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Ratings and Book Reviews (2 3 star ratings
2 reviews
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2.3 out of 5
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    Poor planning

    Trigger warning: self harm, harm to others, statutory rape Six Little Secrets is a short novella that has a Pretty Little Liars meets Breakfast Club-esque plotline. Simply, the story is that during detention, these teenagers start to get messages that blackmail them, as a punishment for something they did. The group covers the stereotypical cliques in high school - a cheerleader, a popular girl, a rich girl, a studious boy, a bad-boy type guy - and they all are paying for their actions. I would have liked the fact that the story is pretty short and to the point, but the plot is riddled with holes. Even if you factor in the ending, the possibility of all those things happening and the perpetrator anticipating and preparing for their decisions seemed slim. Also, dude, the punishments did not fit the crimes. The things they were asked to do? Horrible! One was given a choice to self mutilate, another asked to publish nudes on the internet - keep in mind these things are being asked of underage people - which is not justifiable in any circumstance, let alone the flimsy far-fetched reasons for which they were tormented. It felt manufactured and just to justify the blackmail - and yet, after that, the characters think they deserved it. Heck, the only person who deserved it was the one engaging in pedophilia and according to me, they got off lightly compared to the other teens who at most can be blamed for selfishness. The good things about the book - the writing and the characters. Good character development for such a short novel, except for the blackmailer (that just seemed lazy). This book could have done better with the concept if it wasn't just out to shock. Conceptually, it would have been good but it failed to engage me.
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    Thought Provoking Young Adult Contemporary Thrille

    Duncan’s Six Little Secrets is a young adult fiction that has a John Hughes Breakfast Club feeling with a dark edge. Told in the third person, the characters are well drawn and the plot is very engaging. Each of the seven main characters all play to prototypes which include the class clown, prom queen, fashionista, geek, etc . As each character becomes part of a dangerous game concerning the dark deed that they may or may not be part of, things take a drastic turn. Duncan’s plot is captivating and keeps the reader entertained. She jumps back and forth in time to show the circumstances of how each of the characters find themselves in Saturday detentions. This works extremely well as it gives some depth to their personality types. This is where the author really comes into her own as she has perfectly captured her audience and characters. What starts out as stereotyping, Duncan switches things up to break away from the mould with great aplomb. As this is a young adult fiction, the game is toned down for its audience and there maybe some hardened readers out there that may feel slightly cheated. The ending is a bit rushed and felt that with some lengthening and a better build up to the grand finale would have worked a treat. Saying this, I thoroughly enjoyed the book overall. Overall, Duncan’s novella is a winner for the young adult fiction market. As she has broken the classic science-fiction tropes that most YA authors tend to go for, chasing the Maze Runner and Hunger Games dollars. It is refreshing to see a contemporary novel aimed for its audience. It does lend itself to the 13 Reasons Why audience but that shouldn’t take away from the over all premise. Enjoyable, engaging and quick read that ticks all the boxes but lacks a certain depth to make it a fully rewarding read.
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