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!