Natalie Richard’s Third YA Contemporary Mystery/Romance – My Secret to Tell

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Natalie Richard’s Third YA Contemporary Mystery/Romance – My Secret to Tell

I’ve read several books by this author, and she seems to be getting more mainstream with each passing tale.  I’m afraid this one was a little too mainstream and predictable for me to really rave about, but it is a decent contemporary mystery for YA readers.  I don’t think it will really grab the attention of more discerning mystery readers because it just feels average in its plot and execution, but it is still a four star read as far as this genre goes.   Bells and whistles are sometimes overkill anyway.

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Goodreads Review

Emmie’s had a crush on her best friend’s brother forever. Deacon is the town bad boy who’s always in trouble, but she sees his soft side when he volunteers with her at the local animal shelter. She doesn’t think he’s dangerous…until he shows up in her bedroom with blood on his hands.

Deacon’s father has been violently assaulted and Deacon is suspect number one. Emmie’s smart enough to know how this looks, but she also knows Deacon’s biggest secret—he’s paralyzed by the sight of blood. She’s sure he didn’t do this. Or did he? Because even Deacon’s own sister thinks he’s guilty…

My Thoughts

Initially, I found the story confusing because it opens in the middle of a crisis.  It doesn’t take long to start sorting people out, but I feel like readers need to know they need to stick it out a couple of chapters before they give up on the story.  This is a decent YA suspense/thriller with plenty of suspects and red herrings thrown in.  I did guess parts of the puzzle, but I couldn’t put them together until the very end because this one was a little twisty.  The romance is well balanced with both the action and the protagonist’s struggles with her parents expectations, and I thought the subplots worked well together.  The characters were okay, but I felt like secondary characters really lacked the development they needed to help me guess more about the situation.  To be fair, most of the secondary characters played only peripheral roles, though.  The overall pacing was fast enough to keep the suspense going, and I was engaged enough to finish it in a day.  Having read Natalie Richards other books, I was a little surprised at how conventional the story was – this is probably her most mainstream book, but I don’t think it is her most interesting (Gone Too Far is).  Essentially, this is a little Vanilla for my expectations, but I think more readers will be able to enjoy the story.  I would recommend it to my YA suspense/thriller readers.  It is going on my classroom library wish list. Language and situations are appropriate for grades 7+.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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About queenbook

When the final bell rings, I stash those messy piles of essays and analysis assignments in a desk drawer and I head home to a pile of good books. My kids and dog eat too many chicken nuggets and the house could be neater, but as long as I get my daily read, I guess we are doing all right. When I was twelve and fifteen and eighteen and twenty, I believed I needed to get out there and do those things I had just been reading about, which ended in disaster, tears, a tattoo that scares me every time I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror, and the realization that some of us are meant for action, and some of us are meant to critique the pace of action in a book. I read primarily YA fiction as I have a rather hulking classroom library and a hundred high school readers to engage daily. Nothing makes me happier than coming to school and finding an impatient teenager waiting by my door to turn in a book and get another one just like it. I adore a good zombie, a medieval princess, or girl assassin (I would like them all in one book if you are a writer looking for some inspiration). I add historical mystery to my wish list a year in advance, and you should get out of my way when the next Outlander book comes out. I have an embarrassing fondness for rock star books, but only if they don’t get too trashy and embarrass me. My favorite book of all time is The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. My book boyfriends include Gilbert Blythe, Alonzo Wilder, and Jamie Fraser. They are mine and you can’t have them.

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