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Hometown Antihero #2

Don't Say a Word

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Kylene Danners’s ex-FBI agent father is in prison for murder and she’s hell-bent on getting him out. But trying to investigate in the small town where a defensive lineman is a hero no matter who he tries to kill and the girl who gets him locked up is public enemy number one is dangerous. Dark secrets are everywhere in Jasperville—the kind Ky can’t walk away from.

When rookie FBI agent Cedric Dawson returns to town to finish an open investigation, he goes undercover at her high school—as her ex. Determined to keep her from interfering, Dawson’s plan backfires after Ky gets an anonymous call about missing girls officially labeled as runaways—runaways that didn’t really run away at all.

Because dead girls can’t run.

And they don’t say a word.

384 pages, Hardcover

First published September 17, 2019

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About the author

Amber Lynn Natusch

64 books1,457 followers
AMBER LYNN NATUSCH is the author of the bestselling Caged series for adults. She was born and raised in Winnipeg, and is still deeply attached to her Canadian roots. She loves to dance and practice Muay Thai―but spends most of her time running a chiropractic practice with her husband, raising two young children, and attempting to write when she can lock herself in the bathroom for ten minutes of peace. Dare You to Lie is her debut YA novel with Tor Teen.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 117 reviews
Profile Image for Carlene Inspired.
930 reviews243 followers
December 6, 2019
Find this review and others at Carlene Inspired.

Veronica Mars, I mean Kylene Danners, is back! It took me a lot longer to get into Don't Say a Word than the previous novel, Dare You To Lie, but somewhere at 45% I was suddenly all in. Once the story started clicking in place for me, mixing the overarching story line, the previous novel's plot, and the present's together, I got where things were going. Kylene is no typical high school student and her high school is no typical high school. Sure, there's the jocks and the outcasts and the teachers too into their status, but then there's the girls working in prostitution and an undercover student too. The novel takes place right after the previous, so there's no time jump to adjust to and Amber Lynn Natusch did the suspense lovers right by making her characters continue to recover from the events through out this novel. Thank you. Kylene is banged up, mentally scarred, and just as determined as ever. She continues to be stubborn, witty, and quite the smart A, but she sure is an entertaining character.

In Don't Say a Word Kylene has to finally switch back into her role as student, daughter, granddaughter, and friend. Of course, no one can stop her from helping Agent Dawson out on his case so the secrets, sneaking around, and crime solving continues on. Drug issues are a thing of a past, now they're taking on prostitution and Kylene's name just might be at the top of the list. It's twisted, fast-paced, and yet still has just the right amount of high school drama. We get some more details on her father's case as well, just enough to keep us hanging until the next release though.

Amber Lynn Natusch's Hometown Antihero series is the perfect mystery suspense series for NA readers. It's what I would have liked in high school and college, and it definitely continues to fit the bill for me in my late twenties. It's got the right amount of humor, age appropriate drama, and all the suspense a young Nancy Drew could want.

ARC provided.
Profile Image for Melanie (TBR and Beyond).
509 reviews365 followers
August 25, 2019
“What we want to believe and what’s actually true are rarely if ever the same thing, Danners…”

Trigger Warning: Sexual assault (non-graphic), Underage Prostitution, Violence

Are you a fan of Veronica Mars or Law & Order: SVU? Then you need this book in your life! I was so excited to be back with Ky and the gang for the next book in the Hometown Antihero series, and I sure wasn't disappointed. 

I'm going to keep this review a little more vague, just in case you haven't had the pleasure yet of reading the first book, Dare You to Lie (if you haven't, go get it!).  Don't Say a Word picks up directly after Dare you to Lie ended, so you completely need to read the first book to be able to go into this one and not be completely confused.  That being said, going right back into the story where it left off was perfect - I love when stories do that.  Especially with thriller/mystery type novels.  When a bunch of time has passed, I always feel a little cheated and like I missed something in the story.  There is a bit of a catch up here and there at the start, just in case you forgot something from the first book, so I didn't have to read the first book over again to refresh my memory.  

In this story, Ky is back in the middle of just about everything she shouldn't be in - yet again and I lived for it.  This time, along with the mysteries from the first novel, Ky has a new case dropped in front of her.  A young girl calls Ky and tells her about girls going missing from from the area and how scared she is about what is happening to them and what might happen to her.  She doesn't reveal much information but says she will only work with Ky - which then leads to our favorite Deputy Dawson coming into the story again.  Oh yes, we get so much Dawson in this one! Dawson reluctantly agrees to let Ky help on the case and says he will be going undercover as a student at her highschool.  He also drops the bomb that they will be playing exes that are getting back together, while he is there.  Ummm anyone else love the fake dating trope? This leads to all sorts of fun banter and awkward moments between the two.  If you are looking for some great chemistry and sexual tension, this book has it in spades.  There is also another guy in Ky's life that isn't too happy with this and is doing all he can to also get back together with her.  Don't worry, this is a fun triangle - not a sloppy one! 

The main focus of this story though is the case and that is why I love this series.  Yes, there are great moments of romantic tension and friendship adventures but it always goes back to the case and solving it.  It never gets deterred or overtaken by a romantic storyline.  Dawson and Ky end up making a really solid team and I love watching their partnership really develop - way moreso then anything else.  I also loved that all the characters showed some development in this story, so it felt authentic to me.  I really enjoy reading about these characters and I have no clue what is going to happen overall.  I only know that I TRUST. NO. ONE.  

I would recommend this to anyone who is tired of reading YA mysteries that don't really hold up in the end.  Don't Say a Word has great characters and intriguing cases.  I would give it a try if that sounds up your alley.  
Profile Image for Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard.
1,142 reviews246 followers
November 10, 2019
Thank you to Amber for sending me an ARC in exchange for Coffee Crisps and an honest review

This book was actually quite different from Dare You To Lie. That follows quite closely with the Veronica Mars TV show plot line (obviously with some differences but a lot of parallels). But heza for this book not doing that after Rob Thomas destroyed the damn comeback with the last 10 minutes of the last episode of the reboot (fight me but he butchered everything).

