Monday 20 January 2020

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Review: Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus (#Ad)

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

I was sent this proof for free by Penguin for the purposes of providing an honest review.

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

Published: 10th January 2019 | Publisher: Penguin | Cover Designer: | Source: Publisher
Karen M. McManus' Website

Ellery's never been to Echo Ridge, but she's heard all about it. It's where her aunt went missing at age sixteen, never to return. Where a Homecoming Queen's murder five years ago made national news. And where Ellery now has to live with a grandmother she barely knows, after her failed-actress mother lands in rehab. No one knows what happened to either girl, and Ellery's family is still haunted by their loss.

Malcolm grew up in the shadow of the Homecoming Queen's death. His older brother was the prime suspect and left Echo Ridge in disgrace. His mother's remarriage vaulted her and Malcolm into Echo Ridge's upper crust, but their new status grows shaky when mysterious threats around town hint that a killer plans to strike again. No one has forgotten Malcolm's brother-and nobody trusts him when he suddenly returns to town.

Ellery and Malcolm both know it's hard to let go when you don't have closure. Then another girl disappears, and Ellery and Malcolm were the last people to see her alive. As they race to unravel what happened, they realize every secret has layers in Echo Ridge. The truth might be closer to home than either of them want to believe.

And somebody would kill to keep it hidden.
From Goodreads

Rep: This book features a biracial (half white, half Latina) protagonist, a gay (though no label), biracial (half white, half Latino) secondary character, and a queer, Korean American secondary character.

After completely adoring Karen M. McManus' first book, One of Us is Lying, I was so excited to read her second book! While it doesn't have as many twists as it's predecessor, Two Can Keep a Secret is an engrossing read with an ending I didn't see coming!

Ellery and her brother Ezra have moved in with their Nana in Echo Ridge after their actor mum has ended up in rehab. Echo Ridge has a history; five years ago, the homecoming queen, Lacey was murdered. Back in 1995 another teen girl disappeared - Ellery's aunt, Sarah. The murder and disappearance are unsolved, and people are still living with the affects. Ellery is a true crime fanatic, and has been since learning about the disappearance of the aunt she never met, and was knocked up a gear when she heard that another girl was murdered in her mother's home town. And now she's living there. Malcolm is the younger brother of Declan, Lacey's boyfriend at the time of her murder, and the number one suspect. His brother has since moved away, but he's had to deal with the fall out of people thinking his brother killed his girlfriend. But his mum's recent marriage to Peter, a wealthy, hot shot lawyer, and dad to the most popular girl in school, Katrin, things are kind of looking up, even if he doesn't feel at home in his home. A friendship forms between Ellery, Ezra, Malcolm and his best friend Mia, and they all end up entangled in the town's past when public, anonymous threats are made towards whoever the next homecoming queen will be, fingers are pointed at Malcolm, and Ellery somehow ends up a contender for homecoming queen. When one of the other contenders goes missing, Brooke, Katrin's best friend, suspicions are aroused, and no-one knows who to trust.

While I did love Two Can Keep a Secret, I do think it's important to point something out. While I know we shouldn't really compare books, it's a little difficult not to when they're by the same author, especially if they're in the same genre, and it must be said, Two Can Keep a Secret wasn't quite as gripping as One of Us is Lying. Partly because in the first book, there's a murder in the first chapter, and the fact that one of the many narrators is possibly lying to even the reader. With Two Can Keep a Secret, I was engrossed in the story and really interested in the mystery behind the previous disappearance and murder, nothing majorly thriller-esque happens for quite a while. There are the  anonymous threats against whoever the new Homecoming Queen will be, and while they're awful and creates tension at first, for a long while they're just threats without anything else happening. And because of her strange behaviour before she disappeared, I didn't actually think anything had happened to her - I just assumed she'd run away because she couldn't deal with whatever was making her act strangely (which I had a theory about, and was partly correct!), but I didn't think she was in any danger. So thing's were happening without me even realising they were, and I was waiting for them to happen! It felt a lot slower than McManus' first book.

And it didn't help that a lot of my theories were about things not being what the characters were considering. I didn't think the disappearance of Ellery's aunt and the death of Lacey were connected to each other, and I didn't like the anonymous threats were actually from whoever killed Lacey. I didn't take them all that seriously as the story went on. I just felt it was all either coincidental, or someone pranking. That along with thinking Brooke left of her own accord, I was never worried about anyone or anything. It wasn't until almost the very end, when I realised things just before the characters did, that I felt thrilled by this thriller. But it's my own fault, really.

However, I was super interested in the mystery side of things. Who killed Lacey five years ago? What happened to Sarah in 1995? I had no real clue as to what happened with Sarah (accept for the reason is was her who disappeared over anyone else), but I did have some theories around Lacey, though they were completely off, haha! But I was so engrossed! I needed to know what happened to them both! So many questions! And I really loved the relationships in this book! Ellery and Ezra's relationship - they were so close and such good friends, and I loved seeing them together. Malcolm and Mia's friendship was just wonderful. How all four of them came together and just fit, neither duo really judging the other. I even loved Malcolm's relationship with his brother Declan, and how complicated that was. The sometimes friendly, sometimes not relationship between Malcolm and Katrin. And the blossoming romance between Malcolm and Ellery. And I have to admit, I really loved Ellery's love of true crime, and how she would try and use what she had learnt to try and figure things out - and realising that she actually doesn't know a damn thing. I just loved them all!

And then we do finally get all the answers, and oh my god! I didn't see it coming at all! At all. Until literally a few lines of the book before things fall into place for Malcolm and Ellery. So clever, so awesome! But also, so bloody horrifying and majorly disturbing. And the danger at the end there! Oh my god! My heart was in my mouth! I kind of want to read the book right from the beginning again, just to see if I can pick up on things now I know the truth!

While it felt a little slow, and, through my own theories, I wasn't as on the edge of my seat as I thought I should have been, Two Can Keep a Secret is compulsive reading, and ultimately, bloody incredible! It's shocking and scandalous, and just brilliant! I loved it! And I'm so excited for McManus' next book, One of Us is Next, the sequel to One of Us is Lying!

Thank you to Penguin for the bookseller reading copy.

You might also like:

Sadie by Courtney Summers White Rabbit, Red Wolf by Tom Pollock The Truth About Keeping Secrets by Savannah Brown

Over to you graphic

Have your theories of a thriller ever got in the way of your own enjoyment of a book? Do you prefer to have theories and be prooved right, or to be completely knocked off your feet with the final revelation because you didn't see it coming at all? Have you read Two Can Keep a Secret? Will you be picking it up? Let me know in the comments!

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