I received a free eARC from Penguin Random House UK Children’s , via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Title: The Truth about Keeping Secrets
Author: Savannah Brown
Release date : 6/3/2019
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 44
(see breakdown below)
From Goodreads: Sydney’s dad is the only psychiatrist for miles around their small Ohio town.
He is also unexpectedly dead.
Is Sydney crazy, or is it kind of weird that her dad-a guy whose entire job revolved around other peoples’ secrets-crashed alone, with no explanation?
And why is June Copeland, homecoming queen and the town’s golden child, at his funeral?
As the two girls grow closer in the wake of the accident, it’s clear that not everyone is happy about their new friendship.
But what is picture perfect June still hiding? And does Sydney even want to know?
THE TRUTH ABOUT KEEPING SECRETS is a page-turning, voice led, high school thriller.
Note: This book deals heavily with grief as well as touching on homophobia and abusive relationships. If you find these topics upsetting this may not be the book for you.
This is a fantastic debut for Savannah Brown. It is far more than the run of mill high-school thriller. It takes a deep dive into so many important topics. We follow Sydney in her journey though grieving for her father. It is really raw and powerful. The emotions are not hidden behind cliches. It describes the dark places the mind reaches to in fear in a beautiful and understanding way that has an almost comforting reassuring tone that I feel a lot of people could identify with. While marketed as a mystery, that really is secondary to the exploration of grief. The mystery itself is interesting playing on the central aspects of Sydney’s grief and winding its way to an equally important denouement. It was not the best twist and did wrap up fairly quickly and slightly too neatly for my liking.
I adored Brown’s writing style, it brought so much life to Sydney’s narration with such a fantastic use of language to really pinpoint her feelings at the time. It really cemented I enjoyed how the side characters moved the story forward. I do wish we had more communication between Sydney and her mum and her best friend Olivia. I feel there was more to the stories between them but we never really explored them. I also feel a certain character was brought in just to move the mystery forward adding a convenient skill set (and racial diversity) to the narrative. However, they had the possibility to be one of the best characters and I wish we got more from them.
—– Slight Spoilers —–
This book also clearly describes a form of an emotionally abusive relationship that as a teenagers I wish I had so clearly recognised. While to some reading this novel it may seem like it is paying lip-service to the issues of consent. I feel the way that the emotion is discussed in this book is fantastic. It clearly shows how it feels to be on the inside of a relationship like that.
—– Spoiler end —–
I am in too minds about the romantic elements in this book. While not a lot of actual romance took place and I liked how Sydney’s feeling built in a very natural way. I feel that when we explored the potential of a romance it was kind of forced to give us a happy ending that wasn’t needed. It had its positive and negative aspects for me and its why this book just hasn’t made the 5 stars. The true star is really how all the feelings of grief, fear, love, happiness, etc are portrayed on the page. They really do capture them perfectly and that is really what made this book special.
Overall this was a page turner with beautiful writing. While, personally I wish it had a little more too it and delved a little deeper into some aspects and the ending was a little too happy for me, I still really enjoyed it.