Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

The Truth About Keeping Secrets

Rate this book
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?

THE TRUTH ABOUT KEEPING SECRETS is a page-turning, voice led, high school thriller.

336 pages, Paperback

First published March 7, 2019

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Savannah Brown

6 books3,170 followers
Savannah Brown is an American writer and poet based in London. She’s the author of two novels (Penguin Random UK) and two poetry collections with a third, Closer Baby Closer, forthcoming in 2023.

Her work deals with themes of existence, vulnerability and intimacy in the digital age. i-D called her 'the poet articulating your deepest existential fears'.

Savannah oversees Escapril, a poetry challenge where participants are tasked with writing a poem every day in April. She also founded and runs Doomsday Press.

website: savbrown.com
twitter: @savannahbrown
instagram: @savbrown

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
1,716 (27%)
4 stars
2,401 (38%)
3 stars
1,653 (26%)
2 stars
394 (6%)
1 star
100 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 929 reviews
Profile Image for Lex.
82 reviews1,150 followers
January 28, 2021
Devoured this in a day. The characters feel so real, the explorations of grief and fear were so good they hit a little too close to home, and every few pages you come across an exquisite paragraph or turn of phrase that knocks you out. If this isn't a prize-winning bestseller I'll eat my own face.
Profile Image for Louise Wilson.
2,756 reviews1,617 followers
February 28, 2019
Sydney's dad is the only psychiatrist for miles around their small Ohio hometown. He has died unexpectedly. Is Sydney crazy, or is it just weird that her dad, a man whose job revolved around other people's secrets, died alone. And why is June Copeland, homecoming Queen and the towns golden child, at his funeral?

What an incredible debut this is. The book covers some intense topics: abuse, grief and sexuality. The writing just flows beautifully across the pages, drawing you in. I simply adored Sydney, my heart went out to her. This book covers many emotions life can throw at us: confusion, anger, and homophobia to mention a few. Although this book has been put in the YA genre, I do think it can be read by any age.

I would like to thank NetGalley, Penguin Random House UK, Children's and the author Savannah Brown for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Fa Orozco.
Author 1 book16.5k followers
May 15, 2019
Hace mucho que no disfrutaba una novela juvenil como TTAKS. No soy gran fanática del misterio o thriller, pero esta novela cuenta con la cantidad precisa para mantenerme con curiosidad constante sobre qué iba a pasar. Nunca confundida.

Los personajes son fáciles de leer, incluso aquellos que le disgustan a Sydney, la protagonista y narradora, están bien construidos, no caen mal "porque sí".

Los sucesos del desenlace son un poquito flojos, no me encantó que la explicación final se da en diálogos, en vez de que nuestro narrador le explique al lector (preferencia personal).
Está narrado muy bello, se nota la experiencia de Savannah como poeta, quedé encantada y lista para seguir leyendo todo lo que publique.
Profile Image for Julie Parks.
230 reviews63 followers
February 7, 2019
Sad, honest and brilliant. So much more than a YA thriller, this book tells a story from a very emotional perspective.

If you read the synopsis, you'd assume it's a YA mystery. But it's not really. It's more about what grief feels like than why the narrator is grieving.

It's a sticky book that will glue it's addictive tiny details to your mind and walk with you to your next grocery trip, or sit along with you in your next class. Or sing along with you the last lullaby to your son at night, lingering in the air long after the last syllable. All the while making you think and wonder about all the what-ifs...THAT's how real it feels. THAT's how good the writing is.

Well done, Savannah Brown. Something new and beautiful where only miserable and typically high school used to lay. A fabulously promising new author to follow.

Thank you Penguin Random House for the chance to read this book in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Acqua.
536 reviews190 followers
February 26, 2019
3.5 stars

The Truth About Keeping Secrets is a quiet, slow-paced contemporary novel following a girl who has lost her dad in a car accident - but was it really?

I'm seeing that this is being marketed as an f/f thriller, but while it does have a mystery element, I'd recommend it more to those who loved Nina LaCour's We Are Okay than to fans of Far From You or People Like Us.

