RAM Readers Spring 2020 discussion

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Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

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message 1: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (drld) | 24 comments Mod
Are can they?


message 2: by Yao (new)

Yao Chen | 49 comments • Two can keep a secret… if one is dead. It sounds so creepy. This book is also dual perspective but is different from Flipped. Ellery is the first perspective and Malcolm is the second one. He gives the perspective of a local. He knows something that Ellery does not know because she has not grown up in this town. Thus, their perspectives do not overlap. It is a mystery book, which is one of my favorite types of reading. I am a big fan of Detective Conan, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple. I just enjoy getting clues and guessing. There are just so many plot twists, so I never get right about the ending. However, I enjoy the process of thinking. The end hooks me in a way that I cannot explain.

• This book is set in Echo Ridge which is a very small town. Ellery and Ezra have to move there to live with their grandmother who they barely know. This town has some unsolved murder cases and is a very close-knit community. When people start to investigate, everyone seems to be connected to the murder, which makes the book full of mystery. Each person seems like hiding something and looks suspicious. I really enjoyed reading about the characteristic of this book. First of all, Ellery is so amazing. Through the book she is always trying to figure out what is going on. She is so smart and has a sharp mind and attitude of being an investigator.

• Secondly, Ellery and Ezra are twins. We can see the positive sibling relationship upon reading. They are always supportive of one another. It is not usual to see in a book when the characters are in their teen age. I like the way they are talking and behaving. I have a brother who is two years younger than me. I remember our relationship was tense when he was in the middle school. He rather spent time with her friends than talking to me. Several years later, I started to climb into his skin and walk around in it. Then, we get along very well with each other.

• Thirdly, we can also see some gay characters in this book (Ezra and Mia). The author also provides some really great LGBTQ plus representations. Another point I see is stereotypical high school life: the popular cheerleaders and the less popular band kids. It also makes me want to read the other book One of Us Is Lying by the same author.

• Lastly, as a murder mystery novel, it also covers the relationship among family members and friends which makes the story have more layers. I feel moved by some small details through reading as well. In conclusion, this is a fast-paced book, so you can read this in one sitting because you will want to know who is doing these things and what happened in the past. It is very entertaining I will say. I wish I had much more time in reading.


message 3: by Lourdes (new)

Lourdes A. | 49 comments Mysterious crime stories are not one of my favorite subjects, so I did not like this novel very much; however, I think teenagers do. In general, they like mysteries, and this kind of literature promotes a feeling of curiosity, expectation about what will happen next, and also an excellent hook to motivate them to read. I recommend this novel for adolescents.
The part that I found interesting was about Ellery´s obsession with mysterious crimes, but I got a little confused with other characters. I had to reread some pages to understand who they were and their role in the novel.
The Two Can Keep a Secret is narrated in alternate chapters by Ellery and Malcolm, two high school teenagers. Ellery and her twin brother Ezra arrive in Echo Ridge to live with their grandmother after their mother Sadie, is sent to a rehab clinic. Neither Ellery nor Ezra has never been to their hometown before. The twins are obsessed with murder mysteries, especially the one related to their mother's twin sister Sarah, who disappeared as a teenager and was never found. Ellery believes that the person who took Sarah may still be there. Other crimes occur after this incident, such as the murder of a teenager named Lacey in an amusement park outside the city; a teacher was hit by a car and died shortly right after Ellery and Ezra arrival in the town, and then another girl disappeared (Brook), and found dead in the woods. The story ends with Peter (Sadie´s ex-boyfriend) confessing to Ellery that he killed Sarah because he thought she was Sadie, and Ellery decided to keep this secret. I believe that “Two Can Keep a Secret” refers to Peter and Ellery.


message 4: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Thomas | 46 comments Wow! Was this a starkly different novel from the last 3 we've read, or what! Two Can Keep a Secret was a very easy read, so I was able to finish it pretty quickly; I credit the ease-of-reading to the fact that it was conversational dialogue, and it had a simple intrigue. The entire novel reminded me of any modern-day teenage drama you would find on the CW channel, or on Netflix. I will say, as an adult, I did grow tired of some of the teenage and mystery-genre cliches: small town, deaths at a homecoming/prom, everyone is a suspect, etc. But, I can see how this book would reach its targeted audience: the teenager. The characters are very relatable, the dialogue is full of modern slang, LGBTQ themes, the popular vs. unpopular battle. This novel has all the elements to keep a teenager intrigued. Even the title is interesting. Even though it is a very simple mystery (no courtroom drama), I think this would be a fun book to provoke students to use their problem-solving, analytical skills. I don't think I would use this in the classroom; I see this as more of a summer read, to get our students' minds ready to learn in a fun way.


