Keeping Her Secret by Sarah Nicolas

31573044Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains drinking, sexual situations, and a fairy-tale romance sure to make your heart melt.

The last person Riya Johnson expected to run into at her new summer camp is Courtney Chastain—her childhood best friend and the girl who broke her heart after a secret, mind-blowing, life-altering kiss. She definitely didn’t expect to be sharing a bunk bed with her for four long weeks.

Courtney has what every girl wants—she’s beautiful, rich, and the object of every boy’s desire at Camp Pine Ridge. Too bad none of them make her feel an iota of what Riya’s kiss did all those years ago. But Courtney needs to uphold appearances at all costs—even if it means instigating an all-out prank war with Riya as her main target.

Neither girl can stop thinking about the other…but that doesn’t mean they can give up past hurts and take a chance on a future together.

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My Review:
4.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

This is my first F/F read!!  I read a lot of M/M, but haven’t really sought out many F/F reads up to this point, probably b/c I love my book boyfriends and with M/M you get two.  But I read the blurb for this book and just couldn’t resist.  And I’m so glad I did, because out of the 3 books I got from Entangled Crush this month, this one ended up being my favourite by far!!

I’m not sure what all contributed to my enjoyment, but I will try to shed some light.  Part of it was that I loved the straightforward way in which it was written.  It’s not something I can really pinpoint, but it was smart but simple.  I really felt like I could understand both character’s perspectives, and since they were such different girls in some ways, that can be hard to do.  Riya was pretty easy to love…she has a beautiful soft heart, and you can’t help but admire how she’s not afraid to be who she is…  And there was just something about her personality that spoke to me…maybe it’s the clumsiness?  That she doesn’t have natural athletic ability but actually has to work hard to be as good as she is at volleyball? (not that I ever worked hard at athletics, but I can appreciate the lack of natural talent… 😉 ).  It’s funny, b/c this book was sort of a diversity double whammy, since Riya appeared to be part Indian…though it really didn’t come into play in the storyline at all, and wasn’t made clear until the end what race she was.

Courtney was a bit of a different bag as a character.  It’s strange, b/c there are so many things about her that should have made me hate her in some ways, b/c she’s kind of a weaker character that cares so much about what others think about her.  But Ms. Nicolas does an amazing job of showing how Courtney’s been shaped into the girl she is, both through being in her head in Courtney’s POV, and through some of the conversations with her twin Colt.  So while I was frustrated with her and the choices she made, I actually felt for her and how she came to be who she was, and why she struggled so hard.  It’s that tricky balance in so many YA books, b/c so many teens make some frustrating choices b/c of peer and family pressure, but how do you still make them sympathetic, even when part of you wants to smack them.  And I personally felt that the author achieved that balance in Courtney’s case.

And I really loved the way each girl had such different experiences with their sexuality…and how that became a point of contention in some ways in their secret relationship…  So even at the end when things come to a head, you can see both of them making mistakes, it wasn’t one girl being the “douche” (though I felt more for Riya than Courtney, even if I did understand Courtney’s fear).  So I felt like the book really addressed concerns that many LGBT teens might face.

Then there were all the little things, like great secondary characters.  I loved that there were so many different characters, but most of them were likeable even as they were different.  Other than Bridget, I thought all the girl campers were great.  And Colt was fantastic, if a little too good to be true sometimes.  But it was so nice to see so many people in Riya and Courtney’s corner, knowing they would need the support.

So yeah, I love it when a book hits all my buttons.  Makes me want to happy clap.  😉


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