Review: The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver


The Secrets We Keep

Series: Standalone

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Publication Date: April 28, 2015

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Pages: 294

Synopsis: 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.


When I heard about this book a few months ago, the synopsis intrigued me so much that I immediately added it to my TBR and began the wait for it to be in stores. Shortly after it was published, I was lucky enough to win a copy of the book in a blog giveaway. It was a short and fast read, but it unfortunately left me disappointed in the end.

The Plot

The biggest problem I had with the book was that it was SO unrealistic. When I read the synopsis of this book, I was worried that this would be an issue. Unfortunately, it was. I honestly can’t see how Ella’s family didn’t know that it was her and not Maddy. I understand that they were grieving, but the twins were so different from one another, even though they were biologically the same. For example, throughout the book there was a huge emphasis on how different the twins were: different personalities, different styles, different groups of friends, etc. Therefore, how didn’t anyone figure it out right away?!

The Characters

I didn’t care for most of the characters in this novel. Especially our main character, Ella. She was extremely oblivious and idiotic (even though she was supposed to be the smart one!). She had it in her head that her parents loved Maddy more than her – even though it was obviously not true. Her parents are so overcome with grief due to the loss of who they think is Ella. You would think Ella would be like “Wow, they really do miss me!” but nope. She ignores this and keeps bringing up the fact that her parents were so happy that “Maddy” survived. She thinks that they’re glad that Maddy lived instead of Ella. The only reason they’re happy “Maddy” is alive is because it would be ten times worse if they had lost both of their children!!! It doesn’t mean they’re happy that “Ella” died!!

Josh (Ella’s best friend) really saved this book for me. He was pretty much the only character I actually liked. The main reason for this was because he was so real. In a book where everything was so unrealistic, he was a breath of fresh air. Other than Ella’s parents, I think Josh had the hardest time with what happened and he handled it in a very believable way. He’s the reason why I couldn’t give this book only 1 star.

Alex (Maddy’s boyfriend) was another character I didn’t really care for. I respected his love for Maddy and the way he was always protecting her. However, sometimes his protectiveness was a little too much. Also, he was another case of “How didn’t he know that Maddy was really Ella?” Alex dated Maddy for three years – Ella described them as being inseparable. Yet, when Ella starts pretending like she’s Maddy, Alex has no suspicions.


After anticipating this book for so long, I’m upset that it ended up disappointing me. However, I am willing to give Trisha Leaver’s other/future books a try because I did actually enjoy her writing.


2 stars