That's because to me this book felt more like an exploration of grief than a thriller, at least for its first half. The second half did feel more like a thriller, but I also thought it was the weakest part of the book. While the first half was an atmospheric, vaguely creepy story about grief and associated unhealthy coping mechanisms that also talked about what it's like to be the only girl who is out as a lesbian in your high school, the second half was about the main character trying to piece together a mystery whose resolution seemed - at least to me - obvious from the beginning. I guess I just like introspective character driven stories more?

And as a character-driven story, The Truth About Keeping Secrets is really good, since it succeeds where many other supposedly character-driven books fail: the main character's voice was perfect. Sydney is a teenage girl who is grieving, who is dealing with her father's death in an unhealthy way, and she's sad and angry and using sarcasm as a coping mechanism, and she felt real in a way very few characters do. Even other people's reaction to her felt very realistic (I have seen something very similar to the Dylan Thomas poem scene happen. Some teachers really are that insensitive). I loved reading about her, and when the focus shifted from grief to the actual mystery, I wasn't as interested.

This is also a story that talks about imperfect friendships, abusive relationships and that "liminal" space queer girls often find themselves in when they have a maybe-unrequited crush on a girl - the "does she like me or am I just misreading everything" space. The Truth About Keeping Secrets is an f/f book, and there's a romance between Sydney and June, the seemingly "perfect" girl Sydney becomes close with after the death of her father - but for most of the book, Sydney doesn't even know whether June likes her back. There's a scene in which the two girls talk about liminal spaces and I was thinking that "liminal" is exactly how their relationship felt at the moment. I really liked how it developed after that.

Also, the writing was gorgeous. I can't share any quotes because I read an ARC, but I highlighted a lot of things while reading this.

One more thing: you can find trigger warnings for this book here. As this book deals with some heavy themes, I recommend reading them before going into it.
Profile Image for Grace (kanej & evajacks' version) .
239 reviews138 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
November 15, 2022
DNF @ 42%

This was, to be perfectly honest, super boring ☹☹😴😴

The premise was really intriguing, but it failed to capture my attention AT ALL and I actually struggled to see the point of the story. The writing was monotonous, the characters hard to connect to and the plot practically non-existent.

I gave it a chance but in the end, this wasn't for me 😒

Why are all my current reads so mediocre 😭😭
Author 4 books27 followers
May 10, 2019
From the title, blurb and - you know - the fact it's labeled as a thriller, I was expecting a mystery but this book is NOT a thriller. The 'mystery' is a weak idea that pops up occasionally and has a really unsatisfying ending. The plot doesn't revolve around this mystery at all, and it certainly doesn't move the book on.

This book is a contemporary that deals with grief and relationships. Calling it a thriller is just insulting to the book and the genre.

THE TRUTH ABOUT KEEPING SECRETS handles grief and relationships so well, showing a full range of experiences and coping mechanisms. It should be praised for this, and marketed as such. The denial, the emptiness, the variety of friends and loves we can have and how they can affect us.

If I had gone in expecting a contemporary, maybe I'd have liked it more. Maybe not - I'm not much of a contemporary person. This is a book that's been mislabeled, probably because of how well thrillers are doing at the moment.

A short review today, mainly because my thoughts are simply disappointment and frustration that I didn't read the book I was expecting.
July 5, 2019
I actually DNF’d this book. The writing is unbearably pretentious and feels like it’s been taken straight from a teenagers tumblr account. I really wanted to like this book but I got so bored of listening to drawn out descriptions and painful metaphors. The story itself was too slow for me and I finally gave up.
Profile Image for mary.
295 reviews
April 9, 2020
Not a mystery book more a bad romance teen drama without anything original. So disappointed i was expecting a good mystery ya story and instead i read this.....
Profile Image for Meghan Hughes Ohrstrom.
109 reviews1,949 followers
April 8, 2019
ALRIGHT FOLKS! Here is a YA novel that is now up there with Jandy Nelson’s “I’ll Give You the Sun” for me... This is absolute magic from youtuber turned author Savannah Brown 💛 It is so wonderful to see someone like her write something like this & I truly don’t want that to sound minimizing. It is just personally SO encouraging to read a body of work like this from someone I know. I was enveloped in this story from the START. What a beautiful way she wrote on queer romance, death, grief, emotionally & physically abusive relationships, & moving on. I bookmarked so many pages in here just like I do with Jandy’s work solely because of the way she DESCRIBES THINGS!!! Some of my favorite parts being how she described nature reclaiming a living but lifeless body with branches growing through guts, navigating space & time when you feel like you’re just floating through the ether after you lose a grounding figure in your life, sitting in presence in the face of pain, & ugh just SO much more! I HIGHLY recommend reading this if you obsess over YA novels like me. I grew attached to Sydney & Jude & goddamnit even Heath at times. I wanted everything to work out in the best way possible & grew in frustration, but held onto my damn pants for it all to wrap up like I knew it would! UGH I JUST FUCKING LOVED IT! YEP! TOO AWESOME TO EVEN DESCRIBE!
Profile Image for liv.
134 reviews8 followers
May 15, 2020
i'm really unsure on my rating ffs
Profile Image for Mary Books and Cookies.
553 reviews406 followers
March 5, 2019

