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Twin siblings Ellery and Ezra Corcoran find themselves moving from sunny California to the small town of Echo Ridge, Vermont to stay with their grandmother after their mother goes to rehab. Although they’ve never stepped foot into their mother’s birthplace, they know all about it. Echo Ridge has been the site of their aunt’s disappearance years before, and it made national headlines when the homecoming queen was found dead in a Halloween theme park fittingly called ‘Murderland’ five years ago. Ellery, being a true crime buff, is determined to find out the truth.
Before school even begins for the Corcorans, someone threatens to make a sequel to the Murderland incident. Everyone dismisses it as an empty threat until a girl goes missing…
If any book can keep me up all night just thinking about it, this is definitely the one. Before reading this book, I never read McManus’ debut novel, One Of Us is Lying, so I went into this book with a blind first impression. Two Can Keep a Secret clearly gave me a modern Nancy Drew vibe, given that Ellery has the same kind of personality and level of determination to crack the curious cases. I give the book four stars mostly due to the slow progression of the plot at the beginning, which is usually clearly evident to me when I want to get through dull moments quickly. The ending completely came out of left field, especially some moments I unfortunately can’t elaborate on in fear of spoiling the book too much. I kid you not, I finished the book with my mouth actually open in shock. When I started the book, I had a lingering fear that Two Can Keep a Secret, like almost all YA books I’ve read before, would leave loose threads hanging loose at the end for the reader’s interpretation. Luckily, I can confidently say that this book is unlike any YA book I’ve read before. On the other hand, the romance was kept at a minimum, which I appreciated greatly. Regarding some flaws the book had, I felt that some things, like old memories recalled by characters, were never thoroughly explored, but rather pushed into the ending just to clear up any loose threads that readers might have. Overall, it was an excellent book that made me wish there was a sequel, or perhaps more of these kinds of YA mysteries.
In my opinion, the most memorable moments for me had to be all the chapters where Ellery works with Malcolm to solve the mystery, but it’s evident that they’re slowly falling in love. While I’m not much of a romance genre fan, I couldn’t help but (heh) fall in love with the way McManus wrote the romance. It’s very minimal and doesn’t get in the way of the plot, but it’s craftily written between the words.
Reviewed by Allyson T. , Twin Hickory Library