C.G. Drews's Reviews > Two Can Keep a Secret

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus
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really liked it
bookshelves: contemporary, read-2019, thriller-crime, young-adult

Ok so this was EXCELLENT and exactly what I want a thriller to be! Usually I'm tentative about thrillers and One of Us Is Lying, while I admire it for being super-famous, it didn't click so much for me. However this one?! Miiiiine. It had the small town vibes, an autumn-y Halloween aesthetic, siblings dynamics, took time to develop the characters, and it had muuuuurder. Obviously. It is literally a murder mystery. But someone must be Captain McObvious here and I volunteer.


➸ I really cared about the characters!
That's what I want out of a book, ok!? Make me CARE. (Which is hard with my stone cold little rock of a heart.) But the book balanced developing the twisty murder mystery AND developing both the narrators (Ellery and Malcolm) into dimensional and complex humans who need a hug several times during the course of the book. Or two hugs, in Malcolm's case. Kid had it rough.

Ellery: So she just moved to Echo Ridge (while her mum is in rehab) and she and her twin brother, Ezra, are staying with their estranged grandma. Ellery has a bushel of curly hair, possibly Latinx complexion (unsure of her dad), and a deep love of murder mysteries. Her brother is the chill sweetheart who frequently has to say things like: "NO MURDER BEFORE BREAKFAST ELLERY." And I loved them so much. (I wish Ezra had been more developed though. He's queer, but he's just a sliver of the storyline so.)
Malcolm: Ok so his older brother is the aggressive angry jock dude, who was heavily suspected in his girlfriend's murder several years ago. Never arrested though. But Malcolm lives in that shadow, despite his mum having remarried this rich flashy lawyer and now Malcolm's actual step-sister is like the QUEEN BEE of highschool. But anyway. Malcolm is a little nerdy and dorky and Soft™. I absolutely adore how his relationship with Ellery was really slowburn, despite the shortness of the book.

I lowkey suspected him of murder at one point but like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I SUSPECTED EVERYONE. SUREFIRE WAY TO BE RIGHT AT THE END.

➸ The plot had me super invested.
I think because I cared about the characters so easily? But I wanted to know if these string of missing-girls was connected. It reminded me of Sadie a bit, when they called out how missing girls need to be taken seriously, not just called a statistic. It's twisty and there's lots of theories with Ellery playing detective (but she's not obnoxious about it). I called one of the twists about her mother's past! I'M PRACTICALLY SHERLOCK. Nevermind that I was lmao so wrong about the murderer. Anyway.

I do confess the amount of characters had me afloat down a river with just a paddle-pop stick to cling to.
There were so. many. names. I forget my own name frequently and have been known to collectively refer to my nephews as Frank because *waves vaguely* too many. help me. Occasionally they'd throw in a name and I'd be like: WHO. But otherwise, I did ok! I think! Especially when everyone had like super common names (LIZ, SARAH, MIA, DAISY, BROOKE, OH GOD).

➸ It was really satisfying.
I just enjoyed myself ok?! I had a thoroughly good time reading this and ok ok it wasn't the wildest mystery every. My heart didn't bust out of my chest. But it felt like a sinister contemporary, full of autumn leaves and family secrets, with a background of murderrrr. Perfect for me.
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Reading Progress

January 21, 2019 – Started Reading
January 21, 2019 – Shelved
January 22, 2019 –
page 120
36.7% "I wasn't a huge fan of the author's first book, but this... 👀 this is super good and I like the characters and I'M INTRIGUED."
January 22, 2019 –
page 220
67.28% "Me: [assumes literally everyone is the murderer]
Book: [reveals all at the end]
January 22, 2019 – Shelved as: contemporary
January 22, 2019 – Shelved as: read-2019
January 22, 2019 – Shelved as: thriller-crime
January 22, 2019 – Shelved as: young-adult
January 22, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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Brianna Brickey Agreed. I completely loved this book!

C.G. Drews I'm glad you did too!!

message 3: by Cal (new) - rated it 3 stars

Cal (Cal's Reading Corner) This was way way way better than her first book. The characters were far more likeable in this.

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