Recently on Twitter I found myself connecting with some authors who have worked with specific publishers that I have been researching. One of the best ways to research publishers--especially small presses--is to look at the books that they've edited.
Granted, I know that this is subjective. The author still has the control in their project--so even if an editor suggests that something be changed, it may or may not happen.
And if a book interests you--obviously buying books to support authors is a good thing. Small press or not.
So, this weekend I downloaded The Best Kept Secret by Wendi Nunnery. This book launched in June 2015 and I am so glad that I took the time to not only reach out and connect with her, but reading her book was a great way to fill my weekend.
It has been a sweet forever since I've read a YA novel and it was worth it!
The book blurb:
In high school, everyone has their secrets. Even well-brought-up Emma Fraser.
Emma’s sophomore year started out all wrong. First, her best friend Andy confessed to losing his virginity in the back seat of a car, leaving Emma all alone in the V-Club. Then the rest of her friends got weird and, suddenly, Emma found herself feeling like a stranger. Now, struggling to find her new place, Emma wonders if things could get any worse.
When Deegan Burke, a rich, gorgeous senior, asks Emma to be his date for the prom, Emma thinks her luck has begun to change. But rather than being able to celebrate, her whole world starts to unravel. And when secrets that once seemed so innocent start to take a very dangerous turn, Emma discovers that friends are friends no matter what…and some secrets aren’t worth keeping.
I ugly cried at the ending.
Well written with great character development. Emma, Andy, Elise, Deegan, Jesse...all relatable characters with the thoughts that most 16 and 17 year olds go through. Sex. Boyfriends. Girlfriends. Struggling with manipulative friendships. Social acceptance. Good relationships with parents. All relatable and for someone who hasn't been a teenager for a loooonnnngggg time, I could understand the dilemmas that they were up against.
And not to give away any spoilers, but the author did a good job at keeping the true issue under wraps--buried, if you will--just like it happens so often in real life.
I loved the friendship between Emma and Andy--especially the conversations about how things are changing between them. I think friendships at that age change so dramatically and so quickly that the act of change can be hard to adapt to. But the author did a beautiful job of capturing that uneasiness and natural questioning that teenagers have about those life changes.
There's also the issue of things aren't as they seem. I had my suspicions about some characters...were they? weren't they? did they? I liked that she kept me guessing and this is the first book in a long time where I haven't skimmed chapters or read ahead to see if my suspicions were correct. And I'm so glad that I stayed in the moment.
The ending wrecked me. Tears. Sniffles. The whole nine-yards. But I will say on one hand I was conflicted--what was Emma's reaction?! But on the other hand--I'm glad we didn't go there.
This was a great debut novel!
Recommend or Pass: Recommend. As I like to call it...a sweet beach read. Perfect for the plane ride to vacation or while curled up by the fire on a chilly night.