I really liked that Ky is having a hard time getting over all the the events that happened in Dare You To Lie and everything that happens in this. It's quite honest and realistic. she doesn't just brush off being almost murdered. Ky and Dawson also take a WAY bigger focus. Like main stage. Her friends are background characters in this instead of being her crime fighting sidekicks.

I was guessing the whole time over the mystery and the villains. There were just A LOT of clear suspects. My guess wasn't even remotely close.

I know Amber plans on continuing with at least one more book and I am HERE for it. I really want a romantic build up between Ky and Dawson. It sort of started in this book but I still don't think we're totally out of the enemy side of the "enemies to friends" trope. This felt a lot like Truly Devious to me: I entered with questions and exited with none of them answered.
Profile Image for Paula  Phillips.
4,838 reviews294 followers
May 20, 2019
Kylene Danners is back, and this time, she is going full steam ahead as not only is her father still in prison for a murder he didn't commit and for being a dirty FBI agent, her best friend Garrett is recuperating in hospital after almost being killed. With so many of her friends being injured, she doesn't want to see anyone else hurt which means getting some help from an undercover FBI agent- Agent Dawson who is posing at her school as her boyfriend. Seems like the mysterious person now has a name and has taken a leaf out of the Pretty Little Liars series by calling himself "AD"and nope, I'm not convinced that it stands for Agent Dawson as he does have this "nice guy" feel about him and it would totally suck if he were manipulating everyone. Don't Say a Word's plot focuses on taking down a prostitution ring that is hiring girls from Kylene's school and neighborhood and if the girls don't comply, they turn up dead and beyond recognizable. Can Kylene help save the girls and in doing so uncover and come one step further into saving her dad and finding out who is pulling the strings of the high and mighty and the dark and seedy in their small town of Jasperville. Find out in another excellent book by Amber Lynn Natusch. Fans of Veronica Mars and Nancy Drew will love the character of Kylene Danners.
April 23, 2019
Thank you to the author, Amber, for sending me a copy through Netgalley for review. She asked that I review on GR for now and my blog closer to release date. So look for my review there sometime in late August.

It's so hard to review a mystery book without giving away any clues. I will do my best to keep this spoiler free. However, there are spoilers for book one (Dare You To Lie). If you haven't read that, then don't read this review and just know I gave both books 5 stars.

Don't Say A Word starts off right where Dare You To Lie ends. Garrett is still in the hospital, but Kylene has to go back to school. Instead of being praised for taking down a drug scandal, she is attacked because now the football team won't make it to state. The students tend to ignore that Donovan tried to kill her and Garrett. The coach is one of the worst to her.

Luckily Ky still has Tabby. Now that she knows AJ didn't take and release the photos, Kylene is attempting to be friends with him again. It's tough because she often times has feelings for him, just by remembering their past. But Agent Dawson is under cover in the school as Ky's ex that she might be getting back together with. The FBI wants to know who the AD is and how many people he has blackmailed to work for him/her. Right now, the focus is on uncovering who is running a prostitution ring with girls from the high school. One girl stuck in it, "Jane", contacts Kylene because she thinks she is the only one that can help. She tells her about how one girl was recently killed and that she might be next. Also, she tells Kylene to start looking into all the missing girls from the area. The "throwaways" that people either don't report missing or don't even notice them gone. Kylene and Agent Dawson starts working on this together. Dawson isn't thrilled, but Jane will only speak to Ky.

Garret finally gets released and starts hanging out with Ky, Tabby, and AJ again. Things get complicated with Ky and AJ since he hasn't ever stopped loving her. AJ and Dawson have a lot of tension between them that doesn't help. Even though Kylene and Dawson argue all the time, she also starts feeling something more for him. This makes things even more tense and stressful for her.

Dawson and Ky start trying to figure out who is linked to every missing girl that fits the profile. It becomes hard to eliminate too many of them until after they find a body that has DNA under her fingers. It's still hard for Ky to see adults she trusts on the list. Ky starts getting notes at school left on her car. It becomes clear that she is now a target and she will have to fight to stay alive (again).

She is also still working on her dad's case. Gramps is still amazing, but not home very much. There is a lot of mystery in Don't Say A Word. I found it even harder to put down than Dare You To Lie. I loved the relationships with everyone, the banter with Ky and Dawson, Ky's sarcasm, the AJ, Ky, Dawson sort of triangle, Tabby's fun personality, and Garrett's sweetness. The mysteries weave together well and while I did have a feeling on one thing, there were other things that surprised me.

I know I shouldn't hope for a relationship between Ky and Dawson because of the age difference. But I'm older and this was totally normal when I was in school. Plus, Ky turns 18 and there has been no sex. So I'm very much hoping to see them together. AJ is sweet, but it's almost too easy with him. He's comfortable for Ky. Dawson challenges her and they definitely have some tension and chemistry.

I loved this book and already have it pre-ordered. Now I'm just sad (and a bit frustrated) that I have to wait so long for book three.
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,709 reviews701 followers
August 30, 2019
DNF at 19%

This sounded like my sort of thing and I was really excited to read it.

When I started, I was immediately confused. I felt like I had been dropped into a story that was already started and there’s a reason: this is a sequel to Dare You to Lie.

I don’t know why they’re not labeled as a series, but since I didn’t read the previous book, I’m not going to struggle with this one.

No rating because I might have loved it and I wouldn’t have requested it if I knew it was a sequel.

**Huge thanks to Tor Teen for providing the arc free of charge**
Profile Image for Courtney.
1,576 reviews181 followers
August 22, 2019
ALN never ceases to amaze me with her ability to keep me stuck in the pages from start to finish.

This book MUST be read after Dare You to Lie as it starts off exactly where that book ended. Plus, there is an underlying plot that continues on through this series and while Natusch does a great job of rehashing that information quickly without too much backstory, it's still best read in order.

