Echo Ridge is reeling. This picturesque town, nestled near the Canadian border, experienced its first tragic loss in 1995 when high-school senior Sarah Corcoran vanished while walking home from the library.
Then five years ago, homecoming queen Lacey Kilduff was found dead in the aptly named Murderland Halloween Park. Now, the killer claims to be back. A small town that keeps losing its homecoming queens. Two murders, still unsolved.
Echo Ridge is not a good place to be popular.
It’s not much of a secret that I love Karen McManus’ work. I recently wrote a review of her One of Us is Lying series, which I adored, and now she’s on my auto-buy list – I’m already excited for The Cousins which is being released in December.
Two Can Keep A Secret follows twins Ellery and Ezra as they move in with their grandmother whilst their mother is being treated in rehab. It just so happens that they’ve moved to the small town in which their aunt, their mother’s twin sister, went missing when she was sixteen, and another young girl named Lacey was found dead just five years ago. They meet Malcolm, who is already connected to the disappearance of Lacey, when yet another young girl goes missing. They work together, and with a range of other characters, some a help and some a hindrance, to figure out what’s happened, discovering the unexpected and downright disturbing on the way.
After reading One of Us is Lying, I actually gave Y/A a bit of a break for a while. But I eventually found that I was craving more and Two Can Keep A Secret seemed like the perfect thing to fill that void. I wasn’t sure about another Y/A murder mystery/thriller with a bit of romance sprinkled in; as I’ve said before, I sometimes find the romance a little bit cringe. I have to admit, I still don’t love the teen romance element but I do absolutely adore the thrill and mystery.
Two Can Keep A Secret has all the things Karen McManus does best – twists and turns, small hints here and there throughout the story, lovable and relatable characters, and a shock curveball ending that sticks in your mind for weeks and weeks – in fact, I can still remember it now, months on. And it still gives me chills. Plus, the title had me singing the PLL theme tune every time I picked it up.
If you’ve read my other reviews, you know I’m a sucker for a classic page-turner mystery and Two Can Keep A Secret is definitely one of them. It really felt like there was reveal after reveal the whole way through and I loved it. It felt like a really exciting read, full of mysteries and clues that had me guessing and trying to solve it myself. Of course, it focuses on murders and disappearances, but there’s also family related reveals, relationship shocks and even a hit and run case that runs in the background throughout. It sounds like a lot going on at once, but it was so well written that it all made perfect sense and linked together seamlessly.
As I said, there was an element of romance about it too. I have to say, I much preferred the background romance stories than the more in your face ones, but as I’ve mentioned in a previous review, I think I’ve outgrown the in depth teen relationship descriptions now. However, I know that I would have been an absolute sucker for it five years ago and I think anyone in their mid- to late-teens would adore it.
The characters definitely followed some of the classic high school character tropes, as they do in McManus’ other novels. However, again like her other books, there was depth to each character that ultimately moved them away from their initial trope into a more complex being. I think this is most true for Brooke, Katrin and Declan so watch out for them if you give this book a read.
I think this book was another brilliant piece by Karen McManus. As I said before, she’s now on my auto-buy list; I haven’t found anyone that does a Y/A mystery/thriller as good as she does. I do wish that more about Sarah’s disappearance had been revealed as it seems to be quite a key part of the story, but maybe this actually ultimately lends itself well to the novel as a whole.
With a shock twist at the end that reveals all the answers, a spine-chilling last sentence and an interesting narrative on family and friends, this is a perfect thriller for a Y/A audience, and definitely those a little older too.