Title: Two Can Keep A Secret
Author: Karen M. McManus
Source: ARC (Gifted by Penguin)
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.
Doesn’t this book make you think of the Pretty Little Liars theme song?
Two Can Keep A Secret is the second book by Karen M. McManus’ following her hugely successful debut novel, One of Us is Lying. I love a good murder and seeing as this one was coming out in January, I knew I had to read it. It’s relatively short being just over 300 pages so I knew it would be quite a quick read. I started it on the 24th January and finished it just after midnight on the 27th January. I probably would’ve read it faster had I not had work in between reading.
Going into this book, I wasn’t sure how I would find it. When I read One of Us is Lying, I found myself just wanting to skip straight forward and find out who the killer was, which is exactly what I ended up doing. I was determined not to do that with this book as I wanted the satisfaction of being right or the feeling after being bested by a murder mystery book.
The plot of Two Can Keep A Secret is a easy to follow, which I think helps it read quite quickly. Like One of Us is Lying, it was told from different points of view, but unlike OOUIL, we only had the story from two different perspectives. One of the perspectives is from Ellery. The story starts with Ellery and her twin brother, Ezra, moving to Echo Ridge after their mother was admitted to rehab. Almost as soon as the book starts, things start happening in Echo Ridge.
Ellery is one of the main characters in this book and one of the PoVs. I liked her character and she was quite inquisitive, particularly when it came to true crime as a result of what happened to her Aunt. I enjoyed it when both Ellery and Ezra were on the page and I enjoyed seeing their relationship. The other main character, Malcolm, was closed off at the beginning of this book, but I felt like his character came out of its shell over the course of the book. I enjoy books where the characters really do develop.
Two Can Keep A Secret wasn’t full of murder like I was actually expecting, but it was still a solid YA thriller, which I feel is a genre in YA that needs expanding on. I feel like Karen M. McManus does a good job of giving us several leads to make us suspect certain characters as that then has you questioning them every time they do something suspicious. Ultimately, I did get the suspect wrong, but I was ok with that. I prefer murder mysteries to surprise me with who did it rather than my guess being right.
I was a little disappointed partly because I was expecting a little more from the disappearance but also because I felt like some things within the book were just touched on, such as the previous crimes and what happened to the twins Aunt. I expected a lot more sleuthing from Ellery due to how invested she was in crime novels but it wasn’t quite up to Nancy Drew’s level.
I am definitely hovering between 3.5 and 4 stars with this one, I just can’t decide. When I finished it, I gave it 4 stars but I immediately contemplated whether it should actually be a 3.5 star read. Did I enjoy it? Yes. But did I love it? Not quite. I liked the book and it was such a quick read, plus I enjoyed it more than One Of Us Is Lying but I just can’t decide what to rate it at! I think perhaps 3.75 is the most appropriate rating for this book so it’s just in between.