Kylene and Garrett are both recovering from their almost deadly demise as the hands of Donovan. Kylene can't escape the hatred her fellow classmates have for her, even if she was almost killed. If anything, they hate her even more for hurting their football team.

While Kylene is juggling the typical high school drama, she is trying to find who DA is and how he's behind all the secrets and coverups in her hometown. She's brought down the drug prescription ring but she's fallen upon a new problem - prostitution. With this new development, Agent Dawson isn't leaving town any time soon and now they really have to play the role of their lives to find any answers.

There is a lot going on in this story but ALN does a great job of blending and moving each piece smoothly into the overall plot line. Ky is a high school student and ALN reminds her readers of that with the typical high school banter amongst her peers. But she doesn't get too cheesy with everything and interjects the perfect amount of humor and whit into the story line. Natusch truly knows how to provide the right amount of suspense, with a hint of romance and humor mixed in.

ALN delivers the twists and turns into this story as the right moments and keeps readers on their toes. The list of culprits is pretty large and while I saw a few things happen before they did, I had not expected the big twists and turns in this story. I was excitedly surprised by certain scenes and loved how this story line panned out.

I am anxious to know that there is possibly more to this series with that ending and cannot wait to see what ALN brings us next.
Profile Image for julia ☆ [owls reads].
1,559 reviews308 followers
August 3, 2019
1.5 stars.


“Do what you think is best.”

Don’t Say a Word has a wonderful beginning, but things quickly go downhill as the story progresses. The novel has been (mistakenly?) marked as a possible standalone, yet there is some context missing if the reader jumps right into it without having read the previous installment—which happened to be my case. The fast pace and writing are pretty engaging, but the plot execution is a bit of a mess.

Amber Lynn Natusch creates an intricate mystery story here. There are a lot of players involved, and the perspective of a teenager trying to solve a crime is as fun as it is really messy. Kylene’s arrogance often reaches the point of stupidity and the lack of development regarding the investigation on her father doesn’t help matters.

I disliked this. The writing is pretty solid, but the plot development and execution is a mess. Disclaimer that when I requested this as an ARC, it was marked as a standalone. While you can follow along without having read the previous book, which is what I did, there are still pretty big chunks of story missing. Natusch does a good job at playing catch up, but quite a few significant plot points don’t translate from one book to another. And the main one regarding Kylene’s father, which seems to be brought over from the first book, gets almost no development throughout the entire novel.

Kylene is… so arrogant. I’m sure this perfectly describes a lot of teenagers out there, but having her as the only POV character here made things difficult for me. She thinks she’s smarter than everyone else and, during several occasions, she says so to other more competent characters. The fact that she’s presented as the only person capable of solving crimes while the Sheriff and the FBI Agent in the story aren’t capable of investigating things by themselves is… odd, to say the least.

And the love triangle! That involves said 23-year-old FBI Agent! And Kylene, the 17-year-old high school student, plus her also teenage ex-boyfriend. That is SUCH a weird choice to make ESPECIALLY when one of the plot points in the novel is about an adult committing statutory rape, and Kylene outright calls him a pedophile in her head—which also isn’t good as the girl who is raped is around 16-17 years old and this misrepresents the definition of pedophile and pedophilia and that can cause harm to real life victims of childhood sexual abuse.

So, yeah, Don’t Say a Word is really not the book for me. I’m sure lots of readers will have fun with it, as there is a lot of tension of the danger and romance kind with the mystery and the love triangle. I just really couldn’t connect to Kylene and the direction the plot took didn’t work for me.


Series: #2 in the Hometown Antihero series.
POV: Told from Kylene’s POV.
Content Warnings:
Love Triangle:
Cliffhanger: No.
Up Next: TBA.


ARC provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Lorna.
1,346 reviews62 followers
November 18, 2019
A small town full of dark secrets meets its match in Kylene Danners-if such a thing is possible. The daughter of an ex-FBI agent(now wrongly convicted murderer), Kylene has investigative prowess in her blood. It serves her well in this second book in this series when she gets involved with yet another mystery, the kind that could get her killed.

This book starts soon after the first book, Dare You to Lie, ends so we don’t miss much. Kylene, or Ky as she is called, is approached by Dawson, the youthful looking FBI agent that was featured in the first book. He needs to go undercover at her school to investigate missing teenage girls. So he poses as her ex, one who wants to get back with her. This causes all kinds of complications, the least of which is how it puts a damper on Ky getting back with her real ex-boyfriend, A.J. Miller. When she starts receiving anonymous phone calls from a girl who is informing her about what she knows about the missing girls, Ky is once again pulled into yet another huge mystery, one even darker than in the previous story. On top of that, Ky is still searching for clues concerning the murder that landed her innocent father in prison.

The characters made this book for me. Ky is full of snark and is very outspoken. Nothing seems to rattle her-well not until it’s over that is. She has no problems with taking on a bully or a raging murderer for that matter. She’s going to do whatever is necessary to survive. She’s turning 18 in this story. Dawson was not very likable in the first book, for me anyway. He believes Ky’s father is guilty since it was his mentor who was killed. He’s only 23, which is extremely young to be accepted into the FBI, so he has a lot to prove. He’s very protective of Ky and she is very snarky towards him. Slowly, but surely, she gets won over by Dawson and vice versa. It’s not quite a romance due to the age differences, but it totally acts like one at times. I quite liked both of them. A.J. is a different story. I loved his character and was actually rooting for him and Ky to reconnect. He’s the quarterback of the football team and is extremely popular at school. When Ky moved away for two years and came back, he hopes to reconnect with her. He definitely is one of my favorite characters. Is it a love triangle? Not yet, but maybe? Her best friends are Garrett, son of the police chief and Tabby, newly moved to town from Canada. They were both well realized by the author and personally, I would take either one as a best friend! Red herring characters abound in this book and while the culprit was someone that had been on my radar, there were plenty of others to choose from as well.

Like the first book, it’s left open for another one. I enjoyed this one immensely and hate having to wait as long for the next one. It’s young adult, but it’s written for older teens and up, mainly due to the darker subject matter. At least that’s my take on it. There’s a smidgen of teen drinking at a party, a bit of bad language at times and a few mentions of sexual situations, not all necessarily consensual, but part of the premise itself. Since this is YA, it should be noted that the main characters do not engage in actual sex, although more and more YA does include it.

I thought the book was well written with a well thought out mystery plot, engaging characters and a horrible town that I only want to visit in a book, never in person. I highly recommend this to ages 15-16 plus depending on maturity level.(Delighted Reader)
Profile Image for Misty.
141 reviews84 followers
February 21, 2023
I flew through this book! It had me so hooked right from the start! Fans of Veronica Mars or Karen McManus books or just plain mystery fans, I encourage you to read this series because it will not disappoint!

I loved the first book, but this one surpassed it for me, which was really unexpected and exciting! It starts off right after the first one ended, so all the characters are coping with or at least trying to live with the events of the first.

I adore the characters in this series! Ky is an absolute badass, who will never say no to helping someone and won't rest until she finds the truth. She is a strong protagonist and narrator. Garrett is recovering from his injuries and comes back to school not long after Ky does. Tabby is back to being her hilarious, adorable self. I really love the friendship those three have; it's very heartwarming, especially in a town that sounds so hurtful. Now that they know the truth about the pictures, AJ is also part of their friend group, which I was all for and found really nice. I really do like AJ.

Agent Dawson was very predominant in this book. If you've read the summary, then you know he's undercover at the high school, posing as Ky's ex boyfriend who wants to get back together, in order to find out who's running this prostitution ring. I was a bit skeptical about that, but I ended up loving the storyline. I loved that Ky had someone, who knew pretty much everything that is going on with her, and who she could depend on and who could stand up for her, when needed. He was very much supportive, protective, and a grounding force for her, and I just really enjoyed seeing their relationship evolve into becoming a team and partnership! He is very much like her, meaning, a very concrete definition of justice and a drive that will only be satisfied when the truth is revealed. Their working together was a truly amazing part of the book!! I cannot wait to continue reading about their partnership in the next one.

The mystery of this book was so heartbreaking to me. Especially given that the main suspects were people working in the schools - principals, teachers, coaches. Their attitudes towards Kylene and girls in tough home situations devastated me... and enraged me. I'm so glad that Ky and Dawson were working so hard for justice and to save The Throwaway Girls, as Ky dubbed them. The mystery was a very good one; I didn't guess the ringleader in the prostitution ring, but unfortunately, it was partly because there were just so many terrible people in that town who you could totally see being that evil. I honestly don't know how anyone could stand to live in that town. There was a short epilogue at the back, which featured a press conference that I loved reading and was much needed! I'm hopeful that the town's view on Kylene will change for the better in the next book... at least a little... please.

I also have to mention my love of the series' name: Hometown Antihero. That name is just so appropriate and genius, while also heartbreaking.

I love this series so much! It is sooo good, with really amazing characters and mysteries. I absolutely recommend it!
Profile Image for Candyce Kirk.
1,168 reviews34 followers
August 25, 2019
As I'm typing this, I've actually read Don't Say a Word twice. I was really lucky to get the ARC in March and read it right away. For this tour I needed to read it again, so I could grab some of my favorite quotes. I'm happy I decided to reread this story again, because it's so good! Don't Say a Word was just as good, if not better the second time around!

The sequel basically starts where the Dare You to Lie ends. We're in the middle of the aftermath of the events that took place during homecoming night. I won't go into too much detail, because I will end up spoiling the first book. You really do need to read the first book before reading Don't Say a Word.

Kylene is still trying to solve her father's case when something else lands right in her lap. There are girls disappearing and let's just say not in the greatest circumstances. Dawson is back in town to solve the case and will be going undercover at Kylene's school. To help solve the case, they even pretend to date.

If you're looking for a book filled with sarcasm, suspense and a plot that leaves you on the edge of your seat, definitely pick up this series. Besides the cases the characters are working on, there are other things happening. It's clear that the town they're in is really messed up and we see day to day high school life. There is even an aspect of romance in this story, that leaves you wanting more. That being said, I love that the love story didn't take over the story. There is definitely some tension there, but the author never lost sight of what was really important.

I've noticed that when I read thrillers I love trying to figure out who is behind all the crimes going on. In Don't Say a Word, I was not able to figure out who it was. There were plenty of suspects, but the author really knew how to make me doubt the suspects. I definitely see that as a talent, if you're able to leave a reader guessing until the end.

Even though Don't Say a Word does have an ending, there are still plenty of loose ends that need to be addressed and I can't wait for the next book! If you love books with amazing characters, a mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat, a town with a lot of issues and lots of sarcasm, definitely pick up this book!
Profile Image for Christy.
1,505 reviews258 followers
August 27, 2019
Ok so where is book 3?! Full review to come!
Profile Image for I'm All Booked Up  YA.
272 reviews103 followers
April 28, 2022
Starting right where Dare You to Lie left off, Kylene Danners and her best friend Garrett Higgins are lucky to be alive. All Kylene wanted was to make the football players who took pictures of her pay, while simultaneously trying to get her dad out of prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Too bad Kylene stumbled upon something much bigger.

Agent Cedric Dawson is back in town for an FBI Investigation into missing girls, who are officially labeled as runaways. Kylene’s takedown of Donovan, the former Jasperville High defensive lineman, led to much bigger secrets coming out about the town of Jasperville and the corrupt people who live there. Someone is pulling the strings behind the scenes and Kylene is determined to figure out who and why. For some reason, every bad thing happening goes back to the mysterious Advocatus Diaboli, known as the AD.

When Kylene gets a call from a girl who is part of the prostitution ring run by the AD, Dawson has no choice to involve Kylene in the investigation. “Jane” has information on what’s happening to other girls like her, but won’t go to the cops. That leaves Kylene and Dawson as her only hopes to be saved, before she ends up like the AD’s other victims. But because Dawson needs a cover, he enrolls at Jasperville High School with Kylene and pretends to be her ex-boyfriend from Columbus, Ohio.

