Do you ever get that feeling, while reading a book, where you’re completely absorbed in the story and you just can’t put it down? It’s almost like eating delicious food, or being wrapped in a warm blanket.
You don’t want it to end, because you’re just in the MOOD for reading.
That’s what I felt like while reading All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban. Thanks to the combination of my mood, the thrilling and rather fluffy plotline, and the easy-to-read writing style, I flew through this YA thriller.
About the Book:
Title: All Your Twisted Secrets
Author: Diana Urban
Genre: YA, mystery, thriller
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Favorite quote: “Not everything can go exactly the way you plan, no matter how much you want it to.”
When high school senior Amber Prescott gets an invitation to a prestigious scholarship dinner along with five of her peers, she’s looking forward to the opportunity for an extra $20,000 towards her dreams of become a film score composer.
But when the host never shows, it doesn’t take long for the guests to realize that they are the subjects of some sort of twisted game: the door is locked, there is no cell service, and the clock is ticking. Literally.
On the center of the table is a syringe of poison, a time bomb, and a letter informing the teens that unless they choose one person to kill within the hour, no one will make it out alive.
Though bored me really enjoyed reading this book, critical me had some mixed feelings.
First things first: the plot was very gripping! I read the entire book in one sitting, effectively yanking me out of my reading slump. There was tons of suspense, but some of the story required immense suspension of disbelief.
Why would these kids go to a scholarship dinner for a scholarship that isn’t even given out at that time of year, based on an unsigned invitation and no other information? And that’s not even the most unrealistic part.
I’m not going to spoil the decently twisted ending, but I almost had to laugh when I finished the last chapter because it was so over the top. Was it entertaining? Sure. Could this scenario actually happen in real life? I doubt it. Did the whole motive and scheme make sense? Not totally. But you know, I still thought it was satisfying. Mostly satisfying.
Similarly to One of Us is Lying, this book has a very intense, almost obtrusively YA feel. To the point where, again, I was trying not to facepalm while these characters, instead of acknowledging their literal life-or-death situation, were just concerned about “OMG! You like him?!”
This is the reason people hate on YA.
Also, I wasn’t a huge fan of the writing. Some of the dialogue felt a bit manufactured and awkward.
There was a lot of showing instead of telling, a fair amount of melodrama, and some scenes that made me vaguely feel like I was reading the screenplay of High School Musical.
BUT I did find the drama intriguing, and I was definitely hooked until the end. The writing style was simple, which made the plot move faster.
I loved that each character had their own unique passions and interests, though; it was easy to differentiate between them, and for once, we got a protagonist with actual hobbies and ambitions!
Amber aspires to be a composer and writes film scores for fun, which is an extremely interesting hobby that I don’t think I’ve ever seen in a book before.
A few more points to Diana Urban for realizing that high school is stressful and not everyone parties all day. (I am now an upperclassman and I have NEVER been to a party- not that I particularly want to)
However, like I said before, so much of this book was fabricated and overdramatized. Perhaps the most obvious example is one character, Sasha, who is the Regina George of this high school. Except she’s also going to Harvard. And she’s also the lead in the school play. And she also loves to drink. And she is the meanest girl in school.
Most of the characters were written as caricatures of certain high school stereotypes, or written to possess almost unbelievably exaggerated characteristics. It was just… distracting. Combined with the plot, I knew I was reading a fictional YA thriller. And definitely a YA thriller. The fourth wall was unintentionally broken because of the story’s substance.
Extraordinarily good books feel REAL; this one just didn’t do that for me. But I definitely enjoyed reading it.
If you’re in the mood for a dramatic, tea-filled, suspenseful but very YA-ish thriller, I would recommend this book to you.
Apparently this was Diana Urban’s debut novel; I will definitely be keeping tabs on her because I think she has the potential to become a really popular writer!
Have you read All Your Twisted Secrets? Did you enjoy it? Feel free to leave a comment.
Also, if you haven’t already, be an awesome person and: