Ok, complete GUSH time! Anyone who has been following me, either on here or on Instagram, for a while will know that I am a huge fan of Karen M. McManus just from her first book, One of Us is Lying. So naturally I couldn’t wait to read her second novel Two Can Keep A Secret!
Short answer: Yes. Longer, more in depth answer: Yes…but…
Ok, not exactly a more in depth answer there, so let me explain.
I am completely at fault for Two Can Keep A Secret not living up to 100% of my expectations. This is because I put too much pressure on it and heaped on the expectations, so the minutest details (which I likely wouldn’t have noticed/been bothered by otherwise) seemed to stand out like a neon sign in a church. This was my fault. I overhyped the book in my own head. Two Can Keep A Secret is an amazing book and my nit-picking is a result of my own dumbassery.
However, keeping that in mind, I do feel like Two Can Keep A Secret packed less of an overall punch than One of Us is Lying. But it was still a fun read! I loved the book!
“If I believed in omens, this would be a bad one.”
Also, as an aside, if anyone out there is unsure if they have to read One of Us is Lying before Two Can Keep A Secretin order to get the most out of it: you don’t! They are completely separate stories!
Here’s a quick low down of Two Can Keep A Secret:
- Ellery and her twin brother Ezra travel to their mum’s hometown of Echo Ridge during a nasty hail storm and find a body on the road.
- The twins quickly find their new home is steeped in secrets about disappearing girls and their murders. These dark deeds all began with the disappearance of their mum’s twin sister on Homecoming Night.
- 5 years later another Homecoming Queen is found dead after going missing.
- The Twins find themselves in the middle of an unravelling mystery of omens, death and threats that have plagued Echo Ridge for years.
“Ezra snorts. ‘El, we’ve been here three weeks. So far we’ve reported a dead body, gotten jobs at a murder site, and been targeted by a homecoming stalker. Although that last one was all you’ “
Two Can Keep A Secret is a YA thriller, and usually that would set alarm bells off for me as I’m no the sub-genres biggest fan. But McManus is such a master of her craft that the story pulled me in and had me turning pages more fervently as the story went on!
You might remember from my review of One of Us is Lyingthat I figured things out pretty quickly, but that it didn’t spoil my overall enjoyment. Two Can Keep A Secret had me guessing almost up to where the big reveal was coming (unlike most YA thrillers), although I did see a few things coming!
I loved how my opinion of practically everyone and everything constantly changed as the story went on! I kept going round and round trying to figure out who the “bad guy” was and what their motive could be! Needless to say, Two Can Keep A Secret is fast-paced, full of mystery and very clever in places!
Echo Ridge definitely gave off ‘small town spooky’ vibes and had a murky undertone all the way through – it was almost like a ghost town at times! It was defiantly giving of some Halloween vibes- both the holiday and the movie!
“Unless you’re what people should be afraid of.”
The characters were given time to develop in Two Can Keep A Secret and I absolutely applaud McManus for the way in which she represented diverse characters. The diversity of the characters was so ‘background’ in Two Can Keep A Secret. What I mean by that is that – in some novels, particularly YA – a characters ‘difference’ is shouted from the rooftops, be it their skin colour, sexuality, disability etc. And I hate that. An aspect of a character does not define a character. Just like in real life it does not define a person. In Two Can Keep A Secret the ‘difference’ was just…there.
It wasn’t a platform or pushed in your face. It allowed the character to represent themselves as themselves, not as a character representing an entire group of people – which I feel is too often done, both in real life and in books. So well done McManus, I applaud you on your handling of representation.
It’s nice to see (for example) a character who is gay be just that – a character who happens to be gay. Not a gay character. See the difference? One puts the character first, the other puts the ‘difference’ first. The ‘difference’ was not the sole focus or ‘reason for being’ for any character in Two Can Keep A Secret. It was both completely refreshing and 100% welcome! I hope other authors take notice!
“He’s still in his polo and khakis, but he’s slipped on a pair of gloves, too. Somehow that’s more chilling than the gun.”
Karen M. McManus has proven beyond a doubt that she is not a one hit wonder. She’s an amazing storyteller and is immensely skilled at showing the complex behaviours of teenagers, as well as a master of mystery for a younger audience.
As far as I’m concerned McManus is a bona fide auto-buy author for me now.
If I had to mention one thing that perhaps fell victim to my own stupid overhype, it would be that I didn’t like how the big climax was resolved. It felt a little rushed and therefore not as exciting as it could have been (or would have been without my overhype).
But other than that I adored Two Can Keep A Secret and I still think that McManus is a very talented writer. She builds suspense incredibly well and her books have an ‘unputdownable’ quality to them!
For me I got exactly what I wanted from Two Can Keep A Secret. It was an entertaining read that had be constantly guessing and re-guessing and I enjoyed myself every step (or page turn) of the way!
Plus… that last line will haunt you (and me) for ages.
“Someone added an oversized print of Katrin’s class picture with the eyes gouged out and an RIP date of October 5- next weekend’s homecoming dance.”
Do you want to delve deep into the secrets of Echo Ridge? You can buy it here with FREE worldwide delivery!
[PLEASE NOTE]: I was not paid or sponsored to write this review – all the opinions are honest and my own.
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