With the investigation leading down a dark path and high school drama being crazier than ever, Kylene is in over head. Luckily she has her friends Garrett, AJ and Tabby to keep her sane. But even her friends might not be able to stop Kylene risking her life once again.

Don’t Say a Word surprised us a lot. First, because it’s even better than Dare You to Lie. While we raved over the first book in the series, the second just knocked it out of the park.

First of all, there’s even more suspense and thrills. Kylene’s life is nonstop, so she has to think on her feet if she wants to solve anything and save herself. The plot dove a lot deeper into the world of Jasperville and the potential suspects for all of the crimes. We love how twisted it got because Natusch successfully surprised us multiple times.

The best aspect was seeing Kylene really turn into a detective. It wasn’t just a high school scandal anymore. She has moved up to partnering with an FBI agent and being the main reason he has clues in the first place. Plus, we enjoyed watching her relationship with Dawson turn into something. While they are fake dating, we could tell how much chemistry they have. They both get As for their witty banter.

Kylene also has another love interest, her ex-boyfriend AJ. AJ is a sweet guy and he’s protective of Kylene, we just think he’s not the guy for her right now. In the end, we feel he can only hold her back. While there is no resolution to the love triangle, just know we’re team Dawson!

As for Kylene’s best friends, Garrett and Tabby were perfect yet again. Everyone needs a silly, creative and stubborn bestie like Tabby. She’s the perfect mix of comic relief and toughness. Garrett is a great guy best friend because he’s the one person Kylene can come to with anything, without judgement. He may tell it like it is, but he will do anything for his friends.

Kylene needs the support with the danger she faces near the end of the story. We won’t say too much, just that we still don’t have the identity of the AD. We did get to meet one of his more prominent henchmen, who comes face to face with Kylene one night. After what Kylene does, no one in Jasperville will see her the same way again.

Since Don’t Say a Word ended with a cliffhanger, excuse us while we start reading Come Out and Play.

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Profile Image for Booktastically Amazing.
470 reviews389 followers
February 8, 2023
Have you ever wanted to be so stressed while reading a book that breathing BECAUSE A NUISANCE AND WHY SHOULD WR NEED AIR BUBBLES IN THIS GIANT SNOW GLOBE???

If so, do read this beautiful book and enjoy the tears, laughs, frustrated grunts and gorgeous gorgeous neanderthal banter.
August 30, 2019
Find this review and more on my blog Sometimes Leelynn Reads

Murder, Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Violence,
Underage Sex (implied), Adult Relations with a Minor,
Bullying, Retaliation, PTSD, Revenge Porn

None that I noticed. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Netgalley, TBR and Beyond, and Tor Teen for this free copy.All quotes in this review are taken from the Advanced Reader Copy and may change in final publication.

I know I’m totally late in posting this review, and I appreciate you all being patient with me! I will say that this is a sequel, so if you haven’t read the first one – like I didn’t – you may want to. A lot of what is being referenced in this one will make sense from the first one. But it was still easy enough to infer what happened. On to the review!

Kylene Danners is still recovering from the events of what happened to her in the first book. Honestly, it was so much that I’m surprised that she’s even still remotely functioning properly. You can tell that she’s suffering from some PTSD, and rightly so if you know what happened to her. There seems to be more to this case than she thought – and while it’s not the main case of her father being wrongfully accused of murder – there are girls disappearing from the school and nobody is saying or doing anything about it. Except for her. The author mentioned that she was inspired by Veronica Mars for this book, and I think you can totally see that with Kylene’s character.

Cedric Dawson is a rookie FBI agent that somehow knows Kylene (remember, I didn’t read the first one) and is undercover at her school as her ex-boyfriend. I do think there was something going on between them, although I don’t think that’s entirely appropriate? He’s an adult and she’s still in high school after all. He’s a sarcastic asshole, but that seems to work out with Kylene because she can be the same.

Kylene is dealing with the fallout of the events of the first novel. You would think that her actually saving people from a drug dealer – even though he died in the process – would make people realize that she’s a good person but no. Because this same person was an all star football player for the school, they all hate her because they don’t see themselves winning the championships anymore.

Priorities, right?

So besides that, apparently there is a prostitution ring going on in the high school, and almost all of the girls that were involved in have mysteriously disappeared. Nobody is saying anything. Nobody is doing anything. It seems like nobody really cares. But Kylene does. And she’s going to figure out what’s going on. Who’s the person in charge and can she save any more girls from this cruel fate?

The friendship between Kylene and Tabby is great. I love that they are there for one another. I love that there’s no competition for no reason between them. They just support one another. I mean, Tabby’s dad may not allow her to hang out with Kylene outside of school because of what happened, but Tabby knows that her dad is wrong.

I also think that Kylene and Dawson actually work well together and I love their dynamic for the most part. I love working partnerships like this and they each play to their own strengths. Idk, I just really liked it.

Literally how almost every single male treats Kylene in this novel is atrocious but believable. I hate it so much honestly. It kind of reminds me of that Buffy episode where she defended herself from being sexually assaulted and the coach said that it’s her fault because of what she wears. The swim coach. I freaking hated that mentality but it’s so prevalent that I wouldn’t have been believable if Amber didn’t include it in there. It just made me so ANGRY.

OMG just thinking about that episode is making me angry.

I personally haven’t watched Veronica Mars yet, but I totally can see how Veronica Mars fans would like this one. Kylene is an interesting character, and I do think that she is extremely smart. I’m curious to see if there are any other mysteries or cases that she will end up solving. I’m kind of surprised that she doesn’t want to be an attorney, but maybe that’s because she’d rather be a Special Agent. I think that would fit her better. Being out in the field rather than behind the desk doing research or in the courtroom.

Profile Image for Debbie.
838 reviews12 followers
August 22, 2019
As with most books in a series, I highly recommend you start with the first book: Dare You To Lie. Otherwise, like me, you may be a little lost at the beginning of this book.

