Contemporary (Teen), Mystery/Thriller (Teen), Romance (Teen)

Review: The Truth About Keeping Secrets by Savannah Brown

A YA contemporary about navigating grief and discovering new friendships.

Disclaimer: I received an eARC copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. This blog contains affiliate links. I make a small commission when you decide to buy books via the Amazon or Book Depository purchase links available in the book review's post.

The Truth About Keeping Secrets book cover

The Truth About Keeping Secrets

by Savannah Brown

Published February 7, 2019 by Penguin Books
ISBN: 0241346304

Data from Goodreads

Summary (Goodreads): Sydney’s dad is the only psychiatrist for miles around their small Ohio town.

He is also unexpectedly dead.

Is Sydney crazy, or is it kind of weird that her dad-a guy whose entire job revolved around other peoples’ secrets-crashed alone, with no explanation?

And why is June Copeland, homecoming queen and the town’s golden child, at his funeral?

As the two girls grow closer in the wake of the accident, it’s clear that not everyone is happy about their new friendship.

But what is picture perfect June still hiding? And does Sydney even want to know?

My Review: Raw, gritty, and emotionally-charged

Trigger warning: (Click to reveal spoiler) suicidal thoughts, domestic abuse. I don’t like reading many novels around grief. But this one was written so well and I really cannot praise it enough.

The Pros: What worked for me

  • This story covers some hard-hitting topics but does it with the proper gravitas. The way the author describes the grief Sydney feels was so realistic that it had my heart aching. I’ve never lost a parent, but I felt and understood every emotion Sydenty showed.
  • Sydney’s character was so raw but so relateable. She is a teenager dealing with the uncertainty all girls face about sexuality and relationships, but she is also trying to handle something as dark as death. Her sarcasm and coping mechanisms were ones I could understand and it made me connect with her – even though I’ve not had first-hand experience with these issues.
  • The “thrill” (if it can even be called that) took over in the second half but it was still well done, with plenty of clues and hints for the reader to pick up on earlier on in the book. It had a good setup and was also very believable, if unconventional.
  • I adored the relationship between Sydney and June. It was different but not fake and I liked seeing how they both opened up to each other in a way they couldn’t with anyone else.

The Cons: What I didn’t like

  • I didn’t like that this novel was branded as a thriller. The story is really about how Sydney copes with her grief and the mystery took away from that for me. While I still enjoyed the novel, I think the descriptor threw me off (at least in the beginning).

This novel was hard-hitting in its realistic depiction of grief and the ways a teenage girl copes with the loss of a parent. I haven’t come across a contemporary novel quite like this one, and even though people have compared this to We Are Okay by Nina LaCour, I personally believe this one is better than the latter! I give this book 4/5 stars!

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