Welcome to dinner, and again, congratulations on being selected. Now you must do the selecting.
READ IF YOU…
- Enjoy a Breakfast Club character set
- Like high school settings
- Are in the mood for a YA thriller
Title: All your Twisted Secrets | Author: Diana Urban | Rating: 3/5
All your Twisted Secrets ended up being a decent thriller. It was certainly YA, which made it a bit younger than my preference, but the writing was fast-paced and pulled me out of a recent reading slump.
What do the queen bee, star athlete, valedictorian, stoner, loner, and music geek all have in common? They were all invited to a scholarship dinner, only to discover it’s a trap. Someone has locked them into a room with a bomb, a syringe filled with poison, and a note saying they have an hour to pick someone to kill … or else everyone dies.
The character set is a Breakfast Club portfolio of personalities, which made it both cliche yet easy to read. I did think a lot of the characters fell into a cookie-cutter style of depiction, but it wasn’t offensive to read, and considering the target audience, made sense.
Six high school students, some of them friends, some former friends, are locked in a hotel dinner hall with a syringe, a bomb, and one hour to escape. But to escape, they have to kill one of them, or they all die.
The story kept me wondering who in the world would do this, and why. I kept jostling between thinking the syringe and bomb were fake, to wondering if maybe it was real, and back to thinking they were only props. So the seesaw kept me engaged and wanting to get to the end.
Amber Prescott is determined to get her classmates and herself out of the room alive, but that might be easier said than done. No one knows how they’re all connected or who would want them dead. As they retrace the events over the past year that might have triggered their captor’s ultimatum, it becomes clear that everyone is hiding something. And with the clock ticking down, confusion turns into fear, and fear morphs into panic as they race to answer the biggest question: Who will they choose to die?
Through the main character Amber, we see the relationships between the students. We learn her older sister committed suicide because of bullying. We also see how her best friend Priya is bullied, and the end of their friendship as Amber becomes friends with Priya’s bully.
I’m unsure about Amber – she seems driven and smart, and yet makes bad choices in her relationships. She strikes me as having the potential to be a strong character, but also stuck in her teenage mentality – which makes sense given she’s a senior in high school. Still, considering her sister’s bullying in the past, I’d have thought she’d recognize the signs of bullying more readily, especially when it came to her best friend Priya.
What annoyed me was Amber’s inattention to Priya, and even to herself. Her significant other Robbie has been pressuring her to go to college with him, even though Amber wants to go to a different school to pursue her own career dreams. Robbie doesn’t seem to care and only wants Amber to stay with him and go to his college and tells her she could pursue her career online and doesn’t even need to go to school for it. Still, Amber wastes time with him, even though she should have dropped him. Still, this is YA mentality and did fit in with the characters’ ages.
I started guessing the twist towards the end, but dismissed it at one point, so when the twist was revealed, it was still a surprise. I think that saved the book for me – it was going well and I enjoyed it, but the twist made it much more enjoyable and provoking.
I wouldn’t say this was the best thriller I read, but it was one of the better YA thrillers I’ve come across.