Kylene and FBI agent Cedric Dawson are working together to unearth some secrets. Dawson, the FBI agent, goes undercover as Ky’s old boyfriend. He is focusing on discovering why girls are ending up dead at the high school and he needs Ky’s help.

Kylene is obsessed with finding out who framed her dad, an ex-FBI agent. Even though he warns her from prison to leave everything alone, she is in need of Dawson’s help.

The story moves at a good pace, but again, I highly recommend reading the first book in this series in order to get the most out of this book.

What Concerned Me:
News Flash: :-) Read the first book in this series – Dare You to Lie -(Hometown Antihero, Book 1)

What I Liked Best:
The characters were interesting and the pace was consistent. Plus the various subplots helped to keep this story moving.

And for those who like a bit of romance, look for that too in this book that’s sure to capture teen readers.

Profile Image for Monique V.
550 reviews67 followers
September 21, 2019
I love this type of story. A good mystery that feels like a ticking time bomd. The heroine is so broken in this book. She is going through so much and just like most people cannot find a way to deal with what happened to her in the last book. I found her so relatable. I felt all her emotions and all the desperation she felt.
Profile Image for Romance Schmomance (Malia) .
1,204 reviews98 followers
November 15, 2021
** don't say a word is not a standalone, it's book 2 in the hometown antihero series.
dare you to lie is the first in the series**
And the Hometown Antihero series continues with  Don't Say a Word . I gotta say that it took a little bit of time for things to pick up, but there was a huge puzzle to solve around the prostitution ring. Dawson and Kylene make such a dynamic team and came to love their "partnership" instantly. Amber lovedddddd dangling these two in front of us, makes me curious to see what will come of these two. I'm an unapologetic romance reader, of course I'm going to want to more ;-)

With everything that she endured in  Dare You to Lie , she's still dealing with the aftermath and it's definitely taking a toll on her. And now that she's pulled into getting to the bottom of something else, there wasn't really a chance for her to really sit and just digress.


Profile Image for Nemo (The ☾Moonlight☾ Library).
626 reviews302 followers
August 6, 2020
This review was originally posted on The Moonlight Library

The sequel to Dare You to Lie delivers more of the same high-action tee investigator thrilling mysteries as its predecessor, with our resident badass Kylene Danners also embroiled in a fake dating trope while she works with rookie undercover FBI agent Dawson to bring down an underage sex ring involving students (and possibly teachers!) at her school, while still trying to prove her FBI dad was framed for the murder of a colleague. Whew! That's a lot to pack into one book.

The biggest problem I had with this book was once again the overwhelming ratio of male to female characters. There is more 'screen time' for precisely one new female characters, but it comes at the expense of Kylene's alleged newest best friend Tabby, whose role was delegated to little more than an enthusiastic cheerleader trying to get Ky and her ex AJ back together and dragging Ky to all of these social events she didn't want to go to, you know, for the drama. Kylene's other female ally largely only appeared off page in phone conversations, so that was disappointing. This isn't a reverse harem, so what is up with all the dicks? Every other girl was your typical whispering, shade-throwing, rumour-mongering Mean Girl.

Don't get me wrong, the boys were assholes, too. But there were just so many important boys and not enough important girls. It was like Ky was a guy who though girls had cooties. She just didn't interact with them, befriend them, hang out with them, talk to them, or think about them (except Tabby, the Token Female Friend.)

There may have been few other girls in this book, but in my opinion the lack of the female gender was made up for by the excellent fake dating story Agent Dawson used to pose as a student at Ky's school as her ex-boyfriend (and soon to be boyfriend again, as he kept telling other students). I am trash for fake dating, apparently, because I absolutely loved this. Dawson is in his 20s, so much too old for Ky anyway (yes, I feel the same way about Vampire Academy), and they genuinely antagonise each other over practically everything, but I really do get the feeling that they have grown to respect and like each other this far into the story. There's also a lot of sexual tension on Ky's end because Dawson is hot and likes to walk around shirtless or something. But this is complicated by AJ, who Ky is also attracted to.

I would argue that this is not a love triangle because there is no love. There is absolutely nothing deeper than sexual attraction and lust from Ky. She's not in love with either of them, she literally cannot (or does not) think that deeply about either of them, and also, she's trying to save her dad and take down this underage sex ring and she doesn’t have time for boys (except she clearly does). Some people probably call this a love triangle and I'm just like


I thought this was going to be a duology, but since the major plot point is still unresolved by the end of this book, there should be a third one coming out to wrap everything up, hopefully in 2020 or maybe 2021.

Normally I hate books that end without resolving important plot points, like cutting off the end of a three-act story just to shift it to the next book in the series, but I don't feel that this happens with this series. Sure, the dad-in-jail plot point isn't resolved, but that's not actually Ky's focus in either of the first two novels in this series. She may not have solved her dad's problem, but she did solve her own problems, and I found that very satisfying, and interesting enough to keep going.
Profile Image for Johanna Montilla.
456 reviews4 followers
April 22, 2020
I loved the first book. I think it was unique and interesting. This one however, didn’t work for me.
First let say what I like: Dawson’s character and his relationship with the protagonist Ky. Their partnership, their conversations, and the way their relationship grew up, accepting each other. The whole star is because of that.
Now, I have to say I promised to myself that this year I was just going to read books that keep me hook from the start, books with emotions, there are so great books out there deserving to be read. So why I didn’t DNF this one, well because honestly the first one is good, and I wanted to know who the bad guy was. Which brings me to my first disappointment, the series isn’t over. But, the story that built the plot from the beginning t it wasn’t addressed, it was almost forgotten in this book. So, at the end there isn’t an answer to so many questions, the worst part is that it doesn’t show even if there is going to be another book.
Also, we have the main character Kylene. In this sequel, there is no signs of that strong, smart girl I rooted for. The vulnerable girl that had to grow up despite her pain. No, in this book Ky is rude, arrogant, and obnoxious. She isn’t funny or sarcastic, she is violent without a reason and annoying. She isn’t brave, she’s stupid. A total destruction of her arc.
And talking about the characters’ arc. Well, the secondary characters have none. They are there just for decorative purposes, that’s all.
The narrative, the plot, the outline is just wrong. It feels like to be in a race and out the blue the runner stops and when to buy a burger. But not in the unexpected sense, more like no sense at all.
If you want to read this book, go ahead, maybe you will see something that I didn’t and probably you will enjoy it. But be prepared, just in case.
Profile Image for PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps .
2,304 reviews220 followers
September 21, 2019
If you look up badass in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of eighteen-year-old Kylene Danners. Fresh off almost dying after bringing down a steroid selling classmate, she’s once again trying to solve her father’s false murder conviction. FBI agent Dawkins is undercover as her ex boyfriend at her high on the base of a ring trafficking and killing vulnerable teens when one victim reaches out to her.