message 5: by Lourdes (new)

Lourdes A. | 49 comments Yao wrote: "First of all, Ellery is so amazing. Through the book she is always trying to figure out what is going on. She is so smart and has a sharp mind and attitude of being an investigator."

Hi Yao,
I agree with you that Ellery´s characteristics are fantastic. Her sense of wonder and the way she analyses and compares the facts to find out the guilty of the crimes. I like the way the author describes Ellery.



message 6: by Bruna (new)

Bruna Alcaraz | 41 comments Two can keep a secret ... if one is dead!
This book reminded me of my teenager's age! When my literature teacher asked us to read the books written by Agatha Christie: romance, mistery, murder and fiction.
This book was written under the perspective of two protagonists which makes me feel so interested in each chapter. After Flipped, this is the book that I read that two narrators tell the same story with alternating perspectives Ellery and Malcolm.
The book indicates to students 13-17 years old because of the contemporary language and some of the situations match to teenagers' issues.
The author uses contemporary language to express feelings and situations. Also, in the book, we can see the use of actual elements to call attention to the readers. They mention Instagram which is a common social media used by teenagers nowadays. Modern music as The smith. The similarity with the teenagers' life in each chapter kept the reader's attention. Also, families issues that they can't talk to everyone in the school.
The mysteries of the crimes bringing a lot of details that the students can look around, and they can see themselves in the moment that is described by the narrator.
Homecoming, Prom, family issues, drugs, LGBT are topics that are in the teenager's life. Each chapter I was sure about the murdered but the author's imagination always betrayed me.

Observation: Ellery and Ezra are twins, and her mom and auntie (which was murdered too) are twins, genetically this can't happen. The gene of twins always skips one generation. I know for the book purpose this information doesn't matter, but every book brings us new information and makes us reflect on our lives. It is important for the teacher to read the book before the students also will be easy to guide the discussion in the classroom.

It was my second AUDIOBOOK, my first experience was "terrible" but now was very good. I am not good with technologies but I couldn't find the hard copy of the book, I decided to rent an audiobook. Every time that I went to the library to look for a book, I enjoyed the librarian conversations about the books and the Authors. The librarian told me, a lot of students that read the book Two can keep a secret and came back and get the book One of us is lying not because the teacher is asking but because they enjoyed the reading.


message 7: by Bruna (new)

Bruna Alcaraz | 41 comments Lourdes wrote: "Mysterious crime stories are not one of my favorite subjects, so I did not like this novel very much; however, I think teenagers do. In general, they like mysteries, and this kind of literature pro..."

Hi Lourdes.
As an ESL student, I also have the same problem to understand some situations in the book, and what they want us to know about the reading. Last semester we had to read another's novels, and one librarian told me some novels have a special edition for beginners readers. Unfortunately, the books that Dr. Dryden asked to read don't have these "special edition". It is a good TIP when we will start reading with our ESL students look for a book with those "special edition". Also, read the information about the book and the author on the internet before starting to read the novel is bringing me more knowledge of the book and the context of the plot.


message 8: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Thomas | 46 comments Yao wrote: "• Two can keep a secret… if one is dead. It sounds so creepy. This book is also dual perspective but is different from Flipped. Ellery is the first perspective and Malcolm is the second one. He giv..."

Yao: You bring up a great point that I completely overlooked: Ellery provides the 'outsiders' viewpoint, and Malcolm provides the 'locals' viewpoint. While I was reading, I didn't understand why the author chose just Ellery and Malcolm to narrate the chapters; there were other interesting, and rich characters. It never occurred to me that one represented the outsider's unique take on events, and the local's unique take on events. This is important because we (the readers) gained a little bit of new knowledge from each perspective. Good catch!


message 9: by Jackie (new)

Jackie Olalde | 44 comments Two Can Keep a Secret

This book was one of my favorite ones that we have read so far. I enjoyed these types of books, so I was excited to see a crime book on the reading list. I think that it was an excellent book for teenagers that are into this genre of books. It is definitely an easy read for most people. The story is fast-paced, and I believe it will keep the reader entertained. The language and the mention of social media/slang will allow young adults to relate to the story. I think that it would be a perfect book to rekindle a teenager's interest in reading books if the flame has died down.

