Thursday, April 23, 2015

Review: The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver

The Secrets We Keep by Trisha LeaverThe Secrets We Keep
by Trisha Leaver
April 28, 2015
304 pages

Goodreads Summary:
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.


The Secrets We Keep was an incredibly emotional and powerful read for me. My eyes were practically glued to the pages. The story had my utmost attention. Not once did I feel bored or want to put the book down. It was riveting!

Ella and Maddy are twins with very different personalities. Maddy is the popular well-loved one while Ella's the quiet and artsy half. They used to be each others world until one day they weren't. Maddy made new friends and pushed Ella towards someone else. Ella never understand why Maddy changed. Their relationship was fragile and tense. Then the accident happens leaving Ella forever alone in the world.

I seriously ached for Ella. What she had to go through was so heartbreaking. The initial confusion and then the guilt and anguish all led her to make the worst decision ever: to become Maddy. In the midst of thinking she's giving Maddy what she deserves, Ella completely forgot about the people that actually loved her. She could not hide herself from Josh, her best friend, because he's always loved her (Ella was the only one that didn't seem to realize this) and would know her anywhere. He spoke words that could not have been wiser. My favourite being when he opened Ella's eyes to why their mom always did everything for Maddy. Because Ella always pushes them away like she doesn't want their help. Something Maddy once said to Ella about her drawing made me think it fits Ella a lot. "I think the flaws are what make it perfect." (eARC, p.150). I bet this was the way Josh saw Ella. He knew what she was doing wasn't helping anyone and instead of trying to expose her, he tried to help her see that.

I felt a bit disconnected to the whole Ella-becoming-Maddy storyline. I couldn't pinpoint why until I realized it was because of Ella. Her resolve to become Maddy was undermined by her own actions. She didn't try very hard besides dressing like her sister and staying by Alex's side. Only her thoughts expressed pure determination to become Maddy. Further complicating things was the fact that Maddy had secrets. A big one that Ella had to pretend she remembers. Maddy's big secret was a bit of a let down. After all the build up, it turned out to be just that. I mean, it was bad but I also already suspected it. The irony is also not lost on me that Ella' was 'saved' by Molly the one that Maddy destroyed.
A part of me really blamed the girls' parents and Alex for the case of mistaken identity. If people hadn't mistaken Ella for Maddy in the first place, Ella would've never gotten the idea to become her dead twin. But then again, they were traumatized too so I couldn't possibly hold it against them. Her parents does love her and Alex really did care for Maddy was all that was important. The one person I thought had more going on was Jenna. Yet as it turns out, she really was just a manipulative snob not worth anybody's time.

Despite some flaws, I think the story hit particularly close to my heart because I have an identical twin sister too. As one half of a twin, I could identify with Ella and understand her need to do what she did for Maddy. Even if it was all so obviously wrong. At least it taught Ella that she's loved by her parents and Josh.

The pacing of the book was done beautifully. It perfectly brought out the raw intensity of the story. Anything I say will not do this book justice. The Secrets We Keep is an emotionally-charged book that will turn your emotions upside down. In a good way.

4.5 Cats
*I received an eARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinion are my own and not affected in any way. All quotes were taken from the Advance Review Copy I received.


  1. I'm glad that you enjoyed this one! It was a really unique concept for a book. Thanks for stopping by my blog! It's always nice to connect with other bloggers, especially fellow twins:)

    1. It's so cool when so many of us are twins! Does your twin read too? Mine doesn't but I'm glad I can talk to other twins about books!

  2. I'm actually reading this one right now so i'm going to have to come back and read your review once i'm finished! I've made a mental note too! So far i'm loving it and where the story is going!

    1. Aww thanks Lily!! I can't wait to hear what you think~ It's such an unforgettable story :)

  3. I hate when a book revolves around seemingly big secrets and it turns out to be not so big! But the concept seems really interesting. Great review!

    ~Karina @ Watcha Reading

    1. I don't know whether the secret was made to be intentionally obvious or not. I think most people could guess it about halfway through. The story itself was still really great though :)

  4. Ah, I saw this one online last night and was curious about it. I'm glad you reviewed it! I was really wondering how plausible it was that the girls' parents would fall for Ella's ruse (and also, how the hospital would let it happen, too? Augh, I overthink everything! Also, how awful to wake up and have everyone be super excited that your TWIN is alive, not you.). Super curious about what Maddy's secret was, but it sounds like it was pretty easily figured out. Thanks for reviewing this one!

    1. You're so welcome :D You know, I had the same doubts too but I think the story covered that part really well! I definitely recommend you giving it a try!

  5. I'm very glad to hear that you loved this one so much given that you're a twin too! Now I'm even more interested in reading this one.
    Great review Eileen!

    1. Thanks Pili! I think this is one of those stories that just stays with you :)


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