Review: Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Ellery’s never been to Echo Ridge, but she’s heard all about it. It’s where her aunt went missing at age sixteen, never to return. Where a Homecoming Queen’s murder five years ago made national news. And where Ellery now has to live with a grandmother she barely knows, after her failed-actress mother lands in rehab. No one knows what happened to either girl, and Ellery’s family is still haunted by their loss.
Malcolm grew up in the shadow of the Homecoming Queen’s death. His older brother was the prime suspect and left Echo Ridge in disgrace. His mother’s remarriage vaulted her and Malcolm into Echo Ridge’s upper crust, but their new status grows shaky when mysterious threats around town hint that a killer plans to strike again. No one has forgotten Malcolm’s brother-and nobody trusts him when he suddenly returns to town.
Ellery and Malcolm both know it’s hard to let go when you don’t have closure. Then another girl disappears, and Ellery and Malcolm were the last people to see her alive. As they race to unravel what happened, they realize every secret has layers in Echo Ridge. The truth might be closer to home than either of them want to believe.
And somebody would kill to keep it hidden.

After reading One of Us Is Next with Alex, we decided to carry on and read Two Can Keep a Secret together! And I’m so glad we did, because it became both of our favourite McManus books so far.

There was something about this book that stood out from her others. For a start, it felt startlingly creepier to me – maybe enhanced by the setting of a somewhat decrepit theme park. The scenes, especially those in theme park itself, felt almost tangible and too close for comfort. It was delightfully creepy and a perfect read for a cold, dark winters night.

“Welcome to life in a small town.”

Problems I had with McManus’ other books were almost banished with this one. In her other books, I’ve struggled with the amount of Points Of View and it tainted the story for me as I found it hard to follow everything going on. In this book, however, we only focus on two POV and I found it much easier to follow. The only criticism in plot is the major rush that seems to come towards the end of her books after such a big build up, which can be slightly overwhelming.

However, another favourite part of this one for me was the characters, especially Ellery. They were so good to read about and I really liked having the POV of both somebody involved in the past crimes of the small town and somebody who had relatives in the town but had only recently moved to it.

“You’re only as good as the best thing your family’s done. Or the worst.”

This was definitely my favourite of Karen M McManus’ books so far and I’d love to read more from her in the future.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: One of Us is Next (#2) by Karen M McManus

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Goodreads | Waterstones

It is a year after the action of One of Us Is Lying, and someone has started playing a game of Truth or Dare.
But this is no ordinary Truth or Dare. This game is lethal. Choosing the truth may reveal your darkest secrets, accepting the dare could be dangerous, even deadly.
The teenagers of Bayview must work together once again to find the culprit, before it’s too late . . .

I’ve had Karen M McManus’ second and third books on my shelves since their respective release dates, and it wasn’t until I’m meeting her at a book signing in a few weeks, and buddy reading with Alex became an option that I finally picked them up! It’s been almost 3 years since I read One of Us is Lying and I was really worried I wouldn’t be able to pick this one up as quick as I wanted to, or would need to re-read the first one.

But I was in luck, because this book is actually a different story that focuses on the younger siblings of the characters from One of Us is Lying, meaning you don’t really have to remember anything to follow their story!

“How do you make that choice?” I ask almost to myself.

I was so intrigued by this book from the very start. I loved the Truth and Dare and felt myself become hooked by the stories quickly, despite them seeming somewhat unrealistic in parts. As with the first book though, the writing is excellent, and I couldn’t help but find myself constantly wanting to read on and being surprised by all of the twists and turns.

The character development was great, and I rooted for my favourites and enjoyed learning more about their lives. But unfortunately, alongside the plot sometimes being unrealistic, I also found the characters hard to follow in parts due to there just being so many different POV. I would find myself reading so quickly I wasn’t always paying enough attention to the chapter I was on, and then not quite understanding which character I was reading about. This became annoying after a while, and sometimes I just wished for one or two POV instead.

“Between what you need and what you want?” 

Overall, this was a really enjoyable sequel and I found it very entertaining to read. I’d love to read more of McManus’ writing in the future!

★★★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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