All Your Twisted Secrets (Amazon Link) (Note : $1.99 eBook sale this week.)
Author : Diana Urban
Published By : HarperTeen
Year Published : 2020
Genre / Tags : Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller
Formats : Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, eBook
# of Pages : 400 pages
This thrilling debut, reminiscent of new fan favorites like One of Us Is Lying and the beloved classics by Agatha Christie, will leave readers guessing until the explosive ending.
Welcome to dinner, and again, congratulations on being selected. Now you must do the selecting.
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.
I’d like to preface this review but stating that I haven’t read other similar-sounding teen YA whodunnits like One Of Us Is Lying yet. So I’m not sure how derivative this title might be and am just diving in new and refreshed after taking a break from YA.
All Your Twisted Secrets follows a group of teens who all went to the same high school. They are invited to a scholarship dinner… OF DEATH. No really, within only a few pages we discover they’re locked in a dining hall with a large bomb set to go off in an hour.
They’re tasked with killing each other in order to survive, Battle Royale or The Hunger Games-style (though this has more in common with 999 or Danganronpa but I digress...) all they have is a syringe containing some deadly solution and a note indicating that they need to decide on one person of the group to kill with the syringe or they will all die when the bomb goes off.
The whole vibe of this book reminds me of teen-oriented dark comedies from the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s. The characters are stereotypical but I kind of low key grew to like each of them and didn’t want any of them to die. The main character and narrative voice is Amber. For a well-rounded lead who isn’t too much of any particular archetype, I found her surprisingly gutsy and likable. She has a passion for music and is about to break up with her boyfriend who wants her to choose him over her dreams. She switched friend groups in her last year of highschool, resulting in some drama as she is faced with secrets of her past in this dining hall of doom.
Sasha is a popular, ambitious, and manipulative bully who adores Amber but treats Priya badly. Priya is a sort of outcast within the group, and in an on-again off-again friendship with Amber. Diego is a sort of star-crossed (lover?) friend of Amber, a genius inventor and all around decent person it seems. Robbie is Amber’s boyfriend and jock who is kind of dumb but gives off wholesome vibes. Scott is another sort of outcast in the group who knows startling things about some of the rest of the cast and has a seedy persona.
I’m making it sound so lame and typical but the dramatic flair of the characters, their ensuing arguments, and twisty-turny secrets were a total guilty pleasure. Aided also by the great approach to chapters and hectic pacing which I’ll get into shortly.
I went into this story and got to know this cast with one hopeful expectation- that one of them is a traitor either responsible for or involved in this entire debacle. Just to up the ante, lets just say I wasn’t too disappointed. After all, if you’re going to cramp a bunch of characters in an escape room battle royale, there just has to be at least one treacherous character. It should be an expectation, if not an outright rule for executing this scenario.
The chapters alternate from past and present perspectives. The past details important events that lead up to the revealing of various secrets that the characters hold and difficulties they’ve faced. Each past chapter works to give you more to work with in guessing who the perpetrator might be. The present chapters follow the characters, minute by minute, as they’re slowly losing their minds from increasingly high temperatures in the dining room. Present chapters are suitably chaotic and wildly entertaining as the clock ticks down.
Without revealing anything about the most major twist and ending overall, I’ll just say that I didn’t find it totally satisfying but the journey there did contain enough surprises to compensate.
All-in-all, I really enjoyed this author’s fast-paced style. Recommendable if you’re looking for a book that goes down easy and has a sense of fun, in a warped sort of way. (I was going to say twisted but this review already has too many corny lines. ._.)
Overall Rating – 8.5/10
Why you should try it – Fast-paced thriller with dynamic jumps from past to present that weren’t disorienting. Simple and inviting writing style. I liked most of the characters, even if they’re quite typical in execution. A fully explained ending.
Why you might not like it – The character types won’t be for everybody. Though the ending does seek to explain everything, it does stretch the boundary of belief a bit much.
All Your Twisted Secrets (Amazon Link)
Thanks for reading my review of All Your Twisted Secrets! Have you read this book or are you interested in reading it? Though I’ve been less active in these past months, I have several reviews queued and am looking forward to being more active in the bookish community in general. I’ve been reading a lot more in June and can’t wait to share my thoughts and check out the bookish posts of everyone I’m following- thanks again for your time and for checking out this post. ~ Kitty