Monday, 8 September 2014
Review: No One Needs to Know by Amanda Grace
Format: Paperback / eBook
Released: September 8th, 2014
Olivia's twin brother, Joey, has been her best friend her whole life. But when he starts dating, Olivia is left feeling alone, so she tries to drive away Joey's girlfriends in an effort to get her best friend back. But she meets her match in Zoey, Joey's latest fling. A call-it-like-she-sees-it kind of girl, Zoey sees right through Olivia's tricks. What starts as verbal sparring between the two changes into something different, however, as they share their deepest insecurities and learn they have a lot in common. Olivia falls for Zoey, believing her brother could never get serious with her. But when Joey confesses that he's in love with Zoey, Olivia has to decide who deserves happiness more: her brother or herself?
I'm quite a fan of Amanda Grace's novels. They're always realistic and daring, and stand out from other YA because of their topics. No One Needs to Know is a quick read, though unfortunately I didn't enjoy it as much as her other books. I loved the premise but felt that character development was lacking - perhaps a longer page count would have allowed for more time to get to know Olivia and Zoey and to really make the reader feel that they understood them.
No One Needs to Know easily falls under the LGBT category, which is always, always a good thing when it comes to YA literature. We need more of it! The main gist is that Olivie and Joey are twins and best friends, and have been inseparable all through their lives. Joey is pulling away and growing up, while Olivia is still very much attached to him. Joey meets Zoey, they have a thing, but then an attraction forms between Olivia and Zoey. Then comes the question: does she choose Zoey and her own happiness, or does she choose to leave Joey and Zoey alone? It's quite a tricky conundrum.
While this relationship of three people is explored in detail to some extent, I wish there had been more to Olivia and Zoey. I get their sudden attraction and overwhelming feelings for each other, but I think there should have been more in-depth development of said feelings. Everything happens very quickly and, even though it's still realistic - teenagers can of course feel things instantly - it didn't feel right for these two characters. If it had just had that extra attention to detail and more character exploration, this could have been a fantastic novel.
No One Needs to Know isn't bad, it just feels unfinished, like it ended too soon and Amanda Grace still had more to say. Sometimes the quick, pacy novel works, but in this instance it needed to be fleshed out more. Another hundred pages or so would have done nicely, though I get that word count is always a factor when writing a book. I will continue to read anything Amanda Grace writes based on my love for her previous books (The Truth About You and Me is a must-read), and I'm genuinely sad I didn't enjoy this one more than I did.