* I read this book back in January and I still think about it constantly, something that doesn’t usually happen that often
* it’s probably the best book I’ve ever read that deals with grief and how we cope with it
* so poignant, so soooo beautiful, I honestly have no words to properly describe how much I loved this story
* the writing is phenomenal and the main character’s dark humour is something that I really appreciated and related to
* this is a f/f story so yaaaassss we honestly NEED more of those out there
* I mentioned grief, but there’s also the exploration of fear and I honestly truly cannot explain to you how brilliant it is done
* sad, honest, raw, gripping, addictive, with a touch of mystery, but ultimately a portrayal of a journey towards acceptance
* it’s definitely one of my favourite books of 2019 so far, I cannot recommend it enough


* there… isn’t… anything? idk? *shrug*

Special mentions: emotional and physical abuse (off page), forced coming out and verbal abuse related to sexual orientation, suicide

YAY or NAY: PICK UP THIS BOOK - it releases on March 7th (in 2 days! 🎉)

Favourite quotes:

* i’m so mad at myself that I didn’t write them down *sobs*


To everyone who got this far, thank you for reading and have a wonderful day! Also, feel free to share your thoughts, comment or tell me anything :)
Profile Image for Schizanthus Nerd.
1,154 reviews241 followers
June 30, 2019
When you live in a fishbowl, everything seems bigger, magnified, and no one was safe. People said that, in Pleasant Hills, everyone got their scandal. Fifteen minutes of infamy.
I was to get more.
Sydney’s father, the only therapist in Pleasant Hills, has died. Sydney isn’t convinced her dad’s car accident was accidental. After all, he knew all of his clients’ secrets and maybe one of those secrets got him killed. And why was June Copeland, golden girl of Pleasant Hills, at his funeral?
The November of my junior year became permanently etched into my mind as the first month of June.
Told in a strangely beautiful way, this is a story about a grief that’s so pervasive it feels like it could eat you alive, fear so tangible it may choke you if you don’t find a way to escape or confront it, and obsession disguised as love.
Abstract is scarier than physical. Unknown is scarier than known - not because of what it is, but because of all the things it could be.
With the heightened drama of adolescence and undercurrents of potential danger and ongoing mystery, I found myself hooked from the first page and wished on more than one occasion that it was socially acceptable to highlight my library book.
June convinced me that we were all open books if only we found the right person to read us.
I was caught up in Sydney’s grief and loneliness from the beginning and liked her, even when she was being a crappy friend, because she was so relatable. I could easily imagine someone thinking and feeling the way she did, and I respected that her grief wasn’t pretty and contained. Her strengths and quirks felt authentic.

I adored Leo and wish I could have gotten to know him better. For a while it seemed like he would get the page time he deserved but gradually he began to feel like he was only there to provide Sydney with a specific skill set.

I enjoyed the mystery surrounding June and liked her complexity but one thing she did that annoyed the hell out of me was, like, how often she, like, said, “like”, like that. I found her character fascinating but, honestly, each time she said “like” I wanted to claw her eyes out. I did have some nostalgic “dude” moments with her though, offset by ‘wow, is “dude” back?’

I did pick up on a few clues early on that gave away some of the spoilery bits but that may be my life experience showing rather than an indication that this book was predictable.

I can’t believe a 22 year old wrote this! I didn’t even know who I was at 22 and here this woman is, writing a book that made me want to keep digging deeper into the lives of book friends I only met a few days ago. I’m definitely going to be looking out for this author’s next novel.

Content warnings include . I absolutely love it when an author has the sensitivity to provide content warnings for their novels. Savannah’s warnings can be found here.

I’m rounding up from 4.5 stars.
Profile Image for Valery Tikappa.
895 reviews505 followers
September 22, 2021
Ci sono rimasta malissimo.

La verità sul tenere segreti vede protagonista Sydney la quale, dopo la morte improvvisa del padre, si chiude in se stessa. Solo June, la ragazza popolare della scuola riesce ad avvicinarsi a lei.
Sydney, intanto, comincia a ricevere strani e inquietanti messaggi anonimi.
I messaggi portano a pensare che ciò che sia successo a suo padre non sia stato un incidente, che ci sia altro sotto...

Il libro viene definito un mystery thriller young adult e forse è per questo che ne sono rimasta delusa.
Young adult lo è sicuramente, mystery un po' meno. La parte misteriosa del libro, quella investigativa, manca quasi completamente.
Sydney riceve questi messaggi, lì per lì ne rimane turbata ma - a parte che nell'ultimissima parte del libro - non si sforza troppo di indagare nè ci pensa troppo.
Inoltre il mistero è super prevedibile, chiaro fin da subito.

Passiamo a Sydney.
Di protagoniste irritanti ne ho lette, ma lei ne batte molte.
Nonostante mi sia piaciuto molto come viene trattato il lutto e soprattutto come la vita dopo una perdita così grande (che determina sicuramente cambiamenti devastanti) sia parte centrale del libro, Sydney l'ho trovata apatica, un po' stronza, confusa e, a dire il vero, anche un po' tossica, soprattutto nei rapporti con Olivia.

Infine, non ho amato per niente lo stile.
Divaga molto, soprattutto a inizio libro (dopo per fortuna si riprende un po'), è un continuo ripetere gli stessi pensieri e idee e, in definitiva, è composto da troppe "pare mentali".
Non mi ha coinvolta, non ero nemmeno curiosa di sapere come sarebbe finito.

Tutti questi motivi mi hanno reso la lettura per nulla piacevole, nonostante, lo ripeto, abbia apprezzato il focus sul lutto ed anche quello sulle relazioni tossiche e sulla salute mentale.
Profile Image for Liz Barnsley.
3,433 reviews993 followers
January 23, 2019
The Truth About Keeping Secrets is a beautifully plotted novel with mystery elements but mostly focusing on a portrayal of grief – one young girl and her journey through the loss of her Dad, as such it is an emotional, compelling story that will have you hooked.
I loved Sydney and engaged with her fully – her distinct sense of loss, her reaching for connections and in doing so her developing friendship with June, the golden girl, who is hiding behind a facade. But why and what does this have to do with Sydney’s loss?
Intriguing and nuanced, The Truth About Keeping Secrets is enduringly spirited and often unexpected- a page turner with real heart and soul that digs deep into human reality.
Loved it. Recommended.
Profile Image for Mandy White (mandylovestoread).
2,037 reviews536 followers
March 8, 2019
The Truth About Keeping Secrets by Savannah Brown was not exactly the book that I expected. I do like Young Adult books and I did enjoy this but it wasn't the thriller I was expecting. The characters were great, but a little predictable - as was the ending. It was a good quick read that didn't require too much thinking.

Sydney is still grieving the death of her father in a car accident. He was the local Psychiatrist and knew the towns secrets. But did she know his? And why does she think that there is more to it than an accident. She can't accept that he is dead. Then the most popular girl at school turns up at his funeral - why? The 2 become friends and the mystery deepens. Playing detective is a dangerous game.

Thanks to Penguin Random House UK Children's for my advanced copy of this book to read. All opinions are my own and are in no way biased.
Profile Image for halfirishgrin.
288 reviews177 followers
June 16, 2019
There's a lot that I enjoyed about this book. I mean, it's an f/f mystery, so that's already a lot! It is quite a dark book, and starts off very depressing, but I think it does a good job of dealing with some of these heavy themes. I also really liked the sapphic relationship here. I liked the way it was developed, and that was can clearly see the good and the bad about the two characters and how they relate to each other. I also liked that they both address the potential unhealthy stuff in their relationship in the narrative.