The structure of the book is unusual. I loved that the point of view of the chapters alternated between Ellery and Malcolm just like Flipped did. The plot of the story has an older unsolved crime, along with a newer one with an unexpected turn. The themes that are included are certain topics that teenagers deal with and would relate too.


message 10: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Thomas | 46 comments Lourdes wrote: "Mysterious crime stories are not one of my favorite subjects, so I did not like this novel very much; however, I think teenagers do. In general, they like mysteries, and this kind of literature pro..."

Lourdes: I like your take, at the end, that you believe the title refers to Peter and Ellery. It makes sense: Peter held fast to a secret about Sadie, and Ellery (who learned about that secret) decided to keep it from everyone else. I think Peter's revelation about truly intending to murder Sadie was a huge plot twist saved for the conclusion. It was like the author gave us one last 'secret' to chew on. I will say that the title, Two Can Keep a Secret, pretty much applies to the majority of the characters, as it seems like almost every person in Echo Ridge was keeping some kind of secret, which made it very difficult to solve the mystery. As I mentioned in my post, all the secrets did get a little tiresome, but I imagine that a teenager would have fun trying to guess who was behind everything. Not my literary genre of choice, but it was a light read.


message 11: by Jackie (new)

Jackie Olalde | 44 comments Lourdes wrote: "Mysterious crime stories are not one of my favorite subjects, so I did not like this novel very much; however, I think teenagers do. In general, they like mysteries, and this kind of literature pro..."

Hi Lou,

I have to agree with you that there were times when I had to go back and reread a section just to try and keep the characters straight, especially at the beginning. Ellery´s obsession with mysterious crimes is a popular thing with teenagers now. There are many that are interested in that.


message 12: by Yao (new)

Yao Chen | 49 comments Natalie wrote: "Wow! Was this a starkly different novel from the last 3 we've read, or what! Two Can Keep a Secret was a very easy read, so I was able to finish it pretty quickly; I credit the ease-of-reading to t..."

Hi Natalie,

I totally agree with you. This book is really different from the books we have read. I'm sure it will intrigue teenagers' interests to read. You really got a literature teacher's way of thinking. If you ask me, probably I will recommend students reading in their free time instead of analyzing during the class time too. Good thoughts!

Yao Chen


message 13: by Jackie (new)

Jackie Olalde | 44 comments Yao wrote: "• Two can keep a secret… if one is dead. It sounds so creepy. This book is also dual perspective but is different from Flipped. Ellery is the first perspective and Malcolm is the second one. He giv..."

Hi Yao,

There are many topics that the author includes that are very relevant to teenagers in today's world. The way that the author mentions them seem organic to and fit into the story, There are times where I see authors try to include topics like the LGBTQ+ community and the family relationships, but it seems forced and unnatural.


message 14: by Yao (new)

Yao Chen | 49 comments Lourdes wrote: "Mysterious crime stories are not one of my favorite subjects, so I did not like this novel very much; however, I think teenagers do. In general, they like mysteries, and this kind of literature pro..."

Hi Lou,

It is a pity that you do not really enjoy reading mysteries. We see some similar points of view towards the character Ellery. You made a very good summary of this book. I know I got confused several times when I was reading. You must put a lot of effort and time. Well down!

Yao Chen


message 15: by ThaoTam (new)

ThaoTam  Nguyen  | 46 comments It is very difficult for me to find this novel in West library and the public library, either audio version, finally I read it online. I didn’t like it much! Because I don’t like mystery and thriller novel. But adolescents will like it because:
1. It was published in 2019, it was updated the students lifestyle. They feel that this novel is not too old for them!
2. The main character is Ellery- a student and teenagers like mystery, detective. Teenagers are interested in murder and disappearance of high school students. While reading the novel, they are keeping ask questions and the attractive force of the novel can keep teenagers go chapter to chapter, from factor to factor, from guessing this person to another person.
In my opinion, this novel is not good for all teenagers, the best age to read it from 16 to 19.


message 16: by Lourdes (new)

Lourdes A. | 49 comments Natalie wrote: "Wow! Was this a starkly different novel from the last 3 we've read, or what! Two Can Keep a Secret was a very easy read, so I was able to finish it pretty quickly; I credit the ease-of-reading to t..."

