Keep This to Yourself by Tom Ryan
YA Fiction | Mystery
“It’s been a year since the Catalog Killer terrorized the sleepy seaside town of Camera Cove, killing four people before disappearing without a trace. Like everyone else in town, eighteen-year-old Mac Bell is trying to put that horrible summer behind him—easier said than done since Mac’s best friend Connor was the murderer’s final victim. But when he finds a cryptic message from Connor, he’s drawn back into the search for the killer—who might not have been a random drifter after all. Now nobody—friends, neighbors, or even the sexy stranger with his own connection to the case—is beyond suspicion. Sensing that someone is following his every move, Mac struggles to come to terms with his true feelings towards Connor while scrambling to uncover the truth.”
pooled ink Review:
As far as mysteries go this was an entertaining read that will keep you guessing. But if you read plenty of mysteries and keep your mind open to absorbing the little clues then you’ll probably guess at least half the truth.
The difference between real life and a book is the cast of characters. In a real life investigation the number of possibilities and suspects is nearly infinite, but in a book you know that the killer is someone right in front of your face. So with that in mind and by simply ruling people out as the story progressed, I knew that the answer to the riddle could only be a handful of options. Did I outright guess the ending? Nah, not for a while. But honestly, this book did a really good job of twisting and turning things so I was too busy being entertained to really care much about trying to guess the end before the story wanted me to.
Another thing I’ve got to give props to this book for was the realism. There were definite moments where I was like YES. THANK YOU. in regard to how things were handled. Then again there were also times that I felt were more small town clichés rather than realistic. But I didn’t really mind much and these characters annoyed me way less than most teen mysteries do. Really the only things that made me cringe were some of the cheesy romantic moments haha Oof.
Surprisingly I really liked the characters in this book. Lately I’ve been so utterly irritated by teenage characters in books so it was nice to just be able to read the story and accept the characters as they are without constantly rolling my eyes, cringing, or yelling at them haha.
And at last! The police aren’t villains! They really care about the case and they’re open to any information but they’re also realistic and unemotional about it. In other words, they’re professional. I really hate it when authors make the police out to be arrogant antagonists and thus the only reason why the main character(s) can’t go to them upfront and put a stop to the nonsense without stupidly endangering their self. Ugh. But also that ending…it’s an example of what felt like a small town cliché rather than what would actually happen. I remain skeptical but it really didn’t bother me so whatever haha.
Another little detail that isn’t major but I still feel like pointing out (lol) is how I wish Mac’s Library rummage sale idea had been fleshed out a bit more. The book mentions that flyers were being handed out and put up around town or whatever but it still seemed like he only drove to three people’s homes and that’s super suspicious. I mean did he drive around town more? Because if so then the book should’ve mentioned that and if not then that was an obvious slip-up on Mac’s part if he’s trying to be sneaky about his own private investigation especially in a small town that talks. But like I said, something about the storytelling gripped me so these little complaints really didn’t bother me much.
Wow this is not a very eloquent review haha but I really don’t want to spoil anything for you! Did I think it was the most impossible mystery I’ve ever read? No. But I always feel that way when reading books. It’s easier to put the pieces together. Really well done though all around. A bit devious on Mac’s part, a bit cheesy on Quill’s part, a bit over the top on Ben and Doris’ part, a bit easy to guess on the book’s part, but yeah all in all I was entertained and if you’re into teens solving murder cases in a small town then I’d recommend you add this one to your list for sure.
Purchase Here: Keep This to Yourself
Meet Tom Ryan!
Tom Ryan is the author of several books for young readers. He has been nominated for several awards, and two of his young adult novels, Way to Go and Tag Along, were chosen for the ALA Rainbow List, in 2013 and 2014. He was a 2017 Lambda Literary Fellow in Young Adult Fiction. Tom, his husband, and their dog currently divide their time between Toronto and Nova Scotia.