October 5, 2015

(Netgalley) ARC Review: My Secret to Tell by Natalie D. Richards

My Secret to TellMy Secret to Tell by Natalie D. Richards
Rating: /5

*I received digital ARC of this book from Sourcebooks Fire through Netgalley*

Pub. Date: October 6th, 2015

Get a copy here!

This is the first book I picked out from my TBR list after my long hiatus of reading so I kind of expected a lot from it to be a good starter. Good thing that My Secret to Tell wasn’t just live up to my expectation (which was ‘containing sweet romance’) but it also brought out a thrilling vibe within the plot that I welcomed warmly ‘cause it’s been a while since I last read something suspenseful.
‘He’s eye candy for them, but he’s something much more dangerous for me. Something a lot like gravity. Because being around him feels like falling. Every. Single. Time.’
(Chapter I; My Secret to Tell)
With a strong prologue, this book started real intriguing. A sixteen years old, OCD-cleaning, Emerson May found blotches of red-dark stain on her bedroom window that evening. It’s not helping that she’d just got off the phone with her best friend, Chelsea, who’s panicking over her father that was brought to hospital after badly being attacked in their home. Trying to be calm, she followed another blotch on her bathroom knob and what she saw next stopped her breath completely for a few seconds. Blood was everywhere; on the floor, covering the white tile; on the legs, hands, clothes, covering the boy with tears-streaked eyes. Never in her life had she imagined of having this boy she’d been crushing on for years in her bathroom in this kind of circumstance. But there he was, Deacon Westfield in blood-stained shirt, shaking so badly on her bathroom floor instead of in hospital with his sister waiting on their father. The scene right in front of her could be a very perfect evidence of a crime case but it was the last thing Emmie had in mind when she calmly and without a doubt took a quick action of cleaning the mess Deacon brought along with him. They didn’t have much time when Emmie’s mother came home. No words being said and definitely nothing were explained. But in that short moment only their eyes speak as Emmie sneaked Deacon out to the night. She wanted to believe it was the truth they exchanged but eyes could be telling everything all at once―the truth, the lie, or the thing only she wanted to see.
What happened next was a mess. People accusing Deacon as the one who attacked his own father; even his sister and their family lawyer believed so. Deacon made it difficult for people to see the bright side of him on the case by running away and avoiding meeting his family. It was Emmie who stood by his side and God knows she wasn’t there just because she had a special feeling for him. With an attitude, a bad history with his father in the past weeks, and a record of police, Deacon did make a perfect fit to the questioned culprit. But Emmie had seen him in his worst and it was nowhere near violent. Going against the current, Emmie decided to help Deacon find a justice in his father’s case. Disappointing her own parents might be her biggest fear but leaving Deacon in the trap felt much worse. Emmie might have a fixer trait but this wasn’t only about fixing things for Emmie, this was about fighting for her belief and bringing justice to those who deserve it. What Emmie didn’t know was sometimes looks can be deceiving, especially when you put too much faith on it.
‘How many times have I been so determined to see the best in things that I didn’t face the reality right in front of me?’
(Chapter XV; My Secret to Tell)
I really enjoyed the story with all the suspense feels. Some people might think that the plot was predictable―well, I had successfully guessed the culprit from the start―but there were parts that I didn’t see coming. I loved how not cliché the story came out in the end; that the characters weren’t always right with their decision; that the heroine didn’t turn into a complete fool for love; that not every issue was resolved right away just because it was the end. But what I loved the most was the lesson relayed through this story: that people who could break us down completely were those who are the closest to us. This is ironically a fact that maybe most of us have seen in our life. That’s because the closest person to us is the one who knows our weakness best. Thus when there’s a will and there’s a chance, they could easily use it against us.

Emmie’s character was so relatable. Her obsession to clean and arrange every mess around her, for one, was something that I could imagine doing every day though mine was not that extreme. What made her stand out than another heroine in most YA was that Emmie wasn’t that kind of girl who’s so head over heels to her crush that she couldn’t see anything beyond him. Emmie was brave, loyal, sometimes comical in mind, and probably the most rational heroine I ever found in a YA. What she did, she did it in her own will. Her heart might be filled with her feelings to Deacon but her mind worked independently. And her issue with her parents, she dealt with it quite maturely for someone her age. She constantly worried that she would let her parents down and she tried real hard not to, but she didn’t entirely agree to them as well. Emmie didn’t want to be a ‘good’ daughter who would say yes to everything her parents wanted her to be but ended up keeping regrets all her life later on. She’s simply amazing and I really didn’t hold a thing against her character.

Even though the romance wasn’t the focus of the story, I was satisfied with how it was built. The fact that Emmie was the one who Deacon chose to run to when he was all shaken up showed that after all he did have a feeling for her too. The romance was beautiful, pure, and somehow mature. Together they made a sweet couple as they completed each other. Deacon had been by her side for a long time, stood for her, believed in her, made her feel not alone when the trouble comes. And now when the table was turned, Emmie made sure to be all of that for him, not because she loved him, but because she knew him. The loyalty, the trust, and the faith that they’d been putting on each other’s hands since they were kids slowly built deeper as they faced more complicated situations and more complex problems together growing up. The scene of their escapade, though short, was powerful because it contained exactly what I wanted to know about how their romance changed them into better persons. It was always calming to read a good romance of a young couple.

The thing that bothered me a lot though was the title. With a title My Secret to Tell, sure the first thing comes to our mind would be ‘whose secret?’. But with the cover like that (a girl standing alone, looking right into the camera) who doesn’t agree when I say the secret was the girl’s? Then I dove into the book and the story was told from the girl’s perspective. See? It must be the girl’s. The fact is… (this might sound like spoiler but trust me, IT’S NOT) Emmie didn’t have any secret to tell. I said it before that it always bothers me when a story doesn’t match with the title, vice versa. And this, right here, was my bothered expression when I realized it >:(

All in all, the author wrote the story beautifully. I loved the voice she used to Emmie as the narrator and the words she chose to form such poetic sentences in almost every page I read. Her characterizations were rich and the plot was neat with some unpredictable turn of events throughout the book. People who love suspense read would definitely enjoy this book and those who prefer romance book like me wouldn’t be disappointed as well.
My Secret to Tell is my first book from this author and I don’t hesitate to pick up another title from her for my next read.

Love, read, and review,
Cynthia D.


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