The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver
A girl takes over her twin sister's identity in this emotionally charged page-turner about the complicated bond between sisters.
Ella and Maddy Lawton are identical twins. Ella has spent her high school years living in popular Maddy's shadows, but she has never been envious of Maddy. In fact, she's chosen the quiet, safe confines of her sketchbook over the constant battle for attention that has defined Maddy's world.
When—after a heated argument—Maddy and Ella get into a tragic accident that leaves her sister dead, Ella wakes up in the hospital surrounded by loved ones who believe she is Maddy. Feeling responsible for Maddy's death and everyone's grief, Ella makes a split-second decision to pretend to be Maddy. Soon, Ella realizes that Maddy's life was full of secrets. Caught in a web of lies, Ella is faced with two options—confess her deception or live her sister's life.
Publishes in US: April 28th 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Genre: ya contemop
Source: Macmillan via netgalley
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I wanted to read The Secrets We Keep because I was intrigued about the twin aspect, and how they switched places in life, and what made one sister decide to be the sister who died when she wakes up. The complexities as well as the different lives of two girls with identical DNA appeals to me. I also wanted to know the things Ella discovered while pretending to step into the life of Maddie, and what has happened in her life since they stopped being as close.
Its interesting to see the differences between Maddie and Ella. They're identical twins so you would think that would make them more similar than different but since high school has started Maddie's kinda moved on to being different than she used to. She's a popular kid she has tons of friends and a new best friend that Ella never really understood.
Ella was really upset because they lost that close bond that used to have and Maddie all the sudden wanted to hang out with new people and kind of shoved Ella to the side or at least that's what she felt like.
I connect with Ella better because I am more of the quiet person with a smaller but overall closer group of friends. Before the car accident, we got to see some of the dynamics between the two girls. Maddie was always asking for Ella's help and get in trouble and Ella would help cover for her with the parents as well as even doing her school work or taking her tests for her.
Ella was strong and beautiful and loved. She just didn't see it as much because she focused on how everyone adored Maddie and when you have two different personalities like that sometimes I guess it's hard to realize that people love you when you compare to how it looks when the other lets people in more and you think that is the only way that it looks to be loved. Ella was certainly more independent and she didn't let people help her as much, so she compared to how Maddie let everyone help her and was more out in the open.
Ella had a best friend named Josh and I love their dynamics they watch anime together and they were both applying for the same art school. They had a really deep connection and I really liked him. But when Ella woke up in the hospital all that she saw was Maddie's friends, Maddie's boyfriend and her parents thinking she was Maddie and telling her so they were so glad that she was alive. She did have some amnesia right after the car accident and when they told her that she was Maddie so she believed it because her mind was so confused. But she pretty quickly realized that she was really Ella but since she felt like what everyone really wanted was for Maddie to be the one that survived, she decided that through her guilt she was going to give everyone Maddie-- that she was going to give Maddie the life that Ella thought she deserved.
Ella was angry during the accident and she was trying to pull over and lost control of the car so she felt like it was her fault that Maddie died. She couldn't reconcile the guilt that she felt because her sister was the one who died and she felt like it was her fault and then she couldn't get over that she was angry at her when she was dying beside her in the car. Also that their last words to each other weren't kind but treating one another apart.
Ella tries to fit into the life that Maddie had but it was really hard on her. Not only did they have the different personalities, different interests, different circles of friends, she soon realizes that Alex wasn't quite what he had seemed and that there were a lot of secrets that Maddie was keeping and balancing, Since Ella stepping into this life without really knowing anything about the secrets or what happened at the party when Maddie was so upset and wanted to come and get her. So there were some confusing relationships that she didn't quite know how to navigate.
She had a really hard time also trying to fit into the perfectly dressed and made up and hair fixed girl who everyone expected her to be. She was still the comfotable girl who preferred to be off the radar to everyone except for Josh and Maddie. People overlooked the out of character responses because obviously they see a girl who's just lost their sister, a girl who was driving the car and they don't expect it to be Ella because she says that she's Maddie. But Josh, Ella's best friend, who Ella wanted more with, but didn't realize he loved her back, is one of the first to suspect or at least voice his opinion that she wasn't really Maddie, but Ella pretending or so confused. But he had been pushed away at the hospital because everyone though Ella was the one who died, and Ella didn't see the ones who were grieving for her through the Maddie haze and her pain.
I was very caught up in the story and while I can understand why Ella wanted to pretend to be Maddie at it was frustrating at times because I knew that she was living a lie and she was having a very very hard time with it. I didn't know how I wanted this story to play out because there was no way that Maddie was really going to come back to life and it really seem like there was no way that Ella was going to be happy trying to fit into the life of a dead girl who while was her twin also is very different from her and had a different kind of relationship with the people around her.
Once Ella figured out some of her sister's dark secrets and saw some of the web of guilt, lies, and deception that Maddie was involved in, that finally gave her an incentive to act. She figured out a lot of about Maddie's regrets. I liked how the ending finally played out and the decisions that were made. The epilogue was especially sweet and gave the ending that I realized I craved for her. Nothing was perfect, but there was a balance.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
Would you ever switch places if you had a twin (not necessarily in death)?