BOOK REPORT for The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver

Cover Story: Double Trouble

BFF Charm: Nope

Swoonworthy Scale: 2

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Talky Talk: Classic Soap

Bonus Factor: Twins

Relationship Status: Just Friends

 The Secrets We Keep

Cover Story: Double Trouble

I actually like the cover—it gets the twins point across without being a Big Face cover, and the rainy night and flashing lights evoke the scene of the accident.

The Deal:

Twins Maddie and Ella are as different as Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield: one is superpopular and bitchy, one is a quiet artistic type who dreams of going to RISD with her BFF Josh. But Ella is getting tired of rescuing Maddie from her popularity-related foibles, and one night, her attempt to scare her sister ends in a fatal car accident. Maddie is killed instantly, but Ella wakes up days later, unsure of who she is.

When Ella realizes that she caused the accident and killed her sister, she vows to become Maddie—the popular one, the one she assumes everyone loves more—so that her sister can still have a life. But acting as her sister has plenty of unintended consequences.

BFF Charm: Nope

There are times when Ella is really relatable—her guilt and sorrow over her stupid mistake are completely understandable. But why does she think it’s better to impersonate her sister? Why does she think this will somehow make up for it? I just can’t give my BFF charm to someone who is willing to take this scheme to the extent Ella does.

Swoonworthy Scale: 2

One thing I really liked about Maddie’s boyfriend Alex is that he easily could have been a douchey jock stereotype, but he wasn’t. In fact, if he were romancing the right girl, he might be pretty hot. Josh, Ella’s BFF, who is bereft when “she” dies, is also pretty dreamy. However, the twin mixup and the drama surrounding it makes the swoon quotient go way down.

Talky Talk: Classic Soap

This book, and Leaver’s writing, are the stuff daytime soaps are made of—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I love daytime soaps and all their quirks, so if you enjoy a lot of telling rather than showing, impossible situations, sexy moments, and Serious Drama, you might enjoy this too. In fact, if the book had been straight-up camp, I would have liked it better—there are just too many reasons why the plot would never have worked, and a little tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment of that could have served the story well. Plus, mistaking one twin for another is classic soap opera magic, second only to child characters who age from toddlers to teens in a day.

Bonus Factor: Twins

If I were 13, this would have been just the kind of twin book I wanted: dramatic, full of boy trouble and identity-swapping. It’s darker than Sweet Valley High, that’s for sure…but then again, no one died from trying cocaine once, either.

Casting Call:

Aimee Teegarden as Maddie and Ella

William Mosley as Josh

Chuck Hittinger as Alex

Relationship Status: Just Friends

Book, if I’d met you an undisclosed number of years ago, I think we totally would have hit it off, but you’re a little young for me now.

The Secrets We Keep is available now.

Jennie lives in San Francisco. When she's not reading or talking about reading, she cooks obsessively, runs a small jewelry business, thrifts for vintage everything, and practices law.