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The Secrets We Kept Paperback – October 22, 2015
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About the Author
Lily Velez has been writing stories since she was six years old. Not much has changed since then. She still prefers the written word and her overactive imagination over the ‘real world’ (though to be fair, her stories no longer feature talking dinosaurs). A graduate of Rollins College and a Florida native, when she's not reading or writing, she spends most of her days wrangling up her pit bulls Noah and Luna, planning exciting travel adventures, and nursing her addiction to cheese. All this when she isn’t participating in the extreme sport known as napping. You can learn more about Lily and her books at www.lilyvelezbooks.com.
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Top Customer Reviews
Ok, so let's start off with the good. I really liked the idea behind The Secrets We Kept. The fact that the story was focused on foster kids and their relationships was unique. As was how they cope with being separated or adopted out of the system. There were also several good life lessons to be learned throughout the book's duration and a heavy discussion about a topic that I won't spoil by talking about. That being said, the negatives started to outweigh the positives.
From early on it becomes obvious that Sully is obsessed with Cadence. I really feel like it was an unhealthy obsession. He literally could not have a conversation with his brother or friend without bringing Cadence up. Even after they were broke up, it may have even been worse at that time. Cadence wasn't as bad as Sully but that was because her story required her to separate herself from Sully, she didn't give herself any other choice. Though she did suffer from depression shortly after moving away from him and who's to say if that would have resolved itself had it not been for something that happened which caused her to lose herself even more.
The last thing that I had a major issue is something I wasn't sure that I would bring up in my review, because it has to do with the formatting. I usually don't touch on that type of stuff when reviewing ARCs just because there is still a process that they go through before becoming a finished product. But just in case it remains, I wanted to make not that it was really confusing how the author would have the characters flash back and forth between the present and past. Rather than having it separated by chapters the flashbacks would occur throughtout, which I've seen done and it can work fine, but there was no clear break or change in font to indicate that we had gone into a flashback. Overall it was very confusing and often made me lose my concentration.
And if it hadn't been for my feeling of obligation to finish the book, I probably would not have.
I can't decide if this book was intended as a cautionary tale or a justification. Either way, I didn't much care for it. The first line was great, but things went downhill from there. Overall, I found the story somewhat monotonous and predictable. The "secrets" Sully and Cadence kept weren't difficult to discern.
Sully was a genuinely good guy, and I liked him. He frequently put the well being of those he cared about before his own, though his good intentions paved the wrong road a few times. Still, he tried to correct his mistakes.
On the other hand, I didn't particularly like Cadence and am not really sure what Sully saw in her. Her personally was somewhat bland; other than that, I found her selfish. Sure, excuses were provided for her, but that's really all the were: excuses.
Spencer was probably one of the most well written characters. I enjoyed his protectiveness
Novah and Haley were really just there to be sounding boards for Cadence. I guess Novah also acted as a go-between. But that's really all they did. Haley had potential, considering how he ended up in foster care; however, after his initial introduction, he just became whatever Cadence needed.
I think the best thing about this book is that it opens up a conversation about foster care. I suppose it was also intended to have the reader evaluate his or her opinions about a certain controversial topic, possibly feel compassion for those who choose it. But my thoughts on the matter remain unchanged--and as you might recall, the predominant trait I used to describe Cadence was "selfish." The only thing good that came from the experience was her emotional response to it. Call me heartless, but I'm glad she wasn't able to just go on with her happy life immediately afterward.
There were a few editing mistakes here and there, including some that were poor word choices ("excluding" when it should have been "limited t0," "mascara" when it should have been "eyeliner").
Notes: Maybe some swearing. Controversial topic
Sully Graham and Cadence Gilbertson were childhood sweethearts, broken apart by circumstances that separated them by miles. One year later, Cadence unexpectedly returns, but she has changed. Her refusal to see Sully and her subsequent mixed messages leave all of those who "loved her when" puzzled as to her behavior. Will a grand gesture by Sully open a dialogue between the two teenagers that found each other in childhood despite very difficult circumstances?
The Secrets We Kept was a thinly plotted YA romance which had nothing to help it stand apart from the many books in the genre. The most compelling part of the book, namely the foster care aspects, were barely highlighted in any meaningful way. The characters were developed well, but it was not enough to elevate this book from an average read for me.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
“Some things are just so broken, they can’t be fixed again.Read more
I loved Sully and all he does to regain Cadence's confidence.Read more
A very moving read.Read more