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Book Review: The Secrets We Kept by Lily Velez

secretsAbout the Book

One year. That’s how long it’s been since childhood sweethearts Sully Graham and Cadence Gilbertson broke up, since one adoption and one out-of-state move turned their worlds upside down. Suddenly, Cadence is back in New York City, but something’s different about her. The light in her eyes, the music in her laughter, the warmth in her smile—all of those things have entirely vanished. In their place stand the makings of a girl Sully can’t even begin to recognize, much less understand.

Still, despite the collective history of heartbreak between them, he’s convinced he can win her trust again, and he’s committed to proving the invincibility of their love no matter what it takes. But Cadence is quietly harboring secrets of her own. Dark secrets. Ugly secrets. Secrets that could break a person. And though broken herself and unbearably lonely, she’s determined to protect Sully from her terrible, biting truths. Even if it means locking him out of her life forever.

The only problem is it seems her heart hasn’t quite received the memo. One glimpse of him is all it takes for her to trip into familiar (and, she’ll admit, addictive) feelings that threaten to all but consume her. Now her biggest fear is that her secrets will begin to slowly unravel one by one…long before Sully’s resolve ever does.

Review

The Secrets We Kept by Lily Velez was not quite what I expected. It turned out to be way better. I knew that I would love the book right from the time I got through the first chapter. The story is about Cadence and Sully, a teenage couple that broke up a year ago and is now trying to work out things…well; at least Sully is trying to get Cadence back. However, this is not an ordinary teen couple. Sully and Cadence’s story started out when they met in a foster care. Their foster parents then were abusive and so the kids had to watch out for each other. In this chaos, friendships and a little romance blossomed. However, adoption and an out of state move soon separated the couple.

The characters in this book were all amazing. Cadence is a flawed character dealing with so much in her life. It was easy to sympathize with her and just route for her through the struggles. Sully is way too grownup for his age. He is the guy who takes care of other people around him. Working three jobs, taking care of his younger brother while trying to follow his dreams and also get his girl back, Sully’s life is full of drama. I also liked the support characters especially Hayley. His background story was shocking and moving. Hayley seemed alone in the world. One day he woke up in a wonderful home with a loving family but by the end of the day, he was alone. The narrations about his tragic life and how he was coping were sad. I liked Hayley and wish we could have seen more of him. Other support characters that I liked were Spencer (Sully’s kid brother) and Novah who was a friend to Cadence and Sully. All the main characters were so well developed that it was easy to get immersed into their stories.

The story is narrated through two main timelines. We get to know about current happenings through a number of POVs but there are also flashbacks that give an insight to the characters’ lives a year ago. Velez’s writing is beautiful. The prose had an easy flow and the author has a way of getting readers lost in the story. The writing and the characters made this quite an emotional read. I found myself getting lost in every character’s personal story.

The Secrets We Kept by Lily Velez is a book about first love, family and friendships. It also tackles a number of themes such as mental illness and depression, death, PTSD, adoption and abuse. The book also talks about abortion. I think Velez managed to tackle all these issues with the sensitivity that they deserve. I also liked how the issue of foster care was portrayed in a well-balanced manner with the inclusion of both bad and good guardians.  I also liked the fact that the author gave an in-depth look at each issue. For instance; some of the characters attend group therapy where the discussions are not just mentioned in passing but as a reader, you actually get a deeper understanding of the issues being discussed. It was clear to see that Velez had researched on all these themes in order to portray them in such a detailed, realistic manner. If you are looking for an issue-driven YA then you should definitely read this book.

About the book

  • Title: The Secrets we kept
  • Author: Lily Velez
  • Paperback, 366 pages
  • Published November 8th 2015 by Blue Typewriter Press

About the Author

lily-velez

Lily Velez has been writing stories since she was six years old. Not much has changed since then. She still prefers the written word and her overactive imagination over the ‘real world’ (though to be fair, her stories no longer feature talking dinosaurs). A graduate of Rollins College and a Florida native, when she’s not reading or writing, she spends most of her days wrangling up her pit bulls Noah and Luna, planning exciting travel adventures, and nursing her addiction to cheese. All this when she isn’t participating in the extreme sport known as napping. You can learn more about Lily and her books at www.lilyvelezbooks.com.

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20 comments on “Book Review: The Secrets We Kept by Lily Velez

  1. Shruti | This is Lit
    December 3, 2016

    This seems like an interesting book! Lovely review! 🙂

    • Diana
      December 3, 2016

      It is a wonderful book.If you like YA then definitely check it out.Thanks:-)

  2. Kayla @ Kdrewkthebookworm
    December 3, 2016

    Great review, I’m so glad you liked this book! I found it really interesting, too! Don’t you love that cover?!😍😍

    • Diana
      December 3, 2016

      Oh yeah,I love the cover.That is what attracted me to the book even before I read the blurb.Definitely a wonderful read 🙂

  3. Renee
    December 3, 2016

    Really great review Diana! I don’t read much YA, in fact I don’t think I’ve read any yet this year. I like the author bio addition to the post, it’s nice to read something about the author after hearing about the book. I might try to add that to my posts every now and then

    • Diana
      December 3, 2016

      Thank you.I started reading YA this year.Luckily,I’ve found some really interesting ones.Glad to hear that you like the bio idea.I usually use the goodreads author profile so you can check that when you decide to include the bios in your reviews 🙂

      • Renee
        December 4, 2016

        Thanks, that would’ve been my next question as to where you found those:)

  4. Great review Diana! It wonderful when a novel successfully juggles multiple issues without it becoming an after school special or Lifetime movie of the week. And I love that cover. I’m definitely adding this to my list!💁🏻🤗

  5. Laila@BigReadingLife
    December 3, 2016

    I appreciate your YA reviews, Diana. I don’t read a lot of them naturally but I like to be aware of titles to be able to recommend some to library patrons. One of my reading goals for 2017 is to read more YA! This sounds like a good one for a reader who likes realistic fiction.

    • Diana
      December 5, 2016

      Thank you and I definitely recommend this one:-)

  6. Annie
    December 4, 2016

    So glad that this managed to surprise you and that i was better than you thought it’d be! 🙂 I didn’t know about this one but of course I’m curious about the secrets hehe

    • Diana
      December 5, 2016

      yeah, I totally expected it to be the usual YA but just found out that there is a category of YA described as Issue-driven and this book fell under that. It was good.Thanks 🙂

  7. Grab the Lapels
    December 4, 2016

    I wish more books focused on foster care and adoption. It’s not a very popular topic, at least, not in the books I’ve read.

  8. Drat! I almost requested this on NetGalley, but I’ve been trying to behave myself.😕

  9. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku
    December 9, 2016

    Wow– reading the blurb alone I would have been put off. But you review really shines light into places I never would have expected. Now The Secrets We Kept sounds absolutely fascinating. I also adore books with multiple POVs- I think they are a real challenge to authors, which is why I don’t see them much. But I love them. Thanks for sharing!

    • Diana
      December 11, 2016

      Thank you 🙂 I was looking for a quick,light read when I picked this book.However,it turned out to be deeper than I expected and so well narrated.I also like multiple POVs:-)

      • Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku
        December 11, 2016

        Did this book still fit the bill and satiate you need for a quick, light read? Or did you find it required more mental energy?

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This entry was posted on December 3, 2016 by in Book Review, Bookish Post.
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