EXCERPT: When we slide into the back seat, Nana turns to face us, and so does a younger woman behind the steering wheel. “Ellery, Ezra, this is Melanie Kilduff. Her family lives down the street from us. I have terrible night vision, so Melanie was kind enough to drive. She used to babysit your mother when she was young. You’ve probably heard the name.”
Ezra and I exchange wide-eyed glances. Yes. Yes, we have.
Sadie left echo Ridge when she was eighteen, and she’s only been back twice. The first time was the year before we were born, when our grandfather died from a heart attack. And the second time was five years ago, for Melanie’s teenage daughter’s funeral.
Ezra and I watched the Dateline special – Mystery at Murderland – at home while our neighbour stayed with us. I was transfixed by the story of Lacey Kilduff, the beautiful blond Homecoming Queen from our mother’s hometown, found strangled in a Halloween theme park. Airport Andy was right; the park’s owner changed its name from Murderland to Fright Farm a few months later. I’m not sure the case would have gotten as much national attention if the park hadn’t had such an on-the-nose name.
Or if Lacey hadn’t been the second pretty teenager from Echo Ridge – and from the exact same street, even – to make tragic headlines.
Sadie wouldn’t answer any of our questions when she got back from Lacey’s funeral. “I just want to forget about it,” she said whenever we asked. Which is what she’s been saying about Echo Ridge our entire lives.
Ironic, I guess, that we ended up here anyway.
ABOUT THIS BOOK: Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery’s never been there, but she’s heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows.
The town is picture-perfect, but it’s hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, someone’s declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing.
Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she’s in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous–and most people aren’t good at keeping them. Which is why in Echo Ridge, it’s safest to keep your secrets to yourself.
MY THOUGHTS: I really loved this author’s first book, One Of Us Is Lying. Two Can Keep a Secret, while good, didn’t resonate with me the way her previous book did.
I still like this author’s writing style, and although I had guessed fairly early on who the guilty party was, I don’t think that this was the problem. I think that this wasn’t as twisty as I had anticipated. And now I am going to stop comparing the two books, and judge this one on its merits alone.
The characters are mostly well rounded, if not always likeable. There was plenty of potential for really creepy moments that were missed, and I think that is where the story suffered most. Lack of suspense.
The story is told from two points of view – that of one of the twins, Ellery, and a friend she makes, Malcolm, the brother of the man suspected of killing Lacey.
I like that despite her penchant for hunting down a murderer, Ellery messes up with her viable theories. She does normal stupid teenage things, believing herself to be ten foot tall and indestructible, then finding out that she isn’t.
There are a lot of layers to this plot, many sub-stories, and all interweave to provide an interesting, but not dynamic, read. An extra half star for the ending…..read it right to the end. Don’t stop when the killer is identified and caught. You will miss out on what might very well be the best bit of the book.
THE AUTHOR: Karen M. McManus is the author of the New York Times and international bestselling young adult novels One of Us Is Lying and Two Can Keep a Secret. Her work has been translated into 40 languages worldwide. Karen lives in Massachusetts and holds a master’s degree in Journalism from Northeastern University, which she mostly uses to draft fake news stories for her novels.
DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen M. McManus, narrated by Sophie Amoss and Kirby Heyborne, published by Penguin Books Ltd. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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