Author: Jessi Kirby
Release Date: 1st August 2017
Spoilers: Nope, no spoilers!
Rating: (4 / 5)
Special: YABC Staff Review
So here’s the thing: I LOVE LOVE LOVED Jessi Kirby’s first book called Things We Know by Heart. I cried a lot because of that book and thought that a new book by her would make me emotional again, for sure. In some was it did, but on a lesser scale. But damn how much I love Kirby’s writing style, and the stories she comes up with. So thank you HarperTeen for providing me with an e-ARC of The Secret History of Us, I loved reading it!
“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.” [Goodreads]
The story kicks of with Liv waking up in the hospital while people around her are walkin on egg shells. She tries to remember what happened, and why her body is hurting so badly, but she can’t. Luckily her parents are there with here, although they don’t seem to be very honest about the accident that she’s apparently been in. But she can’t do much about it, because everything hurts, including her head.
What I loved about the story, is how it sucks you in from the very first page. This happened to me with Things We Know by Heart, and it happened with The Secret History of Us as well. As a reader, you are eager to find out what happened to Liv, and especially why everybody is being so mysterious about it. Kirby gives the reader tiny bits of information, the same amount that the people surrounding Liv are giving her. You feel how frustrated Liv is, but also how helpless she feels when she finds out what (not) happened. Kirby is a master at capturing feeling, without overdoing it.
The pace of the story was quite slow, though it felt like the book ended too soon. I didn’t have any problems with the speed of the book, I liked it this way. Things were slowly unfolding and there was no need for a big or grand finale, of a dramatic scene at the ending of the book to blow things up. However, I did feel like the ending was a bit rushed. I felt like Kirby wrapped things up very quickly and maybe ‘too easy’, as if she wanted the story to be done. That is the only real critique I can think about when reviewing this lovely book.
The thing I enjoy the most about Kirby’s book are the scenes, the romances and the main character overall. Imagine waking up after being in a coma for eight days, not knowing where you are or who some people are. It’s dramatic, yes. But Kirby knows exactly how to make it feel real and raw. It feels like a Nicholas Sparks movie, but with teens. It’s kind of like a John Green novel, only a little less lyrical of literature-ish. Everybody can read this book. It’s impossible not to love this story.
In short the only thing I can say is that I fell deeply in love with his story. It’s not perfect and I was a little disappointed with the ending, but it was a quick read I enjoyed intensely. The scenes, the emotions and the characters… what’s not to love? This is one of those books that you’ll pick up and finish in one sit. It’s easy, adorable and fun to read. I’m looking forward to whatever Jessi Kirby is writing next!