Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: July 5th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Mystery
Rate: 4/5 stars
In the tradition of I Know What You Did Last Summer and How to Get Away with Murder, five teens must overcome their paranoia in order to keep their teacher’s death a secret in this fast-paced suspense thriller.
Nothing ruins summer vacation like a secret…especially when it involves a dead teacher.
Ivy used to be on top of the social ladder, until her ex made that all go away. She has a chance to be Queen Bee again, but only if the rest of the group can keep quiet.
Tyler has always been a bad boy, but lately he’s been running low on second chances. There’s no way he’s going to lose everything because someone couldn’t keep their mouth shut.
Kinley wouldn’t describe herself as perfect, though everyone else would. But perfection comes at a price, and there is nothing she wouldn’t do to keep her perfect record—one that doesn’t include murder charges.
Mattie is only in town for the summer. He wasn’t looking to make friends, and he definitely wasn’t looking to be involved in a murder. He’s also not looking to be riddled with guilt for the rest of his life…but to prevent that he’ll have to turn them all in.
Cade couldn’t care less about the body, or about the pact to keep the secret. The only way to be innocent is for someone else to be found guilty. Now he just has to decide who that someone will be.
With the police hot on the case, they don’t have much time to figure out how to trust each other. But in order to take the lead, you have to be first in line…and that’s the quickest way to get stabbed in the back.
I feel like I’m perpetually on the hunt for an awesome YA thriller. I’m always checking out new books and trying to find a great one that I can hold up and say “You have to read this book! NOW!” While Secrets, Lies, and Scandals wasn’t the most perfect thriller I’ve read, man, did I absolutely love this book. I couldn’t put it down. I started reading it and just kept reading and reading and wondering exactly what was going to happen at the end. While I thought the end was a little predictable, it didn’t ruin the book for me.
This review is a little tough to write, and it’s going to be kind of vague because I don’t want to give anything away. In my opinion, the best part about a thriller is the surprises, and I don’t want to ruin that experience for those who might want to read the book. There are quite a few of these surprises scattered throughout the book, and you’ll be pretty shocked as some of the secrets are revealed.
There are five main characters in the book – Kinley, Mattie, Ivy, Cade, and Tyler. At first, I had a difficult time really getting into each character (or remembering them) from chapter to chapter. Each chapter is told from one of the character’s points of view, and it goes around in a circle, giving them each a turn. If you don’t mind having that many points of view to go off of, it’s pretty easy to get hooked.
In the story, the characters I mentioned are all stuck attending a summer psychology course for college credits. However, the professor is a complete jerk, and it makes it difficult for any of them to enjoy the class in the slightest. So when something occurs that puts the characters in a difficult situation (think dead teacher incident), they need to work together (no matter how much they dislike one another) to keep it a secret so that they all don’t end up getting blamed for it.
As they work together to deal with it, obstacles begin to creep up – for example, what did Mattie’s boyfriend hear when he accidentally called him and had his phone on in his pocket on that night? And what secret is Kinley keeping?
The transitions from one character to another are done kind of well, although once or twice I did have trouble remembering which character I was reading and having to go back and check (then again, I find myself easily distracted by my kids being absolutely ridiculous so that could have been the issue – not taking a star off for this). I really did enjoy this book – it was really fast paced (it did kind of seem rushed at the end, which was a bummer) and it was really exciting to see how it played out. It seems like the ending was left sort of open, and I’m hoping that’s because the author plans on continuing the story, but it wasn’t really a cliffhanger, so there’s that.
This book kind of reminded me of the Pretty Little Liars series a little, to be honest…with all the secrets floating around and each character having their own dark issues to deal with that no one knows about…and I liked that it reminded me of that series without really trying to be that series. But it had all kinds of thrilling elements and secrets and characters with ulterior motives that made this book a delight to read. This book is quite notable on its own, and I would definitely read it again!
Note: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Amanda K. Morgan is a freelance writer living in Nashville, TN. She covers events and works as a technical writer when she isn’t working on her YA novels.
At age 15, Amanda finished her first novel and continued to write in college, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in English and an emphasis in Creative Writing.
Amanda is an avid volleyball player and spends time playing both indoors and out. When Amanda isn’t writing, she enjoys being entirely too busy and trying new things. Endeavors as of late include appearances in music videos, TV, and movies, rock climbing, and attending as many concerts and shows as her schedule allows.
Amanda headed up the Do The Write Thing for Nashville Project (with co-organizers/authors Victoria Schwab and Myra McEntire), which tapped some of the biggest authors, editors, and agents in the industry for an online auction that raised over $70,000 for Midsouth flood relief.
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