The Secrets We Keep

The Secrets We Keep

The Secrets We Keep

by Trisha Leaver

Genre: YA Contemporary
Published: April 28th, 2015
by Farrar, Straus and Giroux




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.


So often you are excited beyond belief for a certain book to release, only to finally get your hands on a copy and find yourself beyond disappointed. The Secrets We Keep was not like that. This is a book that doesn’t just meet expectations, it surpasses them by miles. From start to finish, you will be pulled in to this emotional and beautifully written story and the characters inside it.

When identical twin sisters Maddy and Ella are caught in a terrible car accident, Maddy immediately dies on impact. Ella survives to wakes up in the hospital hours later, surrounded by friends and family who, for one reason or another, think she’s her dead sister.

In her grief, she makes a decision to pretend to be Maddy to help preserve her memory, but she’s unprepared from all the lies and conspiracies her own sister had hidden from her.

Ella is a well-written and sympathetic main character. She’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but she has her heart in the right place and is easy to sympathize for. She’s the typical under-the-radar girl – always reading or drawing, always in the back of the classroom, never drawing more attention to herself than absolutely necessary. Her struggles and her fears and her grief weave their way into your heart, almost to a point that you don’t realize how much until the story comes to a close.

The Secrets We Keep focuses on an intriguing number of important issues and topics that we don’t typically see in young adult. Familial dynamics – sister relationships in particular – are stressed and given a positive and realistic focus, and issues such as popularity, coping with grief, and jealousy are explored.

Whatever “it” is, Trisha Leaver evidently has it – the ability to write a compelling story. The Secrets We Keep is an amazing and emotional story that I’d highly recommend.


70 thoughts on “The Secrets We Keep

  1. Oh, this sounds fascinating! I’m curious to see how Ella gets away with pretending to be her sister – it’s possibly the worst lie that can be told, right?
    Beth x

  2. This book had me at “twins”. xD So glad to hear that you liked it, though. Tbh I’ve heard some mixed things about this, so it’s good to finally see that someone liked it. And I’m DEFINITELY going to be reading it soon. 🙂 Lovely review!

    1. Yeah! So glad you’re intrigued Kara! (“Twins” definitely does that to someone, right? 😉 ) Looking forward to seeing what you think of it.

  3. ERMERGERD. I NEED THIS BOOK IN MY HANDS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE GAHD. Everybody has been hyping about it, and from the looks of it, it looks like a very well deserved hype. eeep <3

  4. AHHHH I WANT THIS SO BAD. I love stories about sisters, and I adore ones about identical twins. I read Thin Space (can’t remember the author, but the cover is like a very sad grey splodge) and I really liked that one. SOOO MUCH EMOTION. *Vulcan heart hyperventilates* Least to say I want this even more. 😉 *TBR glares at you* XDD

  5. Oh my gosh, I have always wanted to read this so bad! I mean, I’ve seen so many positive reviews on this. And I really can’t help but feel so curious and excited! I love the plot — how Ella impersonates Maddy to preserve her memory. While I feel that’s really sweet (in a way), that really holds a lot of suspicion. That’s why I’ve been dying to get a copy in my hand!

    Next time I see this in the store, I’ll definitely buy a copy 😀 Thanks so much for the awesome review as always, Zoe! <3

  6. YES to your review! I read this book back in December, I thought it was a really good character driven novel -the sisterly bond was intriguing as well. I’m glad you enjoyed this book Zoe, wonderful review as always!

  7. Thank you so much for this review. I haven’t seen this one around, and the summary might have left me uncertain if not for your thoughts. I like the sound of it, but it seems like a topic that would be difficult to pull off well. I’m really curious now though!

  8. Eeeeep, Zoe! I just love this cover and the premise too so I’m really glad to hear that you enjoyed it! NO YOU DID NOT JUST PUT FRED AND GEORGE GIFS IN YOUR REVIEW *in Tyra Banks’s voice: WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU???!!!* *sobs quietly* ok ok, i’m alright! I feel like a lot of us bookworms can relate to Ella, though I’m hoping that she isn’t the “stereotypical” under-the-radar girl. I can’t wait to meet her though:) Give me allllll the problematic family stuff *grabs greedily* Thanks for your thoughts, lovely!

    1. Thank you for the lovely comment Siiri! I hope you end up loving it as much as I did once you get a copy!

  9. Great review! I would love to read this book once it is available in our local bookstore. I like that this book would surpass your expectations. 🙂

  10. Totally, 100% agree with you on all of this! Trisha Leaver really does have “it”- I have loved both her books, and I am really excited to read the next two! I adored Ella, and I know what you mean, her heart really WAS in the right place. I think this could have gone badly, but because Ella really and genuinely (and sadly!) thought she was doing what was best for everyone, it worked so, so well! Fabulous review!

