The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver is a heart wrenching novel about the ease of losing yourself in the midst of crushing grief.
Identical twin sisters Ella and Maddy Lawton could not be any more different. Quiet, reserved, artistic Ella just doesn’t understand the draw Maddy has to a wild social life, and is content to be the introvert of the pair. Ella claims that she will never be as overly dramatic and involved as her sister, until the night the girls get into a horrible car accident and Maddy is tragically killed.
When Ella wakes up in the hospital, everyone, including her parents, believes that she is Maddy. Because she feels enormous guilt for playing a part in the death of her sister, Ella internally swears to take on the life that Maddy never got to live, justifying her decision by the amount of sadness she will be saving the long list people who cared for Maddy versus her own small group of friends.
Ella soon assumes every aspect of Maddy’s life: her clothes, her friends, and her social calendar. She even goes so far as to attend a funeral dedicated to herself. The book follows Ella’s grief, regret, and self-doubt as she struggles to keep her survival hidden from everyone in order to give up her life so that her sister may live through her.
I found The Secrets We Keep to be both incredibly sad and uplifting. While the driving factor behind the story was rather depressing, the most of the novel focused on overcoming hardships in order to find yourself. I cried several times while reading this book, but also found lovely passages that made my giddy heart swell. Leaver is brilliant at weaving her reader’s emotions into a chaotic and yet beautiful harmony in which the good perfectly balances out the bad.
I recommend The Secrets We Keep to those fans of John Green and Jennifer Niven. You will not be disappointed in this hauntingly inspirational read.
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