Posted in Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Teen, Young Adult/New Adult

Whodunit? Secrets, Lies, and Scandals

secrets liesSecrets, Lies, and Scandals, by Amanda K. Morgan, (July 2016, Simon Pulse), $17.99, ISBN: 9781481449540

Recommended for ages 14+

A much-loathed teacher dies. Five students are in the room. What happened? Who’s responsible? Most importantly, can they all keep it a secret, or will one of them break? Secrets, Lies, and Scandals tells the stories of five teens – all of whom have their own private crosses to bear – who have to come together to keep the circumstances under which their teacher died secret.

We’ve got Ivy, the mean girl who finds herself on the outs after a relationship gone bad; Tyler, the bad boy whose exhausting his last chance; Kinley, the perfect student with her own secrets; Mattie, who’s only in town for the summer, and really didn’t expect to find himself in a situation like this, and Cade, a repressed rage case who’s always looking for someone else to take the blame. He’s the master manipulator, and all he needs is an opening.

This is one of those novels that I didn’t expect to enjoy as much as I did. None of these characters are really likable, but that adds to the story, rather than distances the reader. What do you do when there’s not one decent character in the book? You dig in for a salacious read. It’s schadenfraude at its finest – I couldn’t wait to see what these characters were going to do next. It’s a well-constructed, fast-moving read that pulls you in and doesn’t let you go until the last page, when you’re likely to yell, just like I did.

I’m going to put this one in my YA collection and booktalk the daylights out of it. Sell it like it’s How to Get Away With Murder set in high school, or an updated version of I Know What You Did Last Summer. (Then explain I Know What You Did Last Summer, because you know you’re going to get blank stares.)