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A near drowning…a coma for days…and then…
Olivia wakes up to realize she doesn’t remember. Not just the accident—but anything from the last four years. Not high school. Not Matt, the guy who is apparently her boyfriend. Not the reason she and Jules are no longer friends. Nothing.
That’s when it hits her—the accident may not have taken her life, but it took something just as vital: her memory. The harder she tires to remember things, the foggier everything gets, and figuring out who she is feels impossible when everyone keeps telling her who she was.
But then there’s Walker. The guy who saved her. The one who broke her ribs pumping life back into her lungs. The hardened boy who keeps his distance despite Olivia’s attempts to thank him.
With her feelings growing for Walker, tensions rising with Matt, and secrets she can’t help but feel are being kept from her, Olivia must find her place in a life she doesn’t even remember living.
ARC received for review purposes in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I have loved every book by Jessi Kirby, and any time I hear about a book from her, I pounce on it. The Secret History of Us sounded very different from her typical book, but I had faith that she’d write yet another compelling, character-driven book. I’m so sad to even write this, but this book was a huge disappointment. I’ve decided to do this review in bullet form because it’s much easier for me to express my thoughts about this book this way.
What I Liked
- The writing was lovely. As always, Kirby’s writing is stunning. I knew very early on this book wasn’t working for me, but I also was not able to put it down because of the writing.
- Olivia’s reaction to her amnesia was realistic. I thought the author handled that part brilliantly. When Olivia’s emotions surfaced, especially, I found the book to be very engaging. She’s obviously struggling with her memory loss and trying to figure out what happened to her over the years, and who the people around her truly are, and Jessi Kirby captured those frustrations beautifully.
- I liked that by the end of the book, Olivia didn’t magically regain all her memories, because that wouldn’t have been particularly realistic.
What I Disliked
- My biggest issue with The Secret History of Us is that I don’t see what the point of this book was. I thought it kept building up to some big shocking revelation, but it didn’t. It just sort of ended abruptly and I was left scratching my head wondering if my ARC was missing pages. I think this really stemmed from the story not being executed as well as it could have been. I also felt like Kirby made the accident seem like this big mysterious incident, but never really knew how to work with the event to make it memorable.
- Also, the book is on the short side, and it could easily have been a few pages longer to make for a stronger story. In a nutshell, this book had no plot.
- The characters other than Olivia, were not very well-developed, which was a surprise to me because this author is known for taking her time to develop her character. Readers just don’t get to spend enough time with the secondary cast to get to know them.
- What even was with the romance? I’m not even sure I can call it that … So at the beginning of the book we find out that Olivia has a boyfriend who was also with her in the accident. She doesn’t remember him at all, but they try to go on dates and such so she can try to remember. Then there was Walker, the boy who saved Olivia when her car went down into the lake. It’s hinted throughout the book that Walker played a significant role in Olivia’s life before the accident that no one is aware of, but he didn’t even make that significant of an appearance until the very end of the book. All of a sudden Olivia and Walker are kissing, and I was just left wondering where this even came from. We don’t see any build up to this, not even through flashback scenes, and so the romance seemed like it popped up out of nowhere. This, of course, really disappointed me.
In the end, I felt like The Secret History of Us was a weak story, without a lot of foundation to it. I had hopes, but those were sadly not met. I would recommend Jessi Kirby’s previous novels over this one with certainty.