Maddy’s identity thinking it would be better if Ella was the one gone. Too bad taking over Maddy’s life isn’t as easy as Ella thinks. What seemed like the perfect world is a world built on secrets. As Ella uncovers them she starts to wonder if her happiness is worth taking it from everyone else.
In theory this is a hard idea to wrap your head around. I mean taking over someone’s life to make other people happy? It seems like an implausible thing to happen. But as I read the book and saw the circumstances involved I actually understood why Ella did what she did. Leaver made me believe what Ella believed and feel the way she was feeling. I actually understood why she did what she did. I think that was really important in a story like this because if it didn’t work I could see myself finding Ella selfish over selfless. She just thought she was doing the right thing based on assumptions she made and that was portrayed very clearly. I really liked the side characters too. Alex, Josh, Molly and even Ella and Maddy’s parents, and Maddy’s memory were all a great fit for this book. Each character brought out different parts of Ella and made her who she is, even when she was being Maddy.
All in all I really thought The Secrets We Keep was a great thought provoking read. I wish it was longer just to iron out a few things and tweak a couple of minor things, but really the book was excellent. It was different and it kept me riveted and I was dying to see what would happen. I may have even teared up at the end, I definitely recommend this one.
I loved The Secrets We Keep! Working on my review for this today. I agree with you about the fact that I could understand why Ella did what she did. It wouldn’t have worked if Ella didn’t have enough motivation to feel she needed to take her sister’s place. She really went through the ringer with all that, and I remember wondering how it was all going to play out. Definitely a thought-provoking book!
Great review, Andi!
I couldn’t agree more about the interesting premise–the plot for this one is so fascinating. Sadly the pacing never worked for me so I wasn’t able to really get into the story. Like you I wish the novel had gone a bit longer to tie up some dangling threads.
I loved this book. It had it’s flaws, but I overall enjoyed it very much . It reminded me of The Lying Game (more the show than the book). I agree with what you said at the end. I also wish it had gone on just a little longer to tie up some loose ends