All Hannah wanted was a summer break from being “perfect Hannah Cohen” and a chance to forget about the devastating family secret that could ruin her seemingly perfect life. So when she takes off for her eccentric aunt’s house in the mountains of North Carolina and everyone makes one big (wrong) assumption about her past, Hannah figures that it’s easier to live a lie than have to face the truth.
She never expected to make any real friends, like the hilarious and spontaneous Kate and Ashton, who drag her to late night bonfires and ice cream marathons. And she especially never counted on meeting Jude Westmore, the brooding bad boy next door with gray eyes and permanent oil smudges on his fingers, or that he would ever take an interest in her.
Between moonlit movie nights in the bed of Jude’s truck and nearly romantic Ferris Wheel rides, Hannah’s old life seems father away then ever, but can she keep her secret, or is the truth worth the risk of losing everything, including Jude?
The Secrets Between You and Me is a companion novel to The Boyfriend Thief and the second book in Shana Norris’s Stolen Kiss series.
Hannah has had a rough year… she’s always lived her life by a set rules in order to maintain the perfection that her family depends on. They just don’t seem to be working as well as she thought and so she decides to skip out of the summer trip to Paris with her mom and heads to North Carolina to spend time with her Aunt hoping that the secrets won’t come to light.
On her way into town, bad luck has her meeting Jude Westmore… and making a horrible first impression. But once chance meeting leads to two and three and a friendship starts between the two.
Jude has his own issues. The loss of his brother has wreaked havoc on his life. Liam was loved, not only by his family, but most of the town they grew up in. His death has made Jude question anything and everything he thought he wanted and with that, trouble arose. Accused of things he didn’t do, and a reputation for causing trouble have quickly been applied to his name and because of that he has pushed everyone away becoming a bit of a loner.
The friendship that is developed between Jude and Hannah was wonderful to see. They are kindred spirits in a way, searching for the person they are meant to be. What I would have liked to see more of though, is why Jude reached out to Hannah. I had a hard time understanding why after almost a year of pushing everyone away and not confiding in anyone, why he would bond with Hannah, a complete stranger who horribly offended him the first time they met. Why suddenly change for her? I felt like I didn’t understand why he picked her. I really loved their interactions though… the way they opened up to each other and learned to trust and confide.
Jude is the first person Hannah confides in about her family. With her parents both wrapped up in their own issues, and her fear that their secrets will ruin her, she’s determined to hide behind this fake perfection. She has trust issues that much is true and her outlook on life at the age of 17 definitely made me sad.
I had learned my lesson. Don’t let anyone get too close and they won’t have anything they can use to hurt you.
Hannah has had ‘friends’ in her life… but no one she could depend on like she should have. In fact, I dare say, until she came to Asheville, she hadn’t really had any true friends… People that knew her for her (despite any imperfections) and still loved and cared for her.
Jude and Hannah of course don’t have an easy time of it, though I felt that at one point a certain issue that arises was a bit forced. (view spoiler)
Overall I thought this was a good story. A quick read that hits on some heavy topics in a not so heavy way. If you’re looking for coming of age story in the YA genre that really focuses on teens trying to determine who they are in life then definitely pick this one up. This book is listed as a companion story to The Boyfriend Thief, but it’s absolutely not necessary to read that before this one if you don’t want to.