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Secret Lies

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  120 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Would you face your biggest fear, to save the one you love?

Nicola Jackson escapes from her abuser, only to realize she has no one to turn to and nowhere to go. In a twist of fate, she accidentally bumps into Jenny O’Connor, the most popular girl at school. They strike up an unlikely friendship. As their trust in each other develops, they share their darkest secrets, and th
Paperback, 288 pages
Published December 16th 2013 by Bold Strokes Books (first published December 15th 2013)
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Jan 03, 2014 Justina rated it really liked it
Shelves: f-f, young-adult
The tale takes place in Brassley, a large town in the East Midlands of England. I needed to wing it a bit when school references that would be second nature to locals got bandied about, but I didn’t find that too distracting and I enjoyed trying to equate the situations to my own experiences in the United States. Nicola, one of the leading gals, has just faced a bolt or die scenario and with a few scraps of survival genes still firing she races out of her home only to moments later smack right ...more
Nov 03, 2013 Andrea rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Unfortunately, I did not like this book. What bothered me more than anything was how quickly Jenny comes to accept Nicola. I understand the severity of the situation, but the moment they meet Jenny is trying to prove something in terms of friendship and that she can get close to someone.

I liked Nicola and I enjoyed her point of view and seeing the torment she was subjected to through her eyes, as well as Jenny's but
Littles Books
With a very fast moving plot and a few good twists, this story about two teenage girls falling in love with each other puts us through a whole range of issues. From teenage drama, to abusive households, through self-hatred and self-harm, sexual discovery, appearances and faith, Ms. Dunne takes them all.

Nicola Jackson is an abused stepdaughter with a clueless mother and a disgustingly evil stepfather. Jennifer O’Connor, a social butterfly, popular and the perfect daughter, is also a self-cutter w
Jul 18, 2016 Jackie rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf, netgalley
I started this book, but DNF. The opening chapter is all telling, with little showing. While in the next chapter, we're right in the midst of a violently abusive scene, with far too much showing. Books that make readers voyeurs of a scene of abuse can be really offensive, asking (even if unintentionally) their readers to take pleasure in watching a scene of abuse. Unless the writing is strong enough to push the reader out of that voyeur position in some way, that is. Unfortunately, the writing ...more
Ian Wood
This is the complete review as it appears on my blog. Blog reviews may contain links which are not reproduced here, nor will updates and modifications on the blog be replicated here.

I rated this novel a worthy read.

Warning: spoilers!

Amy Dunne was raised in Derbyshire, England, just like me, so how can I not review her novel?! Well, I wouldn't if it looked like it was boring or outside of my interest range, but I'd already decided that this one was worth a look before I knew from whence its autho
Feb 19, 2014 Lynne rated it really liked it
This review was originally posted:

“The more time she spent with Nicola, the more she liked her. Which was strange, considering she generally didn’t like many people. But liking Nicola wasn’t enough to deter her. She remained adamant she would discover Nicola’s dark secret. Another of her own darker qualities, which she’d failed to mention earlier, was she always got what she wanted in the end, even if it was at someone else’s expense.”
Jenny in Secret Lies
Velvet Lounger
Feb 09, 2014 Velvet Lounger rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance
Jenny is one of those popular girls who appear to have it all. She is attractive, put together, confident. The other girls want to be her, the boys want to have her. But underneath the false bravado is a mess. She blames herself for the death of her adored Gran, hates what she has made herself into and the never-ending pretence to keep it up. She hates herself to the point of self harm. She has sought help, but that doesn’t stop the feelings, doesn’t stop the pain.

Nic is the outcast. Wearing he
Dec 16, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it
Full review also posted here on TotalTeenFiction

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

When the author approached me about reviewing this book I was really excited by the sound of it, and I am always on the lookout for more LBGTQ YA fiction. Secret Lies follows teenagers Jenny and Nicola who develop a close relationship after Nicola moves in with Jenny to escape her mother's abusive boyfriend.

Firstly this book is a
Heather A
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Terry Baker
Apr 27, 2014 Terry Baker rated it really liked it
After years of abuse at the hands of her step father, Nicola Jackson, (Nic) can’t take any more and finally leaves her family home. She has nowhere to go and no friends she can turn to. When Nic literally bumps into Jenny O’Connor, one of the most popular girls in school, they hit it off right away and a friendship between them develops. Soon they are best friends and sharing their deepest, darkest secrets. Their friendship escalates into a romance that must, at all costs, be kept a secret. ...more
Jan 27, 2014 Leeanna rated it it was ok
Shelves: arcs, for-review, e-book
This review originally appeared on my blog,


I’m really torn on SECRET LIES. On one hand, I liked the relationship between the two main characters, and also liked that their love gave them both the strength to face their demons. But on the other hand, I didn’t believe how quickly that relationship developed, with Jenny bringing Nicola into her house after knowing her for a day , and then “I love you” being said within two weeks .

I did like how the author handled Jenny’s character.
Nov 22, 2013 Allison rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Nicola has been abused for years but finally escapes from that terrible situation. At exactly the right moment, she runs into Jenny, who has her own issues. They are able to be there for each other in exactly the right way, and their relationship grows as they help each other to heal.

