Published by Farrar & Straus & Giroux on April 28, 2015
Genres: Mystery, YA
Source: ARC borrowed thru Around the World ARC Tours
A girl takes over her twin sister's identity in this emotionally charged page-turner about the complicated bond between sisters.
Ella and Maddy Lawton are identical twins. Ella has spent her high school years living in popular Maddy's shadows, but she has never been envious of Maddy. In fact, she's chosen the quiet, safe confines of her sketchbook over the constant battle for attention that has defined Maddy's world.
When—after a heated argument—Maddy and Ella get into a tragic accident that leaves her sister dead, Ella wakes up in the hospital surrounded by loved ones who believe she is Maddy. Feeling responsible for Maddy's death and everyone's grief, Ella makes a split-second decision to pretend to be Maddy. Soon, Ella realizes that Maddy's life was full of secrets. Caught in a web of lies, Ella is faced with two options—confess her deception or live her sister's life.
~ Because I’m a Gemini, I grew up thinking that I should have had a twin. I’ve learned to be grateful I don’t have a twin, but there are aspects of Maddy and Ella’s relationship when they were younger that was heartwarming. I can’t imagine being that close to a sibling. And I think it explains why Ella is so willing to pretend to be Maddy.
~ Like in life, there are so many what ifs in this book, what if Ella had said no to picking Maddy up at the party, what if Maddy and Ella had really spoken in the last year or two? What if Ella could take a step back and realize that she was as loved as Maddy?
~ There are some aspects to the mistaken identity that were a little far fetched (like that Ella gave Maddy her shoes and drove barefoot. I don’t think that most people drive barefoot unless it’s already something they regularly do), but the fact that Ella has been impersonating Maddy for so long makes it more realistic why it’s not discovered upon her waking.
~ Part of the reason that Ella takes over Maddy’s life is because of the guilt that she feels. For upsetting Jenna, for fighting in the car, and for the loss that she thinks will be worse on everyone if they knew it was Maddy that had died and not Ella. That last part made me so sad for Ella, but it’s understandable. Maddy was a bright light, and she was so popular, it’s easy for introverted Ella to think that somehow made Maddy more important to others.
~ I loved Josh and Ella, their friendship was so close and perfect (well, except for his stupid girlfriend). And I thought his reactions to the situation was note perfect, because Ella really didn’t consider what it would do to him to have her die and Maddy survive.
~ I do have to say that I found it strange that Ella wasn’t popular too- when I was growing up twins, especially attractive ones, were like Instant Popularity Powder. Even if one of the twins was more outgoing, it was better to collect the set in terms of friendship. So while I get that Josh was Ella’s only true friend, it was harder to buy that she wasn’t even on friendly terms with Maddy’s friends. Well, except Jenna. Jenna is no one’s idea of a bff.
~ At the heart of this book is the mystery of Maddy’s life. Of how much we can know someone and still never no anything. Watching Ella cope with her loss, with discovering things about Maddy that were at times wonderful and other times awful, made for a compelling read.
~ Throughout the book I was stressed for Ella, and her parents, for Josh and all of Maddy’s friends, because there’s just no way that there isn’t going to be a giant heartbreaking ball of sadness and grief coming everyone’s way.
~ The ending was what I wanted it to be, although certain ramifications were glossed over, but overall I really enjoyed this book and gobbled it up all in one day.
Ella- the quiet, artsy twin who takes over her dead twin’s identity out of guilt.
Maddy- the outgoing, popular twin who was hiding some deep secrets.
Josh- Ella’s best friend and secret crush. Also quiet and artsy.
Alex- Maddy’s rich, popular boyfriend. Cousin to Josh and neighbor to Jenna.
Jenna- Maddy’s frenemy bff. Maddy made excuses for her, but to Ella (and me) she just seems evil.
Kim- Josh’s on again/off again girlfriend.
Bailey- Ella’s dog. So adorable.
Molly- former friend and teammate of Maddy and Jenna’s.
When it begins to be clear that Josh at least suspects something is up with Ella/Maddy.
Stop the Clock:
This was a one day read for me, and while I had some plot problems, I couldn’t put the book down. I mean, physically I could have, my fingers weren’t literally glued to the pages, but I didn’t want to put it down. I find twins fascinating, but what really made this book for me was the relationship between Ella and Josh.
The Secrets We Keep gets a Midnight Book rating of: