Updated: Jun 5, 2020
All Your Twisted Secrets
Author: Diana Urban Publisher: HarperTeen Release Date: March 17th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Contemporary
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This thrilling debut, reminiscent of new fan favorites like One of Us Is Lying and the beloved classics by Agatha Christie, will leave readers guessing until the explosive ending.
Welcome to dinner, and again, congratulations on being selected. Now you must do the selecting.
What do the queen bee, star athlete, valedictorian, stoner, loner, and music geek all have in common? They were all invited to a scholarship dinner, only to discover it’s a trap. Someone has locked them into a room with a bomb, a syringe filled with poison, and a note saying they have an hour to pick someone to kill … or else everyone dies.
Amber Prescott is determined to get her classmates and herself out of the room alive, but that might be easier said than done. No one knows how they’re all connected or who would want them dead. As they retrace the events over the past year that might have triggered their captor’s ultimatum, it becomes clear that everyone is hiding something. And with the clock ticking down, confusion turns into fear, and fear morphs into panic as they race to answer the biggest question: Who will they choose to die?
I received a free copy for an honest review. You should like this book if you:
Are still having PTSD from your high school years (such as grades, SAT, parents, school, etc)
Like the "jumping back the forth in time" narrative
Can relate to a protagonist that I highly slightly suspect to have -10 EQ points (occasionally)
Listen to movie soundtracks (I swear I started screaming when I also saw the protagonists listen to the Lord fo the Rings soundtracks)
Likes music production
But you may have the problem with the book:
A (tiny) bit overhyped?
The protagonist highly suspected maybe -10 EQ points (occasionally)
When I first saw the synopsis and the Goodreads ratings of this book, it seemed pretty promising. Not going to lie, the "This thrilling debut" line in the synopsis may have affected me.
But although this book was really fun to read and a bit difficult for me to put down, it wasn't as..."highly sophisticated and thrilling" as the synopsis portrayed. Yes, it's interesting, and it involved serious topics such as grief, depression, etc. It also technically did have the mystery element it promised. I would actually recommend this as a book to pass time, and the constant time jump and the count-down make this book's fast pace very interesting to read. But I feel like...what I got from the book was a bit less than I expected.
I felt like I enjoyed this book and read it because I want to know what's going t happen next, but not necessarily because I care about the characters as much as I should've and wanted to see more of the characters. To phrase it in another way, this book seemed to be more of a plot-driven plot than a character-driven plot.
Another problem I have with this book is it has (what I like to call) the "climax" problem. The entire book is pretty much a gradual escalation of "something bad is going to happen". That's pretty much the entire plot. Sounds pretty empty? That's because it is. It makes the story feels a bit hollow.
We also need to get into the frustrating nature of reading the story from Amber's perspective. As I mentioned earlier, she's not stupid, but I swear that I feel like this girl has -50 EQ points. I'm not an EQ genius by a long shot, but I can sense subtle hostility and condescending behaviors from people. This girl managed to twist red-flag signs from Sasha as a person into explanations as to why Sasha is not dangerous. But even if she does have her pain (as everyone should have, which I appreciate the author adding, making the story more realistic), it still is the reason why I was not surprised by the surprising twist ending.
Overall, I would still recommend this book as an interesting read to pass time. I still enjoyed it after all, but nothing much else.
about the author
I’m Diana Urban, and I write dark, twisty thrillers for teens including All Your Twisted Secrets (HarperTeen, March 17th 2020). When I’m not torturing fictional characters, I’m a marketing manager at BookBub, a leading book discovery platform. Outside the bookish world, I live with my husband and cat in Boston, and enjoy reading, video games, fawning over cute animals, and looking at the beach from a safe distance.