The mystery was...okay. I figured it out soon enough but I think it was organically done and felt fully fleshed out for the most part. I guess I was a little annoyed because when we get to the reveal and find out why everything happened, Sydney's role in it seems...unimportant. Like she could have not existed, and the plot of the mystery would have gone on essentially the same way? The book is a lot more than just the mystery but I still feel like Sydney should have been more than basically a coincidence to the mystery plot.

I was also quite annoyed at the fact that the book is centered on the death of a therapist but then it falls into the same trope of bad people doing bad things because they're mentally ill. It just seemed to cheapen everything and the book would have been more or less the exact same without that being put into it.

Another thing that irritated me - and this is mostly because this is something that keeps happening in YA and I'm tired of it - was that the love interest, June, is biracial, but you have never realised if June hadn't specifically said, "I'm biracial," about halfway through the book. Because it's literally never mentioned again, and even though Sydney is obsessed with this girl, she doesn't give much of an indication to the fact that June is biracial. I don't know. I'm just tired of surface-level "representation" that is not representation at all.

In any case, I did enjoy the book and I was turning the pages pretty fast to find out what was going to happen!
Profile Image for Ellie.
575 reviews2,123 followers
February 23, 2019
> 4 stars!

I hadn’t actually heard of Savannah Brown before this, but I fell in love with the proof cover for TTAKS with its little keyhole and then was pretty delighted when I found out this was f/f. I didn’t know she was a YouTuber (?), and had written a book of poetry already.

The first thing you have to do when reading this is let go of the assumption that this is a thriller/mystery, because it’s not. It was only when this clicked for me that I was able to enjoy TTAKS a lot more. It’s a really thoughtful consideration of many things, mostly grief, but also depression, mental health, male privilege, friendship and abuse. It’s not heavily plot-focused, with most of the dramatics happening in the last 60 pages, and a large majority of the book is Sydney learning to cope after her father’s death, and how falling in love amongst other things helps her with that.

The writing style is really lovely, colloquial but not overly chatty (it reminded me of Laure Eve’s in The Graces just a little for some odd reason) and the cast of characters is really well-drawn. Sydney is an awesome heroine, and though I disagreed with how she chose to handle her friendship with Olivia at times, I do think it was depicted in a way that made me think and I liked how it was resolved. Leo is similarly awesome, as was June. I did really like the diversity in the cast, with both June, Olivia and Leo being PoCs, and then Sydney, Leo and June being LGBTQ. I loved the friendship dynamics between Leo and Sydney, and then the romantic dynamic between June and Sydney.

A really lovely addition to UKYA, and I look forward to seeing what Savannah Brown does in future.

Read for #fffebruaryreads ‘18, and a full review will be up on my blog soon
August 28, 2021
| | blog | tumblr | ko-fi | |

4.25 stars (rounded up because...why not)

“The terror of it all was almost funny. Truly. The pain was ludicrous, completely unreasonable, completely alien; I found it impossible to believe that this sort of feeling could even exist, that the boundaries of human suffering extended this far.”

And I thought that I was 'over' YA novels...
I ended up liking this so much that I bought it in paperback too... (hopefully Savannah Brown can write another amazing book).
“I was afraid of myself when left to my own devices. I didn't like that person much in the fleeting moments I encountered her, and I certainly wasn't interested in being handcuffed to her.”

I actually think that the title, cover and summary undersell this novel. Yes, there is a mystery underlining this story (something that has do with secrets) but the focus is on Sydney's grief. Unable to reconcile herself with her father's death she becomes disconnected from her life. She can't believe that an accident caused his death and becomes increasingly convinced that he was killed by one of his patients. As Sydney struggles to get through each day (and we see just how her existence has become irrevocably changed) she finds comfort in June Copeland, the school's homecoming queen and 'golden' girl.
“So I kept it quiet, kept it selfish, and just absentmindedly basked in her presence, bathed in it, lived in it. I was happy just being with her, living on the same planet, breathing the same air.”

As Sydney starts to develop feelings towards June (who has a boyfriend) she begins to suspect that her new friend is hiding something. As if that wasn't enough, since her father's funeral Sydney has started to receive a series of anonymous texts which threaten her safety.
“Something about the way we spoke reminded me of dancing, one foot moving to match the other, a quiet swapping of dominance.”

