Published by Harper Teen on August 1st, 2017
Gorgeously written and emotionally charged, The Secret History of Us explores the difficult journey of a teenage girl who must piece her life together after losing her memory in a near-fatal accident.
When Olivia awakes in a hospital bed following a car accident that almost took her life, she can’t remember the details about how she got there. She figures the fog is just a symptom of being in a week-long coma, but as time goes on, she realizes she’s lost more than just the last several days of her life—she’s lost her memory of the last four years. Gone is any recollection of starting or graduating high school; the prom; or her steady boyfriend Matt. Trying to figure out who she is feels impossible when everyone keeps telling her who she was.
As Liv tries to block out what her family and friends say about who she used to be, the one person she hasn’t heard enough from is Walker, the guy who saved her the night her car was knocked off that bridge into the bay below. Walker is the hardened boy who’s been keeping his distance—and the only person Olivia inexplicably feels herself with. With her feelings growing for Walker, tensions rising with Matt, and secrets she can’t help but feel are being kept from her, Olivia must find her place in a life she doesn’t remember living.
Oh my goodness you guys! I don’t think I’ve reviewed any of Jessi Kirby’s books on this blog, but I know I reviewed her last release on my old blog. After reading her previous book, Things We Know By Heart, I knew Kirby was going to be one of my favorite authors. So I waited for her next book and when it went up on Edelweiss, I immediately snatched it up with no idea when I was going to be able to read it. It was a pretty easy choice to put this book on my ARC August TBR and I was still excited to read it, which is always a good thing. I basically read the entire thing in one afternoon.
I love when I can get pulled into a book immediately and that’s exactly what happened with this book. This book begins with Liv just coming out of a coma. She remembers her parents, brother and her longtime friends, Paige and Jules but she doesn’t remember her longtime boyfriend Matt or anything after the summer before high school. Books about memory loss usually excite me and this one was no exception. Especially given the extent of Liv’s memory loss. I wondered what, if anything was being kept from her in a misguided attempt to not upset her. I wondered why she seemed to be able to remember her family and her friends, but her boyfriend was a complete mystery to her.
And then there was Walker. Who was he? Why did looking at him give her butterflies? Had there been something between them and if so, who all knew about it? I had so many questions about Walker and as much as I enjoyed this book, I longed for more insight into Walker. I know this was Liv’s story, but I would have loved to have seen more of Walker than we did. We do finally get answers on the Walker front, but not until the end and I was not particularly fond of the ending because it was kinda abrupt and things kinda ended fast.
I loved Liv’s family. They were a solid, consistent presence in her life. They didn’t disappear for convenience sake which is what I see so often in YA books. Parents are either absent in the book or they don’t give a crap what their kids do. Liv’s parents loved her and were in her life 100% trying to help her deal with everything that had happened. I was borderline obsessed with her brother, Sam as well. He was funny, kind and he treated Liv like normal. Like the accident never happened, which was what Liv wanted from everyone.
Liv’s love of photography was also really fun to see. I was into photography a lot in high school as well and I don’t get to see much of the photography love in YA. I don’t think my pictures would have ever been as great as hers appeared to be.
Final thoughts: This was very much a Jessi Kirby book and if you enjoy contemporary YA books, you need to pick this one up.