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That Secret You Keep

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  60 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Hopeful, humorous, heartbreaking YA

When Max trips his way into Serena's life, she can’t help but fall for his awkward ways – until she discovers who Max really is. Will Serena share her secret or run?

Max is a seventeen-year-old musician who towers, giraffe-like, over his double bass. He’s avoiding certain candid “talks” with his overly perceptive dads – like his p
Paperback, 252 pages
Published August 7th 2017 by Liddle Book Press
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Average rating 4.22  · 
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 ·  60 ratings  ·  38 reviews

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A sweet and tender debut by author Brenda Benny.

Follow awkward, gangly bassist Max and quietly grieving singer Serena stumbling their way through first love while trying to overcome and deal with heartfelt subjects such as loss, trauma, secrets, adoption, sexuality and self-discovery.

I loved the music-themed background, all those amazing father figures and Benny's light way of tackling rather serious subject matters with that beautiful voice of hers.

We can let our secrets define us, cage us,
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
New year, new review format. Due to having much more on my plate, I'm going to write shorter and more informal reviews in order to keep up.

"Everyone is always trying so hard to be unique- to prove their individuality, and how different they are from others; yet they all so desperately want to be accepted as part of some group-
whatever group that may be. I guess we all want to be chosen by someone."

*Thanks to Netgalley and the author for a free copy of this in exchange for a review!*

This was
Nina {ᴡᴏʀᴅs ᴀɴᴅ ᴡᴀᴛᴇʀ}
3.9 stars! A really simple contemporary between two individuals with secrets of their own. I do think the title gave me more expectations but overall it fits. Max and Serena are adorable together. What I really like, I suppose is that this story really changes perceptions of what is normal and how others perceive it. It's not life shattering but I think Max's pov was the best, like how he deals with his own complex family. Serena and Max's reunion scene was a bit explosive and it wasn't my favou ...more
Tiffany Heywood
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was such a cute book. The music background of the book was fantastic and brenda made sure that it was one of the main focuses and not let it fade into the back ground. I liked how we were in the point of views of both our main characters, max and serena. Max was such a caring character, he has strong partnerships with all the characters around him like his best friend and his fathers and he tries his best to express his feelings. Serena is a strong female character despite fighting a huge b ...more
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read
"It occurs to me that our worst secrets - the ones that we most fear revealing to others - sometimes cause no more than a small ripple on the ocean when we think a tsunami will follow."

That was quite sweet actually :)
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Max and Serena are the kind of couple you wish you were a part of. They care about each other deeply, and fight through layers of pain and secrets to open up their hearts. Though their story is sweet, it is far from an easy road. Serena is still raw from the death of her mother, and Max is struggling to explain his sexuality to his dads. These secrets build walls around the two, making 'That Secret You Keep' an unpredictable and fresh take on a teenage romance novel.

Over the
Mariah Bowman
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-favorites
*I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

That Secret You Keep was a wonderful debut by Brenda Benny. The story explores the aftermath of loss, and the struggle to keep going when you just want to give up. Max is a tall, gangly double bass player who has secretly pined for the same girl for years; Serena is a girl torn apart by loss, wondering how to go on. When events cause Max and Serena to come together, they must decide if their secrets will tear them apart or if t
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
That Secret You Keep
Brenda Benny
4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Oh wow! What a great story. It’s been awhile since I’ve read a young adult novel.

“Love is love, no matter who it’s between, or how it happens –we all have similar experiences.”

This is a story about a young man that was adopted by 2 men. And his best friend was also raised by 2 men. So rumors had been spread that Max and Hayden were together. But Max was straight and had a huge crush on Serena.

Serena experienced a very traumatic car accident last yea
Audrey (Warped Shelves)
3.5 stars.

Thanks to NetGalley and the author for a free review copy of That Secret You Keep!

"Love is love, no matter who it's between, or how it happens--we all have similar experiences."

