Hello everyone! Last week I posted an interview between Goodreads and Karen M. McManus and nw it’s time for my review of her latest book, Two Can Keep a Secret.
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.
I really liked this book, but if I’m being honest I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. I really want to give this a re-read because I think I missed a lot throughout the book by reading it a few chapters at a time.
I absolutely love One of Us is Lying and had been dying to read McManus’s latest. I love the concept of a historically hinky small town and the secrets it hides. The fact that teen girls tend to go missing around homecoming is interesting in itself, but when you actually get into the book there are so many different layers of mystery and subplot that make the book more realistic and interesting.
However, I find that some of the sub-mysteries distract too much from the main mystery. When I got to the end and we learned whodunnit, I didn’t even suspect that character and felt slightly cheated that I wasn’t able to solve the mystery alongside Ellery. The main reason I want to re-read the book is to see if I can find any hints throughout the book pointing toward that character. The thing I loved about One of Us is Lying was the plot development and the guessing of whodunnit. I feel like with her latest book I wasn’t able to have that many real guesses, so it was less enjoyable in that respect.
Despite this, I still think the book deserves at least 3.5 out of 5 stars. The characters were well-written, the mystery was very interesting and had a long story, and the setting really drew me in. I liked Ellery and Malcolm’s characters, though I think their relationship with each other could have been teased out more. Overall, I think the major drawback of the book is that it is slower-paced than her debut and the mystery and characters fell a bit short of my expectations.
One thing I loved was Ellery’s true crime addiction. I can relate to this: I love Forensic Files and learning more about serial killers, kidnapping, etc. (sounds messed up, I know). Take this quote from Ellery:
“I should probably preface this by saying…I think about crime a lot. Like, an abnormal amount. I get that. It’s sort of a problem. So you have to take what I say with a grain of salt, because I’m just this…naturally suspicious person, I guess.”
This sentence alone shows that Ellery is curious, funny/sarcastic, and interesting. She has a sort of dry sense of humor and her mind naturally goes to the darker side of things.
I would still recommend this book if you like YA thrillers/mysteries, but I definitely prefer McManus’s first novel more. While Two Can Keep a Secret is a good book, One of Us is Lying is a great book, so make sure to check it out!