DON’T SAY A WORD is the second in Amber Lynn Natusch’s Hometown Antihero series and I’m already itching for book three. Natusch once again gave Kylene a sharp-witted, sarcastic voice so strong I could practically hear the words as I read. Kylene is stubborn on steroids, living by the adages asking for forgiveness is easier than permission.

Any number of plausible potential perps could have been the perp(s). I didn’t guess the culprit(s).

I cannot wait for book 3.
Profile Image for Lauren.
188 reviews2 followers
January 10, 2021
I decided these books are great if you go into them expecting Riverdale vibes in that not realistic and corny sort of way. This was a fun, small town, antihero turned detective story and a great in-between book when you just need something fun! That being said, book two didn’t tie up the loose ends I was hoping for and it seems like a third book is coming. A little drawn out for me, but interesting nonetheless. I do enjoy how dark these books get in a criminal minds sort of way. Kind wish there was more of it tbh.
Profile Image for Madison.
311 reviews12 followers
January 28, 2020
Not nearly as good as the first. It was still enjoyable but there were several times I had to put it down for sheer annoyance with the stupid decisions of the main character. I'm all for imperfection, but the mistakes she made regarding personal relationships were just really immature and kind of manipulative. I really am hoping for a third book despite all of that to wrap up the storyline with her father and because the writing style is witty and fun to read.
Profile Image for Ashley.
885 reviews
August 25, 2019
**Disclaimer: I received a free eARC of Don't Say a Word by Amber Lynn Natusch from Macmillan/Tor-Forge through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you to them for this opportunity.

Don't Say a Word by Amber Lynn Natusch is a YA mystery thriller set in a small town in Ohio.  It is due to publish on September 17th of this year.  It is the second book in the Hometown Antihero series.  I gave it three stars on Goodreads.

Here's the summary from Goodreads:

Kylene Danners’s ex-FBI agent father is in prison for murder and she’s hell-bent on getting him out. But trying to investigate in the small town where a defensive lineman is a hero no matter who he tries to kill and the girl who gets him locked up is public enemy number one is dangerous. Dark secrets are everywhere in Jasperville—the kind Ky can’t walk away from.

When rookie FBI agent Cedric Dawson returns to town to finish an open investigation, he goes undercover at her high school—as her ex. Determined to keep her from interfering, Dawson’s plan backfires after Ky gets an anonymous call about missing girls officially labeled as runaways—runaways that didn’t really run away at all.

Because dead girls can’t run.

And they don’t say a word.

The summary of this book as it was presented on NetGalley, sounded really interesting and that was why I requested it.  Unfortunately, it in no way indicated that it was a sequel to a book that already existed.  If it had, I probably wouldn't have requested it, but I didn't know that so I did.  Then I was granted permission to read it, and I realized, rather quickly, that this was a sequel.  Normally, if I accidentally picked up a sequel, I would set it aside and not read it.  However, because this was a NetGalley book, I felt obligated to read it.  So I have to acknowledge that part of my low rating was because it was a sequel and then even then it's probably higher than I would have given it because I didn't want to be too harsh simply because I hadn't read the first book.  And the author does try to give enough information about the first book without completely rehashing the story, so I was able to piece together some stuff about the previous story because of that.

So, aside from the fact that I hadn't read the first book, this was definitely interesting.  The protagonist wasn't my favourite but she was definitely an interesting character.  Her thoughts and struggles felt realistic for someone in her position, and watching her deal with the aftermath of the trauma was definitely a fascinating part of this book.  Her interactions with her friends felt realistic and I felt for her in the dynamics of the town where most people seemed to hate her for what she had done.

The mystery was interesting.  It was like a smaller mystery that fit into a greater one that also connects to what happened to her father.  This particular mystery dealt with an under-aged prostitution ring featuring lower class, desperate girls from the town, but overarching it related to a big bad.  I felt that the story wrapped up the smaller mystery well but was disappointed it didn't come to a conclusion with the bigger mystery.  Additionally, I was sold on the father in jail aspect and how Kylene wanted to free him.  However, this book didn't really deal with that all that much.  It was mentioned and some progress was made, but I felt like it was supposed to have a bigger focus in the story and it didn't really.

The romance in this story was interesting, but ultimately I could have done without it.  It felt like padding or fluff that wasn't really necessary.  However, I can see some readers being way more invested in it, probably those who had read the first book.  Personally, I was team AJ, but I really could have skipped over it and the book probably would have been the same.

I think that's all I really want to say about this book.  I don't want to say don't read it, but I want to clarify that if you're interested you should really read the first book before this one.  That being said, if you're interested in the story (and you've read the first book) make sure to check it out when it comes out on September 17th.
Profile Image for Kathy Martin.
3,386 reviews73 followers
August 5, 2019
The second Hometown Antihero books begins a couple of days after the first ends. Kylene is visiting her friend Garrett in the hospital where he landed after being beaten nearly to death. Ky had lesser wounds since she was saved in the nick of time by a rookie FBI agent Cedric Dawson.

