Tuesday, March 24, 2015

No One Needs To Know, by Amanda Grace

Olivia is a rich snooty girl from Point Ruston.  Zoey is the scholarship student from Hilltop with the slutty reputation.  As far as the social circles go at Annie Wright, they couldn't be further apart.  But a shared school project and the fact that Olivia's twin brother Liam has started to date Zoey brings them together. 

When Liam starts getting serious about Zoey, Olivia is startled.  Liam never gets serious about girls!  And when Olivia starts to really look at Zoey, she discovers that she shockingly actually likes her too.  And the two opposites find that they have more in common than they ever could have guessed.  But how will they break the fact that they like each other to Liam?

It's the love triangle that the blurb harps on, but the love triangle isn't even introduced until the last seventy pages.  For me, the real story is about the social chasm between these two girls (and a lot more could have been done with it!).  In fact, the underlying problem with the book is that a lot more could have been done with all of this.  Too many interesting sources of conflict (Zoey's family life, her relationship with Liam, Olivia's best friend Ava, the two girls coming out, Olivia's failing gymnastics career, the absence of Liam/Olivia's parents, etc.) are introduced but neither developed nor exploited for their dramatic potential.  What we get is a great sketch of a story.

Now, even if I found the story a bit too brisk, I have to give a special shout out to the effort put into the setting.  I've spent two years in Tacoma WA and the attention to the local detail in this book is great.  Grace knows her town and she isn't afraid to use accurate local geography to tell her story.  I loved that I could picture the settings and not be distracted by inaccuracies.  Take note authors:  if you're going to place your novel in a real place, be sure to get your facts correct.

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