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June 13, 2012

Review: Keeping Secrets by Alyson Noël - Juhina

Keeping Secrets
Title: Keeping Secrets (Saving Zoë & Faking 19
Author: Alyson Noël
Publisher: St. Marton's Press
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Genre(s): Young Adult (Contemporary)
Source: Publisher
Format: Ebook
Pages: 448
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.
Saving Zoë was an emotional story about a girl, Echo, that loses her older sister, Zoë, through a murder a year before. To say that this rattled and shook their world would be an understatement. Echo's parents are as tense as they can be and constantly fight, Echo herself has started feeling distant towards her friends and everything around her, and the need to know more overpowered her when Zoë's boyfriend gives Echo Zoë's diary. Marc had it with him and felt that Echo should get to know the 'real' Zoë. Not the one everyone is talking about. Thus the journey through Zoë's last couple of months began. 
In all honesty I expected something major to be written inside the diary, but the beauty of this novel is that Zoë really is just a normal teenage girl that parties too much and wants to get her break at fame. Echo starts to get to know Zoë more and more through each journal entry and for an attempt to feel close to Zoë she starts to hang our more with Marc. Now i've read a book similar to this idea which almost a year ago and while I might have understood the sudden attachment to the deceased sister's boyfriend, now I understood the pain and need to feel close to your loved one would let you do. I found Marc to be just as lost as Echo and I really did like his character. I think Alyson Noël did an amazing job portraying the fractured family of Echo, their overprotectiveness, the different kind of loss each character feels, and also the realistic aspect of losing a loved one. 
Saving Zoë isn't about literally saving Zoë from her murder or even unraveling the story behind her death and who her murderer is, it is a story about the now and present, about the people Zoë had to leave behind and how they have to deal with this pain, even one year later and how Echo, through reading Zoë's diary, finally gets to know her sister like she's never known her before, giving her the chance to finally cherish Zoë's short life and try to start living her own.

Faking 19 was a fluffy enjoyable contemporary for the most part. You've got two seventeen year old girls who hit the clubbing scene and pretend they are nineteen. The two girls, who are best friends, are total opposites. We've got the protagonist, Alex. Rewinding a couple of years back, she was the perfect student. Extracurricular activities, an A student, and just responsible. However, now? she's the opposite. She doesn't care about school, attending classes, bothering to submit her assignments and just as unmotivated as one can get. The other best friend M, is the A student that Alex used to be, on the fastback to princeton. Another difference is that Alex's parents got a divorce and her mom is struggling to make ends meet financially while M is a 90210 rich kid. I really didn't like their friendship; the opening scene shows Alex forgetting to write an important paper for a class and promising herself to write it when she gets back home, now M, who submitted the paper, asks Alex to go out, and Alex tells her she has to write the paper. M, being the good friend she is, tells her to write it after she comes back home! however Alex doesn't end up writing it and keeps on promising herself everyday for the next week!. Does anyone find this annoying? Shouldn't M guide her and motivate her and help her since she wants what's best for Alex? I just felt M was unbelievably selfish while Alex was unbelievably annoying. 
However, ignoring that sorry excuse of a friendship I found the novel to be a cute contemporary and while I had issues with the absentee father, I did like how Alex's mother realized how her daughter was sinking fast. Also, Alex learned a few lessons the hard way, by dating a 23 year old guy (while pretending she's 19) and then her lie backfires on her. Also, I am glad she realized her friendship needed some mending or a makeover or something. All in all, I liked how Alex figured things on her own and did not have a sudden realization in the last 10 pages. It was a pretty realistic fiction of a girl who lost her way, motivation and dreams. I do recommend it to any realistic fiction lover, but not to the younger YA population.    
3.5 musical notes


  1. Oh. I didn't know that this one is 2 in 1. I love books that toyed with my heart and Saving Zoe just seems that kind of book. But just how much I love that kind of book, I love FUN and light YA contemp much more. Definitely looking forward to both of this book. Awesome review! :D

    Fara @ Tumbling In Books

    P/S: I see you change the pink color to blue. It seems much more summery :D

  2. I had no idea this was two books in one. For me, Savjng Zoë sounds more interesting than Faking 19. Think it'd be cool to give this one a try, seems like something different. Great review, by the way! :)

  3. Nice reviews! I haven't heard of this before but these stories sound interesting. I like the sound of Saving Zoe more than Faking 19 though. Glad you liked this overall!

    By the way, I love that this is two books in one. ;)

  4. I've heard of these books before they were put into one. I love it when the fiction actually seems realistic. That's where contemporary shines the best. Sounds like a great read!

  5. I really like her books! I'm really excited to read these :)