The beautiful prose describes with sharp accuracy Sydney's pain. There is numbness, fear, anxiety, and paranoia. Brown doesn't shy away from portraying just how disturbing and consuming Sydney's obsession with death is. Or how her small community treated her after she was outed by another girl.
“Eventually, 'Dad is dead' turned into 'I will die', which was my introduction to the fear. The fear of gone. The fear of nothing at all, of what happens to me, of I am the main character and the story will crumble if I'm not there to see it through. This wasn't fair. It wasn't fair. I didn't ask to be born; I didn't ask to be hurt; I didn't ask to feel anything at all!”

I loved this book. A taut storyline that gives a heart-rendering picture of grief and love. There is beautiful rhythm to Brown's writing style and I could easily read this again (and again and again and again).
The 'weakest' part was the person behind those texts. It sort of made sense (it was clear for the reader) but I wished for something less...obvious? Again, this is a minor thing so it didn't detract me from the story.
“Grief and guilt came hand in hand. Guilt that followed smiling or laughing or getting any kind of mild enjoyment out of anything. Indulging in earthly pleasures seemed grossly hedonistic, somehow, after having experienced A Great Loss, so I learned to compartmentalize. ”

Profile Image for Zoë ☆.
898 reviews180 followers
January 25, 2019
I thought this was ‘just’ going to be a murder-mystery going in, but it was about so much more: grief, mental illness, love, friendship. I couldn’t stop reading it once I started! I quite liked the writing as well.
Profile Image for Grace.
136 reviews88 followers
September 21, 2019
Decent premise, but overwhelmingly disappointing story. I called it from the beginning!
Profile Image for PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps .
2,307 reviews220 followers
December 24, 2019
Sydney, convinced the crash that killed her father is actually murder, refuses to accept his death could be an accident. When she sees June, the homecoming queen, at her father’s funeral and gravesite, Sydney becomes suspicious. What does June know and why would a popular girl like her want to befriend an outcast like Sydney?

I wasn’t surprised to learn that debut ya writer Savannah Brown is also a poet. Her word building slows seamlessly, often dancing off the pages.

THE TRUTH ABOUT KEEPING SECRETS is primarily an ode to love and grief with Sydney struggling at the acceptance stage, unwilling to believe her loving father could have died in a random accident. Ten percent of the book reads like a fast paced thriller, the rest is mostly inside Sydney’s head, processing her relationships and her father’s death with scenes with friends interspersed in between.

Though there are thrilling aspects near the end of THE TRUTH ABOUT KEEPING SECRETS, it isn’t a thriller.
Profile Image for Kathi.
204 reviews62 followers
May 28, 2019
3.5 stars. This was so very exciting! I read the book in less than a week and even though my reading time doesn't usually correlate too much with corresponding enjoyment since I've also got a lot of real-life stuff going on (pretty much constantly, the stress! In a good way though!), there's more than a strong connection going on in this case! I happily sacrificed my personal life over and over again just for the sake of being able to continue the book, as in: Kathi gets invited to stuff that sounds like a lot of fun, but loses all motivation when she thinks about how she'd have to ditch her book for it (antisocial behavior for the win! Also, greetings to Marko at this point). I can't really talk too much about the plot of the book, it being a thriller and all (reviewing thrillers without being spoilerish is so hard!), therefore the fact that I almost completely skipped social entertainment has to tell you instead how much I enjoyed reading this novel. I guess that's what good books do to you! And aren't we the most thankful sufferers when it happens?

The writing style of the book wasn't really phenomenal per se, but so very fitting for a YA thriller in that it constantly kept me on my toes and felt real at the same time; it was simple and fluent, not overly complicated, but pleasantly succinct and incredibly fast-paced! The narrator's voice really did feel like the voice of a teenager and not just an author impersonating a teenager, and eerily remniscent of E. Lockhart - just more dreamily and melancholic, which really fits the dark theme of the book. And having a LGBT main character was so refreshing! Usually I'm not the kind of person who really cares about representation (which is kind of ignorant, I know!), because as long as the plot and the characters feel right, I couldn't care less about what they look like and who they love. In this case, though, including LGBT made this book even better in my opinion! Sydney's and June's relationship felt absolutely real and beautiful, and it was such a pleasure to read how it was treated. The author managed to acknowledge the fact that Sydney was a lesbian without ever making a big deal of it, which is something that unfortunately so many others fail at (not even the marketing includes the LGBT aspect! When you read the blurb on the cover, you wouldn't even know about it, since Sydney could also be a boy's name). I only wish that the author would've gone easier on the colloquial language. I know that I'm kind of contradicting myself, since the tone in dialogues was probably a major reason why the book felt so authentic, but reading "Like" every two sentences gets a bit annoying after some time - especially after reading Circe, which was full of amazingly beautiful and sophisticated prose, dialogues included. I was also somewhat disappointed with the outcome of main "mystery" of the plot. I guessed pretty early on who sent the stalkerish texts, and was just kind of waiting for Sydney to catch up as well, which is something that is incredibly annoying to me and reason why I often avoid thrillers. The resolution itself was done really beautifully though, so I can't complain too much!

