“The Truth About Keeping Secrets” review


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By: Bella Love, Staff Editor

“The Truth About Keeping Secrets” is a young adult novel by Savannah Brown. This is Brown’s first novel, as she previously released a book of poetry called “Graffiti.” Sold to readers as a teen thriller but the book turned out to mostly be focusing on the main character dealing with grief with a thriller undertone. “The Truth About Keeping Secrets” is about a teenage girl, Sydney, whose father dies suddenly in a car accident and after the crash she is sent threatening texts by an unknown number. The most popular girl in school, June, shows up mysteriously at her father’s funeral and June and Sydney become start to become close after that.

The main problem with this novel was its extremely slow pace. Thriller novels are usually supposed to be fast paced and exciting but this novel is drawn out way too long. It could have been edited down significantly, as there were a lot of instances where it would just be pages and pages of the Sydney talking about death. Even the climax of the book where the sender of the anonymous texts is revealed feels not all that impactful and just not worth the buildup it was given.

The characterization of this book was also a significant issue. It is apparent by the way she relied on troupes and stereotypes that this is Brown’s first real novel, so it is possible that in the future she will become more confident as a writer and be able to form more complex characters. Brown references John Green’s “Looking for Alaska” as one of her main inspirations, which is evident in the dynamic between June and Sydney’s characters. Sydney is very similar to Miles, as she is a sort of outcast who is supposed to

From YouTube to Print: Savannah Brown is a popular YouTuber and poet best known for her book of poetry, “Graffiti.” She recently released her first young adult novel, “The Truth About Keeping Secrets.” “It seems as though the author was too busy trying to subvert LGBT stereotypes that she made no effort in creating realistic and believable characters,” says junior Haley Cardillo. Photo Credit: Goodreads.

be seen by the reader as “deep” and more insightful than their peers. Both Miles and Sydney are hopelessly in love with a beautiful, popular girl with mental issues and secrets. These girls are June and Alaska, who both perfectly embody the “manic pixie dream girl” stereotype, which is essentially a troupe seen in books or movies where a girl who is usually “not like other girls.” Their character is only there for the main character to fall in love with and to aid the main character’s development. They rarely have any growth of their own.

Brown also failed to make the characters in this book even somewhat likable, the main character is the best example. Sydney constantly neglects other’s feelings and immediately abandons her best friend as soon as she starts to get close to June. Part of this is attributed to Sydney’s grief over her father’s death but that does not excuse her from being generally awful to her friends and family. She only stops once in the book to think about how her father’s death may have affected her mother and then never mentions it again. She is pretentious and seems to think she and June are better than everyone else in her small town just because they have dark senses of humor and cry when they listen to Arcade Fire.

“The Truth About Keeping Secrets” reads more like an unedited first draft than an actual published novel. Her long and rambling passages about death read less like poetry and more like a teenage girl’s Tumblr diary. This is Brown’s first book, so hopeful as she begins to write more her books will improve and she will rely less on troupes and weak characterization.

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“The Truth About Keeping Secrets” review