Two Can Keep a Secret
Author: Karen M. McManus
Length: 10 hours
Narrator: Sophie Amoss, Kirby Heyborne
Publisher: Listening Library
Original Publication Date: 2019
Genre(s): Young adult, Mystery
“What do you know? What did you do?”
Moving to Echo Ridge their senior year was not what twin siblings Ellery and Ezra were expecting. With their mom in rehab, their only other known family member to take care of them is their nana. Ellery and Ezra have never been to Echo Ridge before, but they know plenty about it. Their aunt went missing there at seventeen, never to be found. And five years ago, a homecoming queen was murdered. Now, someone is making anonymous threats, promising this year’s homecoming will be just as deadly—and Ellery and Ezra have just moved to town. When another girl goes missing, true crime aficionado Ellery is determined to solve not just this mystery, but all the mysteries surrounding the small town.
I don’t even know where to begin with this review. I’m not speechless—more like I’m so shook up that I don’t know where to start. I loved McManus’s One of Us Is Next series, and I enjoyed her new novel The Cousins, so I was really excited to read this standalone. Though the entire novel had me guessing and kept me on edge, it was the last 2 minutes of reading and the final reveal that left me gasping. I cried actual tears, fam. I am not okay.
The synopsis of this book has a lot going on, but I can now see why: this story is ridiculously layered. The mysteries span years, and there’s more than one mystery happening in present-day, so it’s a whole lot to try and summarize for the back of the book. From the synopsis, I thought this would be a dual-perspective novel with Ellery and Ezra as our narrators, but I was only half right. The novel is told in first-person alternating POV chapters with Ellery and Malcom as the narrators. Ellery, of course, being one of the twins and the niece of the missing girl; Malcom being the brother of the boyfriend of the dead homecoming queen from 5 years ago. I didn’t get that at first—I really wanted an Ezra POV! But it all makes sense why Malcom is the other perspective in the end.
At first, I was a bit bored by the story. I’m not sure why. It’s not that it wasn’t interesting—how could it be with so many murders and disappearances and creepy threats? I think it just moved a little too slowly at first. I also wasn’t super interested in Malcom’s chapters for a while. He felt sort of unnecessary. Luckily, all of those thoughts and feelings went away about a fourth of the way into the novel. It didn’t take long for the suspense and intrigue to ramp up, and I slowly fell more in love with both Malcolm and Ellery.
Like I said, it’s a layered story. There’s a lot going on here. But it’s not busy in a bad way. More like it’s chaotic to try and throw you off your game. I can usually at least call SOME things out before the reveal, but this book had me stumped. All my guesses were wrong. In fact, I am shocked at just how dark this novel got. My guesses were child’s play. This story gets so twisty and horrifying that I never would have seen any of it coming. For a YA mystery, this one is downright terrifying. Especially with that final reveal. I want to talk about it so bad. I literally went to find my fiancé and recapped the entire plot (very quickly and very badly) because I just wanted to say what happened at the end out loud to someone. She really didn’t care one bit, and it didn’t make me feel any better, but 🤷♀️ I needed it. Tell me again why I’m not in a book club?
If you’re looking for a shocking murder mystery story, look no further. Though I do highly recommend the One of Us Is Lying series, this is an excellent choice if you’re after a standalone instead. Just brace yourself for that ending. It shattered my heart and left me reeling. SOS.