I think a major reason why the book got such a high rating on Goodreads is the inclusion of several very important topics, most of which I unfortunately can't name because they would be too spoilerish. I was absolutely blown away though when recalling how many "adult" topics were (kind of sneakily!) included and treated in a very mature and professional way. A big aspect was grief, and even though I (luckily) had troubles identifying with the repercussions of having suffered a major loss, I think the author did such a good job in describing the psychological downward-spiral and consequences it can lead to. Oh, if only "One of us is lying" had been a bit more like this novel...

Personal side note/one-sentence-rant: As much as I adore Sydney as a character, she was the most terrible friend! Ringing bells of shame here.

On a more cheerful side note: I cannot thank this book enough for making me discover Arcade Fire's "Funeral" album. What a masterpiece! I keep listening to it on repeat and would recommend everyone to do the same.
Profile Image for Evie Braithwaite.
268 reviews254 followers
January 24, 2019
The Truth About Keeping Secrets is a slow-paced novel and an exquisite portrayal of grief following the sudden death of Sydney’s father in a car accident.

I have mixed feelings about this book. The first half is an atmospheric exploration of grief and the unique coping mechanisms one can develop. Sydney is reeling from the sudden death of her father and her coping mechanism? Scrolling through a website which posts surveillance footage of deadly road accidents. We delve into her mind and see how she struggles. She’s sad, angry and she uses sarcasm and jokes as her way of brushing off serious conversations.

Moreover, a large portion of the book is dedicated to establishing the relationship between Sydney and June; the golden girl who Sydney is fascinated by. We watch her feelings develop for her, picking flower petals in her mind while she is stuck in the liminal space of ‘does she love me back?’. The 20 minutes she spends in the car rides to school with her are her only moments of joy. Although I empathised with June's story, I struggled to take a shine to her. I wish what we learned about her wasn’t confined to the climax, but rather explored further over the course of the novel.

The second half of the story was weak. It is centred around the mystery behind Sydney’s ominous texts and peculiar incidents following her father’s death. However, I thought the answer was predictable from the get-go. Various red herrings emerge throughout which only made me more certain of the foreboding outcome.

The Truth About Keeping Secrets touches upon not only grief but other poignant relationship issues; manipulative friends and abusive relationships. This isn’t a story for the faint of heart. It is predictable, the mystery isn’t too compelling. Nonetheless, there is an abundance of beautiful paragraphs and turns of phrase which made this a pleasure to read.

Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House UK Children’s for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for thi.
671 reviews83 followers
June 18, 2019
- tw forced outing, abusive relationships, descriptions of self harm, past rape
- so I ended up reading this in a sitting
- I love discussions and takes surrounding grief because people can experience and deal with it in different ways
- And in this story we see how it affects Sydney and her friendships
- .. and also a murder mystery
- I had a hunch who the killer was .. because I’m just extremely untrusting of a certain type lol
- BUT the lead up to the reveal and so forth .. so intriguing 👌🏼
Profile Image for caitlin.
64 reviews137 followers
November 17, 2019
kinda disappointed with this one. was really looking forward to reading a book i thought i’d relate to, but i felt like something was missing the whole time. thought some of the characters were pretty uninteresting, the mystery was predictable, but the writing was good and it was entertaining and quick.
Profile Image for elio.
129 reviews905 followers
January 4, 2022
soooooo goooood
mystery ya + lesbian???? best combo thank you v much
Displaying 1 - 30 of 929 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.