Title: My Secret to Tell by Natalie D. Richards
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Mystery/Suspense, Romance
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
His smile is a crime.
Emerson May is “the good girl.” She’s the perfect daughter, the caring friend, the animal shelter volunteer. But when her best friend’s brother breaks into her room, his hands covered in blood, she doesn’t scream or call the cops. Because when Deacon smiles at her, Emmie doesn’t want to be good…
The whole town believes notorious troublemaker Deacon is guilty of assaulting his father. Only Emmie knows a secret that could set him free. But if she follows her heart, she could be trusting a killer…
You can’t always trust the boy next door.
My Secret to Tell by Natalie D. Richards is a very intriguing young adult mystery. With just a hint of romance, this suspense-laden novel is sure to be a hit with teen readers.
Emerson “Emmie” May is a good girl who does everything right but even she is feeling the strain of her parents’ expectations for her future. Ever since her older brother Landon crashed and burned during his first year of college, all of her parents’ dreams are resting on her shoulders. However, even her fear of disappointing them cannot withstand her loyalty to the Westfield family and despite their pleas to stay away from them after their father is brutally attacked, Emmie cannot abandon her friend Chelsea and her brother (and Emmie’s secret crush), Deacon.
Emmie and Chelsea have been best friends for years and the two share everything. So when Chelsea’s father is assaulted in their home, Emmie is the first person she calls. Emmie is shocked to learn that Deacon is the prime suspect in the attack due to their tempestuous relationship. But when she returns home to find him waiting in her bathroom covered in blood, Emmie does what she does best: she cleans him up and offers her support. However, even she begins to doubt his innocence in the days after the attack once Deacon goes into hiding. Although Emmie remains unsure of his guilt, one thing is absolutely certain: both Chelsea and Deacon are keeping secrets from her. But do these secrets have anything to do with the attack on their father?
Emmie and Deacon are well-developed, multi-faceted characters. Emmie is caught between her loyalty to her friends and her need to please her parents (which is something teens will definitely relate to). The issues she is dealing with are pretty straight forward but it is only a matter of time before she has to decide whether to follow her heart regardless of her parents’ expectations.
On the surface, Deacon certainly seems troubled but he is also a caring and compassionate young man. He has had a few scrapes here and there but there is no denying his relationship with his father is deeply troubled. Although the police have good reason to suspect he has something to do with his father’s assault, it soon becomes obvious the police have focused exclusively on him. Deacon is not just avoiding the police; he is conducting an investigation of his own. He uncovers some puzzling clues, but, to his frustration, this new information does little to help him figure out the identity of his father’s attacker.
My Secret to Tell is a clever whodunit with a fabulous cast of characters and an alluring romance that will appeal to teens. The mystery element is interesting and full of unexpected twists and turns. The motive for the crime remains elusive and Natalie B. Richards skillfully utilizes numerous red herrings to keep readers guessing the perpetrator’s identity right up until the novel’s rather dramatic and pulse pounding conclusion.