One part of Ky's mystery is solved. She now knows who took and posted nude photos of her on the internet. Unfortunately that doesn't clear her name in town because the villain was a star on the football team that has a chance to go to State. Somehow that he attempted to murder her and Garrett is more forgivable than her ruining the teams chances.

So Ky is back in high school with hostile teachers and students and without her best friend. Now that his name has been cleared, her former boyfriend AJ who is the football team's quarterback is hoping to rebuild his relationship with Ky. That causes a number of problems because, while Ky is willing to forgive, she isn't ready to forget the years that of suspicion. And she is also has a new, pretend boyfriend in the rookie FBI agent who is looking into a teen prostitution ring run out of Ky's school and also the disappearance of a number of marginalized teen girls.

Ky gets involved in these cases when one of the girls calls her for help and won't talk to anyone else. Dawson, under cover as Alex, doesn't want her to be involved in his new investigation. They are at odds already since he is convinced that her father murdered his mentor and Ky is certain he did not and willing to do anything to prove it.

Her investigation of her father's murder conviction slides a little to the back burner as she focuses on the prostitution ring and the missing girls. Almost anyone in the town could be running it including her own mentor in Muay Thai, the owner of the pizza joint, the owner of the ice cream parlor who served in Vietnam with her grandfather, or any of the teachers at her school.

Meanwhile, Ky is dealing with the trauma of almost being murdered twice in one evening which is showing up as night terrors and insomnia which just adds to her stress. Ky is very bright and resilient but the strains and stresses are starting to show in her behavior as her already quick temper gets even shorter.

This was an excellent, fast-paced thriller with well-developed characters. It is not the end of the series though. The mysterious and evil AD is still behind the scenes and pulling the strings that run the crime in her small town and who pulled the strings leading to her father's conviction for murder. Hopefully a third book will finally allow our heroes to find him and free Ky's father.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Thia  Mai leprochainchapitre_mai.
259 reviews3 followers
November 29, 2021
☆☆☆☆,5 /5
(english review below)

Alors que j’avais déjà beaucoup aimé le premier tome, j’ai aimé encore plus cette suite.
Tout en continuant de résoudre les mystères que nous avions vu dans le précédent tome, Ky, notre protagoniste, va faire face à de nouvelles enquêtes à résoudre. De nouvelles enquêtes trépidantes et presque terrifiantes car je ne pouvais m’empêcher de frissonner et d’appréhender la suite, tant le suspens était habilement maintenu. Enlèvements ? Disparitions ? Ky va se retrouver mêlée à de nombreux cas de disparitions de jeunes filles dans son village… et cela a été un réel bonheur pour moi de réfléchir, d’émettre mille et une hypothèses et de suivre les aventures de Ky encore une fois.
Je lis peu de romans avec des enquêtes et des mystères et pourtant, en lisant les textes de l’autrice, je me suis sentie stimulée. L’autrice m’a poussé à prendre du recul sur les situations, à essayer de les regarder avec une autre perception, à réfléchir et encore réfléchir tout le long du récit… pour finalement me fourvoyer quand venait le temps des révélations ahah.
Je suis impatiente de connaître le dernier tome de cette série et je suis très heureuse de savoir que l’autrice l’a auto-édité car la maison d’édition, ayant commencé à publier la série, n’a pas voulu continuer jusqu’à la fin.
Bah oui. Je ne vous l’avais pas dit ? Aujourd’hui est le jour de sortie pour le tome 3 !


While I had already liked the first book, I liked this sequel even more.
While continuing to solve the mysteries we saw in the previous book, Ky, our protagonist, will face new investigations to solve. New hectic and almost terrifying investigations because I couldn’t help but shiver and apprehend the story, so skilfully was the suspense maintained. Kidnappings? Disappearances? Ky will find herself embroiled in many cases of missing young girls in her village… And it has been a real pleasure for me to reflect, make a thousand and one hypotheses and follow Ky’s adventures once again.
I read few book with investigations and mysteries and yet, reading the author's texts, I felt energized. The author pushed me to take a step back from the situations, to try to look at them with a different perception, to think and think again throughout the story... to finally be wrong and surprised by the revelations ahah.
I can't wait to know the last book of this series and I am very happy to know that the author has self-published it because the publisher, having started to publish the series, did not want to continue until at the end.
Profile Image for Kidlitter.
706 reviews9 followers
August 16, 2019
A DRC was provided by Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and honest review.

More Hometown Antihero adventures of the compelling teen girl sleuth/vigilante, Kylene Danners. Kylene is preternaturally tough and sophisticated in the ways of the world, but loves her grandfather and her father fiercely and is a sucker for the underdog. Kylene has solved the mystery of who put topless photos of her on the Internet, but is still determined to free her FBI agent father from jail and outwit the criminal organization Advocatus Diaboli that seems determined to bring the Danners down. But Kylene again has another distracting mystery to solve, this time the ongoing disappearances of fellow small town girls without futures who have been lured into prostitution and then disposed of. Kylene has the help of her small band of Scooby pals (shout out to Tabitha, genius Canadian geek who reflects the differences between the US and Canada nicely, thanks to author Natusch's inside knowledge.) Together they fight misogyny and corruption in their town of Jasperville, and are opposed by the usual suspects of high school football players, their teachers and townie fans that Kylene can't help infuriating. Most of all she has her own smarts and determination and deep knowledge of the defense art Muy Thai to get her through sticky situations. Jasperville seems like a terrible place to live, frankly, and a little layering of societal strata would elevate the plot above the basic gritty thriller. There are several too many wizened male characters obsessed with Kylene, a real dearth of good female ones, and the obvious bad guys are easy to spot - cue unremitting violence against women of all ages, which seems depressingly true to life. No wonder Kylene is the most compelling person around, even if she does like put herself into peril on a regular basis. She's still as cranky and rebellious as ever, and apparently as charismatic too, as her ongoing love triangle with ex-boyfriend AJ and potential flame Agent Dawson is heating up. Good thing she turns eighteen in this one as Kylene's adventures are definitely headed to the next level.
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