There’s nothing better than finding a new author you love and Karen McManus has been one of my favourite discoveries of 2019. I’ve just finished her second novel, Two Can Keep a Secret, and I have to say, it’s been my favourite yet.
It was a juicy, fast-paced, YA thriller that’s completely addictive – I found myself sat at my work desk wondering when I could get back to Echo Ridge. Some people have been quite critical on Amazon and Goodreads, claiming it’s “Pretty Little Liars or Riverdale fanfiction.” Personally, I love both those shows so this description only enticed me more.
The story definitely reminded me of Riverdale though, so much so that I couldn’t help but visualise Katrin as Veronica Lodge, even though this went completely against the character’s physical description in the book.
The novel takes place in Echo Ridge, an awkward, creepy town where being popular can mean a death sentence. It’s told from two different perspectives, Ellery and Malcolm, two teenagers who both have their own connection to the awful crimes that have taken place in the town.
I really enjoyed the different perspectives and thought McManus was really successful in telling the story through their eyes. Both characters were believable, relatable and I was really rooting for them both throughout.
I also loved so many other characters too – I wish we’d discovered even more about Declan, Daisy and Mia. Perhaps McManus can write a prequel, focusing on the Declan/Lacey/Daisy saga during their school years?
McManus carefully and intelligently weaved so many of the supporting characters into the plot, which I think was wonderful. It really highlighted Echo Ridge as a small, close-knit community where, when tragedy strikes, the entire town feels the repercussions. This theme is present from the very beginning of the book, when Ellery and Ezra arrive in the town and witness something shocking. [Sorry for the vagueness – no spoilers allowed!]
My only negative point would be, similar to McManus’ debut, that I worked out the big twist before I got there – my pet hate with a thriller. It was an incredibly well-crafted plot though and my accurate guessing didn’t actually make much of a difference overall because the very ending was absolutely spine-tingling.
Overall, another fantastic read that I’d give 4.5 stars. If you’re a fan of YA fiction, you’ll absolutely love this book.
GoodReads rating – ⭐⭐⭐⭐