Holy moly this book is cute! I was really wowed by the incredibly diverse cast of characters and all the friendships and relationships going on. That Secret You Keep is a very well written book with multiple powerful messages about everything from sexuality to friendships to mental illness to grief.

All of th
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
**Thank you to Netgalley and the author for an e-copy of this book in exchange for a review.**

I was very pleasantly surprised by That Secret You Keep, by Brenda Benny. After a bit of a slow start, I was pulled in by the budding romance between the characters and their lives.

Max has had feelings for Serena since the first time he saw her at their arts high school. Adopted and raised by his dads, Max is kind, sensitive, polite and open-minded. He can’t bring himself to speak to Serena until he run
Erica Mae Campos
Apr 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Review originally posted at my blog:

That Secret You Keep by Brenda Benny is a contemporary romance novel I got from NetGalley. Okay, I admit that this was a cover pick because it’s so prettyyyyy and aesthetic y’all. I was really expecting a lot here since it looks so promising.

The book is about Maxwell and Serena. Maxwell is the only adopted son of his fathers. Yes, fathers. His dads are gay and they’re so adorable. Serena just got out of a car accident w
May 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I really enjoyed this book. As far as young adult books go this one was very well done. It had a serious plot and situation but it wasn't presented in an overly complex way. I found the main characters really easy to relate to. The book was a very nice read and it pulled the reader into the story right away. It was all about two teens who fall in love even though they are both in difficult places in their lives. I think that the best part about this book was that the story line is not something ...more
Stefanie Stokes
Ebook provided by NetGalley for review. Thank you.

A really sweet book that flowed nicely and had likeable main characters. It tells the story of shy Max and his long term crush on Serena who is consumed with grief and guilt following the death of her mother in a car accident.

A big hurdle to their relationship is Max's general inexperience around girls thanks to 2 dads and a gay best friend with whom he used to be very close - a point I wish could have been explored further - however their relati
Shay | Books Are Magic Too
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
That Secret You Keep was a fabulous YA title. Issues that I could see teens having in common, all woven together with the pressure & simplicity of high school. Max & Serena were complex characters, with their own trials, that came together beautifully, loved how it was written. The supporting characters were just the right amount of detail, especially with the surprise mini dramas. Wonderful.

To find that the title was Brenda Bunny’s first YA & self published was a treat, I expect to read more gr
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: won-on-goodreads
A lot of the YA books I've read (or started and just couldn't finish) recently have disappointed me, but this one did not. That Secret You Keep is the story of Max, an adopted boy with two dads, and Serena, a girl whose mom died in a car crash. There are obstacles to their love story, but the story manages to stay sweet and charming. There were a few little details that bothered me, but overall, That Secret You Keep was an enjoyable read. ...more
Shelley Wood
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I give a lot of books to my nieces and nephews and I admit, sometimes I give them what I know THEY want to read and other times books that I want them to read and like. In this case, That Secret You Keep is both. I know my eldest niece will gobble it down, then pass it on to her friends. Serena and Max have their own unique take on the world and their observations and experiences make for a fun read that is fast-paced, but also slows down enough to be sweet and tender, just when you need it.
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once I started reading this book, I was hooked. I became completely invested in the lives of Max and Serena, and couldn't wait to find out what would happen.
'That Secret You Keep' is a realistic young adult novel that expertly takes the reader on a journey of the challenges of being a teenager. The author writes about difficulty issues such as death and dying with empathy and realism.
I loved this book and I can't wait for Brenda Benny's next novel!
Nov 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: won-in-giveaways
I received a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

