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The Secret Place | Tana French

“You forget what it was like. You'd swear on your life you never will, but year by year it falls away.”


Genre: Mystery Thriller.
Number of Pages: 464.
Perspective: Alternating Third and First.
Location: Ireland.

The Secret Place follows two detectives as they investigate a murder of a teenage boy that was found on the campus of an all-girls boarding school. For a complete summary, excerpt, and reading guide, you can go here.

I wasn’t sure at first how I felt about this book. It was chosen by my book club, and after discussing it further with them, I think we were mostly on the same page about the book. It is interesting and worth a read, but there are definitely some issues. 

First of all, I thought the main detective was creepy. He is investigating a murder and has to talk to the suspects/witnesses/potential leads at an all-girls boarding school. It is weird to be inside his head and hear his thoughts about the girls and his ploys to get them to like him. It wasn’t meant to be creepy, but that was the vibe I got from him. 

Secondly, there is a weird secret about one of the sets of girls revealed in the middle of the book. It was kind of a huge secret, but never really went anywhere and seemed really out of place for me. It either needed to be left out of the book completely, or it needed to be expanded upon more.

Also, this book is like 99% dialogue. So if you don’t like that, this is your warning. Some of the dialogue [i.e. the teenage girls] is quite terrible. I realize the author is trying to use the lingo that teens would use, but I don’t need to keep reading “OMG amazeballs” repeatedly. 

This book could have been half the length. Most of the book is the two detectives talking back and forth and explaining every possible scenario that could have possibly happened. They literally guessed every different way the murder could have happened. I would have rather had more guesses be my own. 

Overall, this book was worth a read and was an interesting murder to solve. I liked the theme of friendship and how important it is to adolescents. I also enjoyed how it the story took place over the course of one [long] day, and flashbacked to events over the course of the previous year. This book also reminded me a bit of Post Secret and the books Life by Committee and Confess, due to the concept of anonymous confessions and secrets. 

If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here. After you have read it, leave a comment and let me know what you think! 

“I never saw why I should hate what I wish I had. Love it harder. Work your way closer. Clasp your hands around it tighter. Till you find a way to make it yours.” 

3/5 Stars

*****

o Amber Gregg o


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