Published by HarperTeen on May 24th 2016
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Romance, General, Family, Siblings, Young Adult, Love & Romance
eARC provided by HarperCollins
Debut author Laura Tims writes an intense and utterly gripping contemporary YA tale perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars. Joy has done everything to protect her twin sister...including murder.
Joy killed Adam Gordon for what he did to her sister, Grace. At least, that’s what she thinks happened. Now Adam can’t hurt anyone ever again, and her sister can be free from the boy who harmed her.
But someone else knows what Joy did, and they’re going to out her as a cold-blooded killer if she doesn’t expose the scandalous secrets bubbling just below the surface of her mundane town. As the demands escalate, and she finds herself falling for Adam’s half brother, Joy must figure out the blackmailer’s identity before everything spirals out of control.
Oh no! Please do not believe the Goodreads rating for Please Don’t Tell. It is so good. I practically read it in one sitting.
This story follows twins Grace and Joy. Joy and Grace aren’t really honest with each other anymore since last summer when Grace tried to break out of her shell and ended up getting raped. Grace was raped by Adam last summer. She is the smart twin and is currently having a semester out of school to complete a home-study project. Joy is the fun one, the one with bad grades and loads of friends. Joy has a problem now since thinks she killed Adam by pushing him off the quarry on his land. Adam is an a-hole and probably deserved what happened to him, but Joy can’t remember what happened at the party. Joy just knows she wanted to kill him and now he is dead. When blackmail letters start arriving for Joy she has no choice but to do what the blackmailer wants or face jail time for murder.
The tension in this story is real. This story starts off with Joy in the bathroom getting sick. It is day one after Adam’s death and Joy is scared. She is accompanied by her good friend Preston (Pres) who thinks she is just upset about Adam being dead. This story follows Joy to the funeral and then when she starts getting the blackmailer’s letters. In Grace’s POV we go back to the beginning of summer and see what motivated Grace to hang out with Joy and party with her. Both of these girls come to life as the story unfolds. I loved them both.
There are plenty of supporting characters in this story. The reader gets to know each of these characters with Joy and Grace individually and together. I felt like even though there is the mystery of the blackmailer’s identity this is still such a character driven story. I went back and forth picking suspects but in the end I was surprised and then again I was wrong. The author keeps a great pace while really digging into each twin and allowing us to see them as they really are, and not just how people perceive them.
The town goes through some shocking revelations after Adam’s death as Joy is forced to expose secret after secret. If I had one complaint it would be that we don’t see more of the parent’s/community reactions to these secrets. We only see what these high school students are going through. It is enough though to carry the story and kept me turning pages at a furious pace.
There is the question of believe-ability in this story. How did these kids know so much and figure out how to expose it? What the heck was Grace studying at home for a semester (and how did anyone allow that)? I prefer to allow the story to flow and not get hung up on details. I know this will be a show stopper for some people. Also, some may find the character focus to be a bit slow. I enjoyed every minute of this book though.
The one thing that really stood out to me in this story is that these characters are so genuine. Joy and Grace have pretended for everyone, but when it comes down to it they must be honest and face the ugly truth about themselves. Please Don’t Tell has hard truths about how being human is so damned hard and can be really painful. I really enjoyed this story and would recommend it to any YA fan.
“Girl,” she says. “Use the dame rule for people you’d use if you were out in the ocean. Repair shit. Don’t abandon ship.”
“The amount I care about what you have to say is so small, it’s undetectable by scientists,” she says coolly.