I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.No One Needs to Know by Amanda Grace
Published by Llewellyn Publications on 2014-09-08
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Gay & Lesbian, Teenage girls, Young Adult
Olivia's twin brother, Liam, has been her best friend her whole life. But when he starts dating, Olivia is left feeling alone, so she tries to drive away Liam's girlfriends in an effort to get her best friend back. But she meets her match in Zoey, Liam'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 Liam confesses that he's in love with Zoey, Olivia has to decide who deserves happiness more: her brother or herself?
I really wanted to like No One Needs To Know by Amanda Grace but unfortunately right from the beginning I had this unmistakable feeling that it was not going to match up to the potential which I had seen in the blurb. I just wasn’t pulled into the story the way I thought I would be. I couldn’t feel any depth to some of the things that the characters were going through, and to me, it was a little obvious as to where the “love triangle” was going to wind up which unfortunately left little mystery to the story for me. It just didn’t hold enough spark for me to be fully invested in what was going on within the pages.
Olivia and Liam are twin siblings who both fall for the same girl. In terms of characterization, they are polar opposites but, they are always been close. Liam is laid back and chill on the pathway to discovering who he is while Olivia is very uptight and drives for perfection in everything. Olivia is also part of the popular crowd in school but is a little obvious to how people perceived her and who she really wanted to be. In many ways, No One Needs To Know is a coming of age story for Olivia. She makes several self-discoveries over the course of the book which she was blind to before or which she did not want to confront. This is one aspect of the book which I admittedly did like because I’m always a fan of seeing a character change and develop as they take some form of a self-discovery journey.
The girl which both Olivia and Liam fall for is named Zoey. Zoey comes from a completely different background. While Olivia and Liam are upper class rich kids, Zoey is on a scholarship for school and is working class. She has to have a part time job at a local burger joint in order to help her mother make ends meet. Her family lives in a bad neighborhood and her little sister is constantly being harassed and beaten by the other kids in a local school. Add in the fact that within a week of being at the private school on a scholarship, Olivia’s best friend Ava started spreading rumors about Zoey, and you can imagine that she has a bit of a chip on her shoulder. I liked the character of Zoey, and I think out of the three main characters in the book, she was probably my favorite. I also did like how she and Olivia did not get along at first but the more they got to know each other, the more they realized that there was more beneath surface.
No One Needs To Know alternates between Olivia and Zoey’s perspectives which I thought was a good idea as you get to know exactly what the two of them are thinking. I do however wish that we had been able to see more of Liam’s perspective. I felt that many times the other two characters were speaking for Liam, and it would have been nice to know what he was thinking, and how he really felt about his relationship with Olivia and Zoey. His relationship with Zoey started so randomly, and it seemed like he was supposed to be more interested in her than perhaps he really was. Was he really that oblivious to the closeness that was developing between his sister and his supposive girlfriend?
The class differences between Olivia, Liam, and Zoey was something that I wanted to like but I felt that it could have been handled better. Olivia and Liam’s continuous use of plastic credit cards and/or cash in front of Zoey seemed a little pretentious at times. It seemed like they were aware of the difference but yet at the same time still oblivious to the struggles which Zoey and her family may have had to encounter on a daily basis. Every time any mention of class difference was brought up, it felt very cliché, and I couldn’t help wishing that it was being handled with more depth instead of being brushed over time and time again.
All in all, the progression and resolution of No One Needs To Know by Amanda Grace left something to be desired. I felt that there should have been more going on than what was being described. A situation like this needed more attention than what was given to it, and it felt like things were patched up a little too easily. There was no real mystery to how things were going to be resolved. As the type of reader that I am, I couldn’t help but wish that things had been more fleshed out than they were. It was really due to the lack of fleshing out and support that I felt that the full potential was this story was not reached.