The Secrets of Us by Lucinda Berry

Crystal and Nichole aren’t biologically sisters, but they’re closer than most biological sisters. They aren’t the result of caring, stable homes; however, they have life skills that allow them to move throughout the world just as well as those that did. While they may not have a lot, there’s one thing they do have: a fairly storied past. When Nichole is placed in a psychiatric hospital after allegedly trying to burn her husband alive, it’s a good thing they’ve learned to stick together no matter what because someone is a would-be murderer, her sister just has to figure out who.

Some things I didn’t like:

  • The book references the main characters sealing their juvenile records and their harrowing past; however, once you finish the book, it doesn’t really seem like the two are connected. This is a minor detail, but I would’ve thought you’d need more reason than “I don’t want my foster kid status out” to have a court order to seal records. It doesn’t really impact the overall story, but felt weird that these seemed linked in the story when they really aren’t.
  • Crystal and Aiden (Nichole’s husband) talk about Nichole being jumpy “after what happened;” however, Aiden is also supposed to be in the dark about their childhood. What other thing happened to Nichole that caused her to be jumpy? And, if it’s going to be referenced with regularity, why isn’t it explained?
  • Berry is a former clinical psychologist. While this leads to very realistic depictions of the hospital and Nichole’s outbursts, it leaves me feeling a little bit icky. Did she steal ticks from former patients? How many of the other patients in the ward were stolen from real life? Is that moral? I don’t know if I’ll be able to read more of her books until I sort out if this is ok for me or not.

Now, some things I did like:

  • The two perspective writing. It’s further separated by Nichole and Crystal speaking from past and present. It gives you enough of what’s going on to start to put together pieces, but in a way that leaves you wondering what’s happening for both stories. It’s well done, and I enjoyed it.
  • I really wasn’t sure who did it until the very end. I was listening to this book via Audible and was looking at the time left like… How is this going to wrap up? Is there a second book?… so this definitely used every last page to wrap you into the mystery.
  • Nobody in the book is perfect. There are reasons to like and dislike all of the characters which facilitates emotions on both ends of the spectrum for them as you move through what’s happening. I appreciate that no one is one sided, making everything feel real and plausible.

In the end, what did I think? I’d give it a read. I’m not sure I’d recommend the Audible version because the voice actresses were very similar sounding to me which made it difficult at times to keep up. Additionally, the woman who voiced Crystal had basically one “guy” voice which also made dialogue hard to follow as she spoke with different men. That aside, I’d recommend reading it, as long as you aren’t bothered about the former psychologist thing.

Until next time: Stay safe. Share love. Read books.

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