Where Secrets Lie

S. & S. Apr. 2021. 384p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781534451223.
Gr 9 Up–Cousins Amy and Ben have been close their whole lives, even though Amy’s mom got out of their small Kentucky town as soon as she could. Every summer, Amy comes from Washington, D.C. to stay with her wealthy grandma and spends every second she can with “her boys,” Ben and his best friend Teddy. She’s loved Teddy forever, but until recently that hasn’t been out in the open. Readers are left in the dark as to the status of their relationship, as the chapters alternate between the summer of 2018 and 2019, a tactic which will unfortunately date the book prematurely for its intended audience. When Teddy’s little sister disappears, the relationship between Amy and her boys gets complicated. The mystery of what happened to Nat takes a back seat to the off-and-on romance between Amy and Teddy. The twists and turns and unveiling of family secrets ramp up during the last few chapters with a satisfying surprise ending, but it might come too late for many readers. While the writing style is compelling, the overly adult-sounding repartee and extreme navel-gazing make all three main characters, who are coded as white, hard to relate to.
VERDICT This well-written novel could circulate in romance collections.

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