(Website, Twitter, Goodreads)Also by this author: We All Fall Down
Published by Sourcebooks, Inc. on October 6th 2015
Genres: Thrillers & Suspense, Young Adult
His smile is a crime.Emerson May is "the good girl." She's the perfect daughter, the caring friend, the animal shelter volunteer. But when her best friend's brother breaks into her room, his hands covered in blood, she doesn't scream or call the cops. Because when Deacon smiles at her, Emmie doesn't want to be good...The whole town believes notorious troublemaker Deacon is guilty of assaulting his father. Only Emmie knows a secret that could set him free. But if she follows her heart, she could be trusting a killer...You can't always trust the boy next door.Praise for Six Months Later: "Well paced and beautifully written...This romantic thriller will leave readers on the edge of their seats."-School Library Journal "A smart, edgy thriller."-Kirkus Reviews "An intense psychological mystery... has the feel of a high-stakes poker game in which every player has something to hide."-Publishers Weekly
Jaime and I love Natalie D. Richards and when we found out that she had a new book coming out in October, a YA thriller, we jumped at the opportunity to provide all of you with a glimpse of why we love her stories so much! Natalie was kind enough to answer a question about the book AND provide an excerpt so check them out!
If you had to pick only one, what would you say was your favorite scene to write in My Secret to Tell? What was the hardest scene to write?
The easiest scene to write was the scene where Emmie finds Deacon in her room with blood on his hands. He’s such a mess in that scene and she’s so ready to take charge. I really understood both of them so clearly.
The fight scene at the end was BRUTAL. Action scenes are incredibly difficult for most writers. They’re very exciting to think about but quite boring to construct!
My name lands somewhere between a hiccup and a sob, and my feet stall out on the sidewalk in front of my house. I adjust my grip on the phone, hoping I misheard her tone. This doesn’t sound like Chelsea. This voice is breathless.
“I’m here,” I say. “What’s up? You don’t sound right.”
“I’m not.” She takes a shuddery breath.
My shirt’s sticking to my back and cicadas are click-buzzing the end of another blistering day, but I go cold. Something’s wrong.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
“It’s my dad, Emmie,” she says. I can tell she’s crying.
I grab my chest. It’s too tight. Burning. “What happened?”
Her words all tumble out on top of one another, interrupted by shaky breaths. I try to pick out pieces that make sense. “He’s hurt—bleeding—we’re behind the ambulance and I can’t—he’s not—someone attacked him.”
I start climbing the porch steps, because she’ll need me. I’m her best friend, so I should be there. I need to change clothes and go. “You’re on the way to the hospital, right? They’ll help him there.”
Another sharp breath. “I don’t know if they can. He’s so bad. So bad.”
My heart clenches. “Where are you?”
“We’re almost there. Joel’s with me.”
“Okay, good. I’m coming,” I say, crossing my porch and hauling my front door open. “Let me just call Mom. I’ll borrow the car.”
Chelsea’s still crying when I storm down the hallway toward my bedroom.
“Emmie, I can’t find Deacon…”
“Your brother never answers his phone,” I say, pushing open my door. “I’ll run by the docks first and—”
“No. No, he was there. He was at the house.”
Chelsea makes a strangled sound, and I notice the liquid-thick heat in my bedroom. The kind of heat that tells me the air conditioner is broken. Or my window is open.
My gaze drags to my fluttering white curtains, to the dark smudge on the windowsill.
Chelsea’s voice goes low and raspy. “He ran, Emmie. God, he was there with Dad. He was in the house, but he ran.”
I swivel with an invisible fist lodged in my throat. My bathroom door is open, a red-black smudge beneath the knob.
My mouth goes dry, my pulse thumping slower than it should. Then I see the blood on the floor by my sink, and my heart tumbles end over end.
“We’re here. I’ll call soon,” Chelsea says and hangs up.
I see him, his back to my tub and his dark head bowed on one bent knee. Oh God.
He’s covered in blood. It’s on his legs, his hands. Dripping onto my white tile floor. He looks up, and my heart goes strangely steady.
I take a breath that tastes like purpose. “Deacon?”
You have the chance to win a Natalie D. Richards book bundle! Go forth and enter – this is open until 10/25!!
3.5 stars rounding up to 4 because I liked it more than a 3.
Emerson does everything right… she’s an amazing friend, she’s volunteers and she never gets in trouble. But she’s had a crush on her best friends brother for years and he’s the poster child for trouble.
When Deacon shows up in her bedroom covered in blood and practically catatonic she doesn’t ask questions… she simply helps him, because that’s what she does. But she quickly finds out that everyone thinks Deacon assaulted his father and with his temper it’s entirely possible. When it comes down to it though she still has some reservations, she just can’t imagine it was him so she sets out to help Deacon in any way she can.
But if Deacon didn’t do it… who did, and why?
That is the basis of this story. Told from Emmie’s point of view, we only know what she knows, which provides a lot of mystery. I distinctly remember thinking I knew who did it, and as the story progressed I changed my mind and then changed my mind again, so Richards does a really amazing job of keeping the suspense throughout. I have to say my early suspicions were proven correct, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why so that was a total surprise and something I wasn’t really expecting.
I really enjoy the characters that Richards creates in her stories, and I feel the same about both Emmie and Deacon here. I loved that Richards didn’t let Emmie be swayed by her crush on a boy, simply believing everything he said because she liked him… instead she used her smarts to find out the truth. Deacon, who’s a year or two older than Emmie, is the notorious player who hasn’t really noticed her all these years. And I really love when there is a friendship to build a relationship off of which we definitely have here, so that was a bonus to their finding that spark within each other.
Though I think my issues with the story was that under the circumstances and where the story starts there was little time for as much romance as I would have liked to see in this story, I do kind of wish we had gotten more. I also felt like a lot of the build to why Deacon finally noticed her or why Emmie was interested in him wasn’t there and therefore I didn’t feel the connection between them as much as I would have liked.
My Secret To Tell is definitely going to appeal to fans of YA suspense and mystery with just a hint of romance. The story itself is fast paced and well plotted and full of intrigue… and it just might keep you guessing who the bad guy really is until the very end.
I’m definitely going to be reading anything Richards writes in the future and if you haven’t picked up any of her titles I urge you to do so… everything she writes is unique and interesting and you just can’t go wrong!