Monday, August 25, 2014

Review: No One Needs to Know by Amanda Grace

Title: No One Needs to Know
Author: Amanda Grace
Publisher: Flux
Release date: September 8th 2014
Pages: 240
Genre: Young Adult contemporary
Source: NetGalley - I received a free eGalley of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!
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Sometimes, the cost of love is too steep.
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?
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

No One Needs to Know turned out to be quite different than I'd expected. The description makes it sounds like this is just Olivia' story, but we really have alternating chapters from Olivia's and Zoey's POVs. This made me really happy, because, the synopsis makes it out to be like it's Olivia's decision whether Zoey stays with her brother or goes out with her, when that's obviously not for Olivia but for Zoey to decide. And the synopsis also doesn't do Zoey and Olivia's relationship justice: they're not just rivals for Liam's attention: they go to the same school, and they have some history that makes them, well, not quite BFFs. That means we had a really intriguing set-up, to add to love triangle with boy/girl twins that I loved; making for a fascinating premise.

But even though I loved the set-up, the story just isn't developed enough for me to actually love this book. The characters are pretty stereotypical: Olivia is the rich popular girl, and Zoey is the outcast from the wrong side of town. And there really isn't all that much else to them. Their issues could have been interesting to read about, but they're not really explored in any depth. I never got to know them enough to actually care about what happens to them. Even more underdeveloped than Olivia and Zoey is Liam: we find out pretty much nothing about him, and since he's very much part of the central conflict, I think he definitely would have deserved more screen (page?) time and more character development.

Just as underwhelming as the character development is the plot. I did like how Zoey and Olivia's relationship developed, especially in the beginning, but because the characters are underdeveloped, they don't have enough chemistry to make it work. We find out almost nothing about Zoey's relationship with Liam, which also would have been important for the plot. I just couldn't get myself to care, and there are parts when, despite the book being so short, the plot drags. And then there's the ending, which is just ridiculously overwhelming. It is much too happy and the central conflict is resolved way too easily, making that whole storyline feel kind of pointless. 

I did enjoy this story. Like I said, I love the set-up, and the story is entertaining at least. But because of the lack of character development and dragging plot, No One Needs to Know failed to be anything more than that. Sadly, the whole story was just very underwhelming.


  1. Thanks for the honest review! Sounds like something I might skip.


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