Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Leaver, Trisha. The Secrets We Keep.

Leaver, Trisha.  The Secrets We Keep.  Macmillan(Farrar Strauss/Feiwel&Friends/First Second/Henry Holt/Roaring Brook/Square Fish)  2014 294p.  $17.99  ISBN 978-0-374-30046-3  ms/hs  Conflict  VG-BN    

Although they are identical twins on the outside, Ella and Maddy are very different on the inside.  Ella, the smart, quiet, artistic twin, always feels that people like Maddy better because Maddy is athletic, outgoing, and one of the popular kids in the crowd.  When Ella receives a phone call from Maddy in the wee hours of the morning, she goes to retrieve Maddy from a raging party.  On the way home, with Ella driving Maddy’s car, they get into a horrific accident, and Maddy dies.  But evidence seems to point to Ella being the one who died, because the dead girl is wearing Ella’s coat and shoes and was the passenger in Maddy’s car.  As Ella recovers from her own serious injuries, she assumes Maddy’s persona and struggles to become someone she is not. Complications arise when Ella discovers that Maddy had a damning secret that makes passing herself off as Maddy even harder.  This is a book that deals with the grief process, feelings of inadequacy, and how to right a wrong, and it maintains a somber, almost tortured mood throughout, until the last chapters in which Ella comes forward and admits her deception.  The ending wraps up a little bit too hastily, but readers will be happy that Ella is now on the path to becoming confident of her own identity and is surrounded by the love of her parents and the potential boyfriend who has always believed in her.      

Summary: Twin girls are in an automobile accident.  The surviving twin takes on her sister’s identity in an attempt to please everyone around her except her best friend.  Lies, secrets, and self-worth are at the heart of this novel of grief and identity. Gr. 7-12.      

Twins-Fiction                                                     --Lois McNicol

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