Monday, August 22, 2016

Review: Keeping Her Secret by Sarah Nicolas

Keeping Her Secret by Sarah Nicolas
Series: Endless Summer
Published: August 22nd, 2016
Publisher: Entangled Crush
220 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary YA/LGBTQ
Acquired this book: Via NetGalley in exchange for honest consideration
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}


The last person Riya Johnson expected to run into at her new summer camp is Courtney Chastain—her childhood best friend and the girl who broke her heart after a secret, mind-blowing, life-altering kiss. She definitely didn’t expect to be sharing a bunk bed with her for four long weeks.

Courtney has what every girl wants—she’s beautiful, rich, and the object of every boy’s desire at Camp Pine Ridge. Too bad none of them make her feel an iota of what Riya’s kiss did all those years ago. But Courtney needs to uphold appearances at all costs—even if it means instigating an all-out prank war with Riya as her main target.

Neither girl can stop thinking about the other…but that doesn’t mean they can give up past hurts and take a chance on a future together.


My first thought when I discovered Keeping Her Secret: a romance about two girls falling for each other at summer camp? Count me in! It’s no secret I’ll read just about anything f/f, so throw in the added bonus of a fun setting (I always wanted to go to sleep-away camp), and I’m in.

There was a lot to like about Keeping Her Secret. I enjoyed the dual POV and think it worked well for this story. It was important to get both girls’ perspectives to see how they were feeling and what they were thinking about certain situations. They were very different, so it was interesting to see how they perceived each other, especially when they didn’t vocalize certain things to each other.

One thing I really appreciated was the exploration of how - and why - coming-out experiences are different for everyone. Riya was open about and comfortable with her sexuality. I was so happy to see a bisexual main character - it’s still so rare to see on-page rep, especially in a main character. Courtney, on the other hand, didn’t even realize she was gay. She’d kissed a lot of boys and never felt anything, but it was like she had this mental block that prevented her from even considering she might like girls, even though she’d liked the kiss she and Riya shared years ago. It was Courtney’s growth I appreciated most. She had a lot to figure out - not just her sexuality, but her future as well. She was popular, rich, beautiful, and talented, but there was more to her than met the eye. She tried to seem tough and mean (and at times she really was just plain mean, rude, and entitled), but she was worried what people would think of her, and afraid of the control her parents had over her, especially when it came to her future. With her parents being rich and powerful lawyers living in the south, she was certain they wouldn’t accept a gay daughter. I enjoyed watching her work through things and gain some strength and independence.

I also really liked the side characters, especially Courtney’s twin brother, Colt (he was probably my favourite character - loyal, kind, caring, supportive, would do anything for his sister) and Riya’s new friend Dee.

So why only three stars? I couldn’t connect to the characters. And because I couldn’t connect to them, my emotions never went beyond the surface. I wanted the girls to end up together, but I wasn’t rooting for them the way I do for characters I truly love and connect to. I think part of it could be the fact there was so much angst and drama. It seemed never-ending at times. Things would get smoothed over, but then there’d be another incident or misunderstanding and the animosity between the girls would amp up yet again. I get that the characters were emotional, hormonal teenagers and they were trying to figure stuff out, and I also get that the setting of the story made for limited plot potential, but it did affect my overall enjoyment of the book. This could just be a ‘me thing’ though, and might not bother other people. This might be one of those instances where the fact I’m not a teenager and haven’t been for awhile comes into play!
       
If you’re looking for a quick, cute, character-driven summer read about self-discovery and acceptance, be sure to check out Keeping Her Secret.


Have you read Keeping Her Secret? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Did you ever go to summer camp?
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1 comment:

  1. This does sound really cute and I love how many LGBTQ romances are coming out now. <3 We desperately need them. It's too bad you couldn't connect with the characters, but it sounds so good, I think I still might give it a try. Thanks for sharing!

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~Marie

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