Bearing in mind that I'm not the target audience, I can't say this is a terrible read. However, I do read a lot of YA fiction, and this was not something that's going to stand out in my mind for years to come. It all seemed a little too "much ado about nothing" for my taste. I like the two main characters, but I would have liked to see them fleshed out a bit more, with some bigger obstacles.
Suzanne Cattanes
Dec 11, 2017 rated it liked it
3.57 stars I really enjoyed this book.
It is about a boy growing up with two dads, and a best friend who is gay.
He falls for a girl but she does not know he exists, all his friends at school this k he is dating his best friend.
I loved the friendship with his best friend the ups and downs.
Nice fluffy romance with some not so fluffy moments.
I liked the link with music school and the characters being singers or musicians x
Sammy Allen
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I found this to be an enjoyable read with very diverse read. Max is a musician, and was adopted by a gay couple. Serena is grieving the death of her mom and trying to find her place back in the world. Together they death with love, self-discovering, and learning that some secrets need to be shared in order to heal. Overall, I enjoyed the diverse cast, and complex story line, would highly recommend for young adults.
Nancy Matos
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this in one sitting. I thoroughly enjoyed both Max and Serena as fully fleshed characters. The romance that grew between them wasn't rushed and wasn't without its complications. I don't want to spoil too much of the pot, but the issues of grief, identity and how secrets can hold you back from healing are brought in the story. I would definitely recommended this book.
Cheryl Cooper
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I adored this book! Read it in three days! Even got up in the middle of the night to read on! The endearing character of Max, in particular, kept me turning those pages, as did the scenes of teen angst played out at a Vancouver music school. Bravo, Brenda Benny! Just received my copy of your second book, "All the Promises We Break." Looking forward to cracking it open!
Celia McMahon
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank you Netgalley for the chance to read this.

I really enjoyed this book. Like other said, the first half was sort of slow, but I stuck with it and it paid off. Seeing as I love music, this was basically the book for me. I cannot wait to see what else the author writes.
Tamara Morning
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Title: That Secret You Keep
Author: Brenda Benny
Genre: YA
Rating: 4 out of 5

Max is seventeen, taller than everyone else, and trying to keep a few secrets from his dads. Like the fact that he wants to seek out his biological parents. And he’s not gay. But sometimes it’s easier to just keep secrets…secret. Like his longtime crush on Serena.

Serena was a shining star at their performing arts high school, until her famous mother died tragically. Now she sits in the back of the chorus, wrestling with he
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this young adult novel. The characters jump off the pages and the descriptive narrative engages the reader. I'm eager to read sequel.
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very well done!
Karen Goldman
Dec 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Love, Love, Love this book! Max, adopted as a baby and raised by his two gay dads, has admired Serena from afar since 9th grade. She barely knows he exists and is reeling from the recent loss of her mother. Max and Serena face so many challenges to starting and continuing their romance: her intense grief, his suspected homosexuality, their unknown "connection" that Serena keeps a secret. "That Secret You Keep" is a fresh take on YA Romance that was a real-page turner: I finished it in one day!

Caro | Mintcolouredpages
This one was a fast and enjoyable read. It has some great representation of gay and bisexual as well as POC characters although I wish this diversity would have included more women. The author treated some rather serious topics in a light way, which perfectly fit with the overall tone of the book. While I didn’t quite connect with the main characters Max and Serena, I liked getting to know more bits and pieces of the side characters.
There were a few things left open so they’ll hopefully be answ
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. NetGalley in no ways influences my opinion/review of this book.
Going into this book, I didn't really know what it was about. I obviously had read the blurb before requesting the book, but by the time I started, I had forgotten the blurb.
Within the first two chapters of this book, I was hooked. I see so many aspects of my current self in Serena and to see her evolve was comforting, and reassured me th
Ashleigh Armstrong
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
‘The Secret that you Keep’ is a layered, love story, full of wonderful perspective shifts which keeps you entwined with the protagonists. The musical theme that runs parallel with the relationship of Max and Serena suits the turbulent and realistic twists and turns of how young love blossoms and finds trouble at every turn. This story will make you laugh, sob and empathise with the realities of teenage struggles. This atypical protagonist family structure allows the reader to see an alternative ...more
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After a couple university degrees and some world travel, Brenda Benny settled down to a life of helping others communicate their stories. One day she decided to start writing her own.

When she’s not shining in the glow of a computer screen, she can be found warming up in the sun after a freezing cold lake swim, chilling with friends at an outdoor music festival, skate skiing on a sunny day, or hik

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