Blurb: Kelsey Callahan is smart, tough and fiercely loyal to her friends. She wants nothing more than to follow in her father’s footsteps, and be a detective just like her hero, Sherlock Holmes.
A lover of mysteries, she finally gets the chance to solve something on her own when Ethan, a cute but mysterious loner appears in her class. Both fascinated and infatuated with him, Kelsey soon learns there are events at play in Ethan’s life that are both tragic and dangerous.
Events that, the deeper she digs, may end up threatening not only their relationship but their very lives.
What I like: I loved the first book in the James Madison trilogy, so I’m not sure why it took me so long to get around to reading Ethan’s Secret. I’ll be reading Sophie’s Different, the final book in the series next. I really want to know what happens next, even though the characters may be slightly different.
Ethan’s Secret is essentially a story about young love wrapped up in the sinister world of adults. That’s about as much of a spoiler as you’re going to get from me. Kelsey Callahan is a strong young woman with her heart in the right place. She’s the sort of young woman I’d like my daughters to grow up like – if I had children, that is. There is nothing about her character that I don’t like, so if you’re looking for a role model for your own kids, Kelsey is the right direction to go in.
Ethan is a strong young man, though slightly damaged due to his past and the secret that he’s holding on to. He’s a loveable character that I wish I could see more of. Perhaps I can write to Patrick Hodges and persuade him to write a novella detailing Ethan’s life after school. You’ll see what I mean when you read the book!
Without spoiling anything, I will say that the last two chapters made me extremely emotional. The book was a tiny bit slow to begin with, but it was all leading up to the last few chapters which progressively increased in pace until I almost couldn’t put the book down. Almost. I do have to sleep at some point, you know. But I was definitely fighting back the tears at one point, never having realised how many emotions I’d actually invested into these characters.
I also like how the ending wasn’t a complete fairy tale. Hodges could have given everyone a happy ending immediately, but he’s kept it in line with the real world and I liked that. I would have been a little disappointed had everything worked out completely fine in the end. Though it would have saved a little of the heartache.
The book itself covers many themes from bullying to sexuality, and it’s all done in a very sensitive and honest way. I commend Hodges for the way that he wrote about certain characters in this book. It was very well done.
What I don’t like: There wasn’t anything that I disliked about this book at all. The next points are me just being picky! This isn’t really a criticism about the book, it’s more to do with what I managed to pick up on as I was reading. I figured out what Ethan’s secret was very early on, even before the majority of the clues were being dropped. Maybe there were some very subtle clues that I picked up on. It didn’t really take anything away from the book, if anything it made the anticipation towards the end even more exciting, as I thought I knew what was going to happen.
There were quite a few references to Hodges’ first book, Joshua’s Island, that may be lost on someone that hasn’t read that book first, but the references are explained well enough for the reader to be satisfied. However, I would advise that you read Joshua’s Island first purely because it’s such an amazing book. It’s also Kelsey’s introduction and I loved that girl from the moment she was first introduced. You can read my review for Joshua’s Island here.
Ethan’s Secret is a really good read that tackles adolescence and the many obstacles that get thrown at you. It’s a must read for all teenagers who feel a bit different. You’re not alone.
Until the next time,
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