Monday, July 24, 2017

The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby

Title: The Secret History of Us
Author: Jessi Kirby
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss

Gorgeously written and emotionally charged, The Secret History of Us explores the difficult journey of a teenage girl who must piece her life together after losing her memory in a near-fatal accident.

When Olivia awakes in a hospital bed following a car accident that almost took her life, she can’t remember the details about how she got there. She figures the fog is just a symptom of being in a week-long coma, but as time goes on, she realizes she’s lost more than just the last several days of her life—she’s lost her memory of the last four years. Gone is any recollection of starting or graduating high school; the prom; or her steady boyfriend Matt. Trying to figure out who she is feels impossible when everyone keeps telling her who she was.

As Liv tries to block out what her family and friends say about who she used to be, the one person she hasn’t heard enough from is Walker, the guy who saved her the night her car was knocked off that bridge into the bay below. Walker is the hardened boy who’s been keeping his distance—and the only person Olivia inexplicably feels herself with. With her feelings growing for Walker, tensions rising with Matt, and secrets she can’t help but feel are being kept from her, Olivia must find her place in a life she doesn’t remember living.
Review by Nara

First thing I have to tell you: seriously, if you're going to read this novel, don't read the blurb. It seems like pretty much the whole story is told in that blurb (much like a lot of movie trailers these days spoiling the whole story).

The Secret History of Us was actually really well written, but it felt incredibly short. It felt like the whole story wasn't told and that it needed at least an extra 100 pages to develop the characters. Perhaps it also would have worked to condense the process of waking up so that more development and exploration could be made regarding this "secret history" (we literally got the shortest explanation regarding this). It just felt like I got glimpses of the other characters, but wasn't properly told their stories. Especially Walker, the boy who saved Liv (he appeared for very little of the novel despite having a pretty big role). The amnesia issue seemed a little unresolved, and the ending was generally left quite open.

On the plus side, the novel was very fast paced and due to the length, it was quite easy to finish off in one sitting. The story was compelling, and the mystery of what the "secret history" keeps you interested. While the secret did turn out to be relatively predictable, the execution was good enough that this wasn't a big problem.

Overall, The Secret History of Us was not as good as Kirby's previous novels. It just felt incomplete, like most of the story was hidden from view.

Liked it
Overall: 7/10
Plot: 3/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Cover: 2/5