My Secret to Tell

320p. Sourcebooks Fire. Oct. 2015. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781492615712.
Gr 7 Up—Set during a lurid South Carolina summer, this mystery opens as picture-perfect Emmie receives a frantic call from her best friend, Chelsea. Chel's father has been brutally assaulted in their home, and it appears that her brother, along with resident bad boy Deacon, is the culprit. While everyone in town is busy pointing fingers at Deacon, Emmie must decide for herself whether she should trust and defend the boy she's loved from afar or if she should do what everyone expects of a good girl and give him up to the authorities. This romantic whodunit might be best for early teen and reluctant readers with its swift pace, accessible plotlines, and somewhat predictable twists. In addition, reluctant readers will enjoy piecing the clues together to solve the mystery. For the sensitive reader, it is worth mentioning that there are references to death and drug addiction throughout. Richards does a beautiful job painting scenes of Southern life in a boating town and incorporating some diverse characters. However, she also makes some confusing leaps in the plot, leaving out critical details. For instance, in the first part of the novel, there is no mention of any character asking the beaten man to identify his assailant; rather, the townsfolk make their own assumptions and go on a witch hunt from there. The result is that the premise feels a bit flimsy and the characters' decisions are overly dramatic and premature.
VERDICT Despite some flaws, this is a good choice for younger teens who want a bit of PG romance and a modern Nancy Drew-esque mystery.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing