Updated: Jan 20
If your father was suddenly killed in a car crash, would you accept it as an unfortunate accident or would you think there may be more to it? What if he was a therapist who dealt with a variety of people; some hood, some bad? This is exactly the dilemma that Sydney faces in ‘The Truth About Keeping Secrets’ by Savannah Brown.
We follow a teenage girl on her quest to find some explanation as to what happened with her Dad. What kind of people was he involved with? Did he find out something that he shouldn’t? It can be hard to come to terms with death and it’s natural to understand why something bad can happen to a good person, especially one you are close to.
Since Sydney’s father was the local therapist, there was a lot he had to keep hidden from his family and that includes his daughter. Even after his death, these files saturated with information that is hidden from her. Naturally, she does her best to get her hands on it.
Along the way, we learn of the other issues that Sydney has faced throughout her life, and how her Dad helped support her through it. We also discover that another student from her school that seemed to have a perfect life from the outside, but something dark hiding behind it. As with most people, there is more than meets the eye.
This book is typical of young adult fiction. It brings to light many serious topics such as sexuality and abuse but not in a terribly heavy way. Sometimes parents find it hard to broach these subjects and books like these help teenagers connect with a story that may help in their life. There’s a feeling of hope at the end of the story as well.
Overall, I wasn’t that keen on the book. Having picked it up because I believed that there would be a big mystery, I was very disappointed. Also, as I’m not a young adult (anymore), I felt like that life lessons were a bit too much. The story started out incredibly realistic but then veered down a road that I wasn’t keen to follow. For example the most popular girl in high school suddenly befriends the total outcast with no ill intentions and they form a strong bond. It’s a nice idea, but doesn’t feel that realistic. That’s not how things operated in my high school. That’s not to say it’s like Mean Girls but total opposites in school rarely connect.
A part of the story divulges into one of the many dark places of the internet and that’s a heavy subject. One reason I can see it being good is to inform parents of what’s out there, but who it’s targeting, it might give them ideas of what to research. It didn’t feel necessary to include as it didn’t bring much to the story apart from emphasising the pain that the protagonist was experiencing.
The title of the story also hints that there will be some big revelation but I didn’t personally get it. Keeping secrets can bring more problems than telling the truth, but even that message isn’t clear. There aren’t really any secrets that are unnecessary from the different characters perspectives.
It’s a book that you may enjoy if you like reading about two people connecting and a teenager overcoming personal turmoil. However, I didn’t connect with the book or the characters so it’s not something I would read again.
My Rating 4/10.