Hey Natalie

I completely agree with you that teenagers will easily connect with this novel because of its modern slangs, popular themes, and easy reading. I observed that my friend´s daughter, who is 16 loves mysterious stories like that, and where she goes, she always carries her book along.


message 17: by Diana (new)

Diana | 31 comments I believe the title is talking about Ellery and Peter as the two can keep a secret and the secret being the truth about Sarah. Peter accidentally killed the wrong twin over a bad break up. Then he managed to kill two more teen girls because they overstepped their boundaries and he was about to kill two more teens before he was caught by Officer Rodriguez. So for sure, Peter could keep a secret, he has done it for years. Ellery, on the other hand, has nothing to gain from telling the truth. Telling the truth will just conclude what her mother already knew. If she had stayed with her that night, Sarah will still be alive. Not knowing what happened to Sarah killed Ellery's mother's spirit but knowing what happened to Sarah may just kill Ellery's mother.


message 18: by Diana (new)

Diana | 31 comments ThaoTam wrote: "It is very difficult for me to find this novel in West library and the public library, either audio version, finally I read it online. I didn’t like it much! Because I don’t like mystery and thrill..."
I had a hard time finding this book as well finally, I had to settle for the audio version. I felt that the author was trying too hard to please every teen scenario; dramatic, family issues, love triangles, LGBTQ community, forbidden love, high school cliques, plus murder. But once I got passed the overdone introduction the book was pretty good, however, that twisted end was great! Disgusting and creepy but the twisted made sentence in its weird psychotic way.


message 19: by Diana (new)

Diana | 31 comments Lourdes wrote: "Mysterious crime stories are not one of my favorite subjects, so I did not like this novel very much; however, I think teenagers do. In general, they like mysteries, and this kind of literature pro..."

I totally agree with you!!! I think the title is talking about Peter and Ellery. I believe no one will gain any peace from knowing the truth about Sarah.


message 20: by Bruna (new)

Bruna Alcaraz | 41 comments ThaoTam wrote: "It is very difficult for me to find this novel in West library and the public library, either audio version, finally I read it online. I didn’t like it much! Because I don’t like mystery and thrill..."

Hi Tao
I agree with you when you said the teenager will like the book because is an actual scenario and language that can keep them concentrate.


message 21: by ThaoTam (new)

ThaoTam  Nguyen  | 46 comments Jackie wrote: "Two Can Keep a Secret

This book was one of my favorite ones that we have read so far. I enjoyed these types of books, so I was excited to see a crime book on the reading list. I think that it was..."


Hi Jackie!
I have the same idea with you! this book is perfect for teenagers, readers follow chapter by chapter and they can't stop. And this is an easy book toread so this is a good recommendation for person who start to practice reading skill.


message 22: by ThaoTam (new)

ThaoTam  Nguyen  | 46 comments Bruna wrote: "Two can keep a secret ... if one is dead!
This book reminded me of my teenager's age! When my literature teacher asked us to read the books written by Agatha Christie: romance, mistery, murder and ..."


Hi Bruna!
I like your idea" It is important for the teacher to read the book before the students also will be easy to guide the discussion in the classroom." And this book is really interested in discussing in class, they can guess and give their opinion by themselves and teachers let thier students read this book with their passion and curious


message 23: by Jackie (new)

Jackie Olalde | 44 comments Hi Bruno,

I have to agree that the author includes contemporary language throughout the novel, like the teenagers reading the story, would find exciting or relatable. The topics are the book are things that teens would know about, and including them will keep teenagers engaged. That, along with the mystery, keeps the reader captivated. I think it is neat that you are trying out audiobooks. I'm glad to hear that you had a better experience this time around.


message 24: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (drld) | 24 comments Mod
Believe it or not, this is a very popular book with adolescents! For all the reasons you all have mentioned above! :)


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