The Truth About Keeping Secrets by Savannah Brown | Book Review

Pages: 336

Genre: young adult, lgbt characters

About the book

Sydney loses her dad abruptly in a car crash. He was a therapist, helping a lot of people. But with the job came keeping a lot of secrets. After the funeral June, a popular girl Sydney has never talked much to, starts to show interest and they become friends. Their sudden bond doesn’t make much sense to Sydney or anyone else. It’s a story about grief and how differently people deal with it, about friendship and relationships, and discovering who you are and what your limits are.

My thoughts

Rating out of five: four

I started out this book with high hopes and immediately loathing how slow it felt.. So far I’ve liked Savannah’s poetry, but while the writing in this book is direct and easy to follow, I didn’t like it overall. The book starts with a huge a loss. And if you’ve ever lost someone, you know that pain and emptiness – this book doesn’t described it particularly elegantly or extraordinarily – resulting in how a beginning that felt really bland. It wasn’t before I was halfway through the book that it started to really pick up.

When Savannah Brown stepped up the action, the writing, characters and mystery really came together. This book describes my first experience being drunk nearly perfectly, and I was laughing out loud. Probably because Sydney also likes to have much control, at least over herself. It’s in passages between characters where I really feel how Savannah is my age and a recent teenager. The questioning of sexuality. The use of technology and phones. It was all really well done.

It’s one of those books that is so difficult to pitch to someone without spoiling the plot, as it has mystery-vibes to it as Sydney tries to figure out who’s harassing her and what happened to her dad. I completely recommed it though! Be prepared to perhaps cry (like I did towards the end).


Some particularly interesting parts:

  • The inclusion of a webside similar to the recently banned r/watchpeopledie was unexpected, obviously this protagonist becomes obsessed with the macabre as a coping strategy and she walks the reader through her thoughts around that, as well.
  • The relatable moment of an introvert being like “is she this touchy feely with everyone or am I special?” – it’s an issue.
  • The back and forth of whether Sydney’s view of June was something she had created in her head, on a pedestal, or if their relationship was much more real than that
  • Olivia seems like a very shitty friend?? Like I get that there’s some unreliable narration through Sydney’s eyes, but come on. She feels so realistic.
  • The out of body moment Sydney has when she watches the video of her dad was one of the better written parts and while it was harrowing to the character, it was really a moment I’ll remember in this book
  • A very satisfying, but still realistic ending!

Favourite quotes

“This was when I realized why, exactly, I got along with June, and why it was so easy to trust her: she didn’t treat grief like a problem to be solved, but a constant to be endured.”

“I’m worried that I’ve made you out in my head to be something that you’re not.’ June was silent for a moment, then said, in a small voice, ‘I’m worried I did the same thing for you. […} Like looking out of a window of a house I was locked inside.”

4 thoughts on “The Truth About Keeping Secrets by Savannah Brown | Book Review

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