    1. Thank you Shannon. I completely agree with everything you’ve said – it’s so sad that Ella really thought she had to go through with all of this. 😐

  11. I’ve seen a few reviews around for this one lately, and it sounds really endearing even considering at the core is grief and deception really. I can imagine that with her parents grief, they didn’t look too closely or they surely could have told that she wasn’t Maddy. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy, and soon. Brilliant review Zoe, so glad you really enjoyed it <3

  12. i ended up completely loving this one. You’re right, the author did an amazing job creating an emotional read and incorporating so many important themes into her book. The Secrets We Keep dealt with so many tough subjects but i felt like what made the book so emotional weren’t necessarily the difficult subjects it mentioned, but the one’s that weren’t always in your face. Brilliant review Zoe:)

  13. Nice review, Zoe- the books that really get you, that manage to exceed your expectations when they’re unbelievably high, those are some of the books I will always adore the most. I get really frustrated with how hype generally gets me super excited for a book, only for me to read it and find that said book is something I really did not enjoy. Phshew. Not fun.
    I don’t think this sounds like the read for me. So glad it was for you- family dynamic/sibling relationships in novels are so incredibly fantastic. xx

    1. That’s the worst, right? Looking forward to something and then having it disappoint you. 🙁 That’s what was so great about this one. 🙂 Thank you – I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

  14. Ummm, so this cover is GORGEOUS and the concept is so cool. I’m really excited that this book managed to surpass your high expectations- that literally is the BEST feeling!!

    I feel like I’d really like Ella- she’s the kind of character that is always endearing to me. I’m interested by her decision to pretend to be her sister, and all these so-called secrets! Plus, I’ve always loveeeed sister relationships in YA, and so I totally want to see how these sister’s relationship is portrayed in this novel!

    Lovely, lovely review, Zoe! You’ve gotten me super intrigued. This book is now on my TBR and I can’t wait to pick it up. 😀

  15. I’m a twin, so I was interesting to see the authors take on this book. It expired on my e-reader though, and I didn’t quite like it enough to check it out again and finish it. Maybe I will at some point though. I’m glad you liked it!

    1. That’s so cool that you’re a twin Shanti! I hope you end up getting a copy so you can finish it. 🙂

  16. The cover is breathtaking, and the premise sounds really interesting! I’m kind of curious to see how she managed to convince everyone, including her parents, that she was her sister. Because even identical twins have distinguishing points, right? I’m glad you enjoyed it! Great review ^^

    1. Yeah, it was a little iffy on that point. It took a bit of suspension of disbelief to kind of believe that she was able to convince everyone of her identity, but for some reason that didn’t really bother me – ha.

  17. This sounds absolutely amazing, I don’t know how I managed to miss it! (This is the first time I’m hearing about it. O_O) I haven’t even met Ella yet, but based on how you describe her, I can tell we’ll get along marvelously. She sounds just like me, in terms of her personality. I’m usually found in the corner reading and trying not to catch anyone’s eye, haha.

    But I think what I’m more intrigued in is how in the first place her friends and family managed to mistake her for Maddy. I feel like there might be some cool mystery to that, but I don’t know.

    I definitely will be checking this one out, so thanks so much for putting it on my radar, Zoe! Lovely review as always. 😀

    1. I think all of us bookworms would have an easy time relating to Ella – ha! 😉

      Yeah, it was a little iffy on that point. It took a bit of suspension of disbelief to kind of believe that she was able to convince everyone of her identity, but for some reason that didn’t really bother me – ha.

      Thanks Meg – I hope you end up enjoying it as much as I did!

  18. Damn, this has got to be the most convincing review for this book that I have ever read O_O It sounds so intriguing to know the secrets your sister has kept from you when you pretend to be her. I wonder if this is like Vanishing Girls in a way… I feel like it is, just more… suspenseful and thrilling. It sounds like it anyway!

    Faye at The Social Potato

    1. Yeah! I’m so glad to hear that Faye! xx

      And it isn’t like Vanishing Girls at all. VG is more of a mystery / thriller, while this is purely a contemporary. They both have awesome sibling relationships in them though. 😉

    1. Aww…sorry to hear you were a bit disappointed with this one Nikki. 🙁 I remember reading your review on it a while back.

  19. Yay yaay! I can’t wait to read this! This is one of my most anticipated reads of the year. I saw your review and was like “disappointment? It’s not as good as I think it’ll be? Awww.” But then I read on and was SO HAPPY to see it’s not like that!

    1. Haha…that would have given me a scare too Danni! Thanks for sharing your thoughts – I hope you end up enjoying it as much as I did. xx

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