Well, first the good: I honestly liked the two characters, and enjoyed their developing romance. There were a couple of good plot twists, and quite a few truly touching moments. The author took on a lot, and made an
Sep 18, 2015 Jenna rated it it was ok
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I guess the generic title should have been a giveaway that Secret Lies would be a generic book full of clichéd characters. I didn’t care much about either main character, and in fact, I didn’t even like Jenny. There wasn’t anything special or particularly interesting about either of them. What can I tell you about each of them? Jenny was the poor little lonely popular girl, slept around (with boys), and had a secret. Nicola was
Sassy Spratt
Jan 14, 2014 Sassy Spratt rated it really liked it
When Nicola flees from her home, terrified of being murdered at the hand of her cruel abuser, she thinks life is over as she knows it. Understandably she feels lost, confused and depressed. Thinking no one cares for her, she has no plan in mind except to escape. Everything changes when she runs into her fellow classmate, Jenny.

Jenny was a character I slowly learned to enjoy. At first she seemed just like the rest of her friends, stuck up and quick to judge - I personally hate people who act lik
Trader (RedHotBlueReads)
I liked the subject matter of this story, with Jenny and Nicola discovering their sexuality, but I thought there lacked execution. It could have been a much stronger story. There was a lot of telling, which became obvious toward the end of the book, and this made for a very uneven pacing.

There was a bunch of things I just couldn’t believe. I could believe the circumstances of Jenny and Nicola’s meeting, but I just had a really hard time believing that their strong relationship developed over a t
Ameliah Faith
Mar 01, 2015 Ameliah Faith rated it really liked it
Wonderful Debut Book
I do not usually read YA but I was given a copy of Secret Lies and I truly quite enjoyed it. This story revolves around a pair of 17 yr olds as they discover their sexuality and feelings for each other. Each girl is coping with a trauma, one past, one current. Together they put into effect Nic's plan to end her abuse as Jenny comes to terms with her painful past and present.

It has been a LONG time since I was a YA but I do remember everything being so all consuming and despe
Kristen Babb
What a flashback to my own teenage years! Amy Dunne masterfully captures the moods and emotions of these characters and blends them perfectly into this story. The attention paid to the characters enhances the story so much and makes it so much more enjoyable to watch these complex people evolve and grow throughout this book.

This book is seeping with reality. Some of it is harsh and hard to read. It's all too real. It's another testament of Amy's that she can bring something to life so well tha
Jan 15, 2016 Dobberina rated it it was amazing
Being new to the world of lesbian ficton (and especially Young Adult) I was unsure of what to expect - maybe a soppy love story? However, I was definitely pleased that Amy addressed difficult topics and while this might not be for everyone, it made the characters much more real and relatable. Life isn't perfect and things rarely go according to plan, and this book really is a celebration of that and finding the opportunities and the best in all situations.

It was easy to invest emotionally in the
Jun 08, 2014 BeniGee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lesfic
This was a powerful story, very well told. It dealt sympathetically with the difficult subjects of self harming and physical abuse.

I must admit I had put off reading this book because of the subjects involved, which were a bit close to home, but once I started I was pulled along by the momentum of the story.

Amy did not paint the main characters to be whiter than white, in fact she drew the flaws of their personalities as well as their good points. Both Jenny and Nic, as young as they were, sho
Jake Smith
Jul 01, 2014 Jake Smith rated it it was amazing
Wow! What an incredibly interesting and enjoyable book this is to read. It is one of those books that you can't put down once you've picked it up. You are left on a cliff hanger at the end of every chapter, which evokes excitement and tension for the reader. Every minor detail of every character has been skilfully depicted by the author which makes it very fascinating. It not only concentrates on how young gay couples face challenges in society, but cleverly shows many dark scenarios (read the ...more
It was okay. I just wasn't feeling any connection to the characters. Everything seemed to happen and then was resolved. It felt like "Here is this girl and here is this girl, this person is the bad guy and oh! now there is a bad girl. The bad girl kind of shows she cares and you can tell that something is going to make her a not so bad girl. Bad guy beats up one of the main girls, he is arrested and makes a fool of himself and then the story is over."

None of it went slow enough or put the main c
This is a very well written story about two high school girls from opposite ends of the popularity spectrum who happen to find each other. Both of them have very sad backgrounds and help each other in their healing process. The only thing I didn't like was that it ended abruptly and not well thought out. But overall, it is an excellent read. I would read this again.
Bobbi rated it really liked it
Dec 30, 2014
Anjel rated it it was amazing
Jun 23, 2016
Jade rated it really liked it
Dec 21, 2015
danayt kebede
danayt kebede rated it liked it
Mar 18, 2016
Sarah rated it it was ok
Dec 26, 2013
Libby Fisher
Libby Fisher rated it it was amazing
Aug 05, 2015
Jeremy rated it really liked it
Jun 30, 2014
Autumn rated it it was amazing
Oct 07, 2014
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Amy was raised in Derbyshire, England. She attended Keele University and graduated in 2007 with a BSc in philosophy and psychology. After graduating, she worked for a while with vulnerable young people until she moved on to deliver training and educational courses. She is currently in the process of setting up her own speech writing business aptly named, Gift of the Gab. She and her lovely partner ...more
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