Review: Part Two: Dark Secrets by Elizabeth Chandler

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Kids UK, Simon Pulse.

Where did you get this book: Review copy from Simon and Schuster Kids.

Release date: Out now.

Don’t Tell

Official blurb taken from back of the book:

In Don’t Tell, Lauren knows that by returning to the town where her mother drowned seven years ago, she’ll be reliving one of her most haunting memories. When she arrives, she is propelled into a series of mysterious events that mimic the days leading up to her mother’s death. Maybe her mother’s drowning wasn’t an accident after all…and maybe Lauren is next.

Don’t Tell centres around teenager Lauren, who has arrived back at her hometown where her mother tragically drowned seven years ago. Lauren has agreed to stay with Jule, her Godmother, who was best friends with her mum. When Lauren arrives, she meets Jules’s daughters: her childhood friends Holly and Nora. Nora was the one who came upon Lauren’s dead mother floating in the lake, and ever since then – to Lauren’s dismay – Nora has become very disturbed. And for some reason, Nora does not want Lauren there. Holly is more friendly to Lauren, and they pick up their friendship. Lauren also meets her childhood friend Nick, and an attraction between them is evident from the start, but things are complicated when Lauren finds out that Nick is dating Holly. Lauren’s stay brings back painful memories, and when suspicious happenings befall Lauren, she starts to think that her mother’s death wasn’t an accident, and someone really wants Lauren dead.

I enjoyed Don’t Tell a lot more than the first book in the Dark Secret series. And Don’t Tell doesn’t feature reincarnation. Huzzah! It again features mystery and a ghostlike type of plot, but what I liked most about this story was that it delivered on the spooky level – especially Nora.

What I liked about Lauren was that she was so normal, and when strange and violent incidents are directed towards her, she has realistic reactions and does the normal thing and goes to the police even though others don’t believe what’s happening to her. In a way, Lauren was the adult of the story as Jule, her godmother, came across as quite immature: leaving her daughter Holly to sort out the financial business of the house, ignoring the suspicious things happening to Lauren. And in many ways, I found Jule to be quite despicable, in letting her daughter Nora – who obviously had problems – go without any help whatsoever, and simply ignoring it because it was easier. And Lauren sees this, and wonders why. So despite her being a teenager, Lauren came across as quite adult in Don’t Tell, and with a distant father, and a dead mother – who wasn’t the best mum when she was alive – Lauren comes across as older than she is.

I did like the side romance between her and Nick which wasn’t heavy or too adult in tone. It was light hearted and Nick didn’t come across as the broody dark mysterious teenager hero. He acted, and sounded his age which was quite refreshing. Their romance features a tiny bit of teenager angst, with him dating Holly. When Nick becomes very distant towards Lauren, I wondered why, as it seemed to happen without any reason. But when the reasoning becomes apparent towards the end, that’s when things started going slightly downhill for me. The story was paced brilliantly until the end, and it seemed like all of the answers suddenly had to be answered in the last two chapters. So I felt it ended up like an explosion of plots shooting in all directions. You learn more about Jules, and who she really is, and that felt so out of the blue. You then learn what really happened to Lauren’s mother, and again it was all explained towards the end, and it just felt so rushed. The same as Nick’s reason for being distant, which became too complicated. I think that if the story could have been longer, the events that exploded towards the end could have been paced more evenly.

But nonetheless, Don’t Tell is a very enjoyable story that features a strong mystery, and a romance that makes for a satisfying read. I give Don’t Tell 4.5 stars.

Overall, I give the Dark Secrets omnibus 4.5 stars.

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