Keeping Secrets is one of those awesome book reissues involving two stories, Faking 19 and Saving Zoë. I decided to split this review into a “Part 1/Part 2” review, just so nothing gets confusing, and because they both deserve their own attention.
Genre: Young Adult/Fiction/Tween
Plot: A beautifully repackaged two-in-one reissue of Saving Zoe and Faking 19 by #1 New York Times bestselling author Alyson Noël
Secret wishes, hidden heartaches and painful truths. Everyone has them―but some secrets are harder to hide.
We usually tell our best friends everything. Our crushes, our embarrassing stories, our secrets―but sometimes there are truths so deep and dark that we can’t tell anyone. Not our parents, not our sisters…not even our best friends. Some secrets are so unspeakable that we keep them safely locked away so no one will ever discover them.
But what happens when they become more than you can handle alone? In these two magnificent novels, two girls can’t tell anyone about the terrible burdens they carry. But as they’re about to learn, it’s not our secrets that matter most―but those who still love us once they learn the truth.
Opinion: I truly had no expectations going into these two stories, except for the fact that I knew it was a Tween/YA read that would be light and fun. It proved to be just that: fun and exciting, innocent and mischievous, incredibly secretive but very honest. I think it was a great first start to the two books in this reissue collection.
Faking 19 is about a girl named Alex who lives in Orange County with her mother, and is dealing with the few weeks leading up to her possible graduation from high school. With her best friend M, who also happens to be one of the most beautiful and popular girls in her school, they decide to make their current situation more exciting by going to Los Angeles and experiencing the glamorous lifestyle. After soon meeting Connor and Trevor, two older and wealthy guys from England, the lies about their age any other things start to form. Readers follow Alex and M as they struggle with their social and personal lives, and secrets that they keep buried.
I read The Immortals by Alyson Noël in back in the day, and got completely hooked on her young adult romance writing. Her writing has always been simplistic and real, in the sense that I always get hooked right in but it is also usually an even paced read. Faking 19 proved to keep to the author’s style, but with a definitely more realistic take on a teenage girl. The reader catches up with Alex as she seems to be in quite a funk; she’s failing most of her classes, she isn’t as involved in her school as she used to be, and she is angry at her dad for not helping her and her mother financially when he left. M, Alex’s best friend, might be gorgeous and extremely wealthy but her parents are never home. Alex and M are your stereotypical California girls who are dramatic and “just wanna have fun”. They decide to start visiting L.A. more and eventually meet two older guys from London named Connor and Trevor.
I think the relationships between the girls and the two guys they meet was actually fairly realistic in most ways. I found myself becoming suspicious of Connor though, especially when it came to either of the boys realizing how young they were! I mean come on, I think you would know. …then again, the girls these days do look quite a bit older. Weird. I think the author did a great job of portraying the very different issues that M and Alex share in their home life, but that they are both quite similar in the sense that their parents are a bit absent. I think this read really proved to be a great coming-of-age story, and it dove into a lot of issues that young girls face when they are trying to figure out who they are or who they want to be.
All in all, cute story. This isn’t a genre I would probably read still, but it brought me back to my teen years and was enjoyable. I have no qualms at all with this story, so give it a try if you’re into the Tween/YA genre and want to read something laid back!