I bought this book for my Kindle ages ago. Ages and ages. I finally got around to reading it.
I don’t really go through my Kindle that often, except when I swear I can’t find anything to read among my six billion physical books. This time, I think I decided to read this one as I waited at one of my doctor’s appointments and needed a book to read, and I didn’t have one with me, so I used the Kindle app on my phone. I wanted something light and fun, a contemporary that would make me smile and feel all kinds of feelings.
So I picked Keeping You a Secret. I thought it would be a great contemporary with a sweet f/f relationship. Luckily, it really did have a cute relationship, so I was on board with that. There are just a lot of other things about this book that I wasn’t really feeling, though.
“Cut the ending. Revise the script. The man of her dreams is a girl.”
Holland Jaeger is not only student council president, she also has friends and an amazing boyfriend whom she loves, and who loves her. To everyone else, her life is perfect. To Holland? Not so much.
Holland isn’t sure what school she wants to go to. She isn’t sure what she wants to do with her boyfriend. She just isn’t sure.
And then she meets Cece. Cece comes to her school and takes Holland by surprise, watching her at her locker, and making Holland feel…unsure. While being unsure isn’t exactly something new to Holland, she’s questioning her sexuality now.
Since Holland knows what happens to girls and guys who come out – they get tormented – she isn’t sure she wants anyone to know about the feelings she’s developing. Cece, on the other hand, does everything she can to protect Holland from the scrutiny that she faces by trying to keep her at a distance in public – as though they are only friends.
“Yet, when we talked, when we were together, she seemed so familiar. Seemed to know who I was, where I was coming from. She knew me better than I knew myself, I think. She was easy to be with. And I wanted to be with her, like all the time.”
But Holland and Cece both want more than friendship. And Holland is falling fast.
“They got it wrong when they called it ‘the closet.’ This was a prison. Solitary confinement. I was locked inside myself, dark and afraid and alone.“
When the truth does come out, Holland’s former friends are the least of her worries. Holland’s mother, who constantly tells her about her own poor choices as a teenager (i.e. getting pregnant with Holland and actually keeping the baby), doesn’t like the idea of Holland being with Cece. She liked Holland’s ex just fine, but that’s because he was a guy. Holland’s mom loses her mind when she finds out that she is actually dating Cece, and Holland feels more lost and alone than ever.
“‘It’s about getting past that question of what’s wrong with me, to knowing there’s nothing wrong, that you were born this way. You’re a normal person and a beautiful person and you should be proud of who you are. You deserve to live and live with dignity and show people your pride.'”
But Cece helps her stay on track. She helps Holland get back to herself, remember who she is, and helps her learn that she is perfect just the way she is. She encourages Holland to embrace who she is, even if those around her don’t agree, don’t understand.
Keeping You a Secret was a good story. It was sweet, and it dealt with a lot of issues, such as questioning sexuality, coming out, and dealing with how parents react. It also deals with topics such as homelessness and the loss of friends, as well as depression. I loved the relationship between the two girls.
I honestly don’t remember the name of Holland’s boyfriend, well ex-boyfriend, I guess, because he didn’t stand out. He just felt like a cookie-cutter boyfriend/ex boyfriend who is angry.
I also despised Holland’s mother from the first moment I came across her in this book. Who tells their child that they regret having them?! And then, not to mention how she treats her when she finds out that she is dating a girl…what was that? It truly sickens me that there are many parents out there who actually act this way towards their children when they come out. I came out as bisexual when I was fifteen – to my friends, and to my mom a year later. Now, it isn’t something that I hide. It often comes up in conversation with my own daughters when they hear someone say a word, or when I explain to them what LGBTQ+ stands for. Like I said, I never dealt with any kind of backlash about my sexuality, and I would never be the kind of mother who would do that with her kids, either. So it just astounds me that some parents do this.
Anyway, back on track. I’m done ranting now.
While I did enjoy this book, I guess it felt kind of…short? in some areas. I wanted more – especially at the end. I wanted to see what happened next, and I felt like it ended at kind of an awkward place.
While I liked this, I can’t say that it really satisfied my “I need a sweet and cute romance with no heavy stuff” kind of book, because of all the negativity and…well…heavy stuff. It definitely did have a lovely romance going on with Holland and Cece, but the name calling, shaming, and horrible parenting thing just made it feel less like what I was hoping for. The worst part is is that I didn’t feel like it was handled like it should have been. I think the author could have written some situations better than others to make the story more believable and easier to follow.