Rating: (3 / 5)
With a very fast moving plot and a few good twists, this story about two teenage girls falling in love with each other puts us through a whole range of issues. From teenage drama, to abusive households, through self-hatred and self-harm, sexual discovery, appearances and faith, Ms. Dunne takes them all.
Nicola Jackson is an abused stepdaughter with a clueless mother and a disgustingly evil stepfather. Jennifer O’Connor, a social butterfly, popular and the perfect daughter, is also a self-cutter with a traumatic childhood event. When they literally run into each other, Jenny senses something about Nic and a bond is formed. As the relationship develops, they learn the good the bad and the ugly about the other and fall in love. As shit hits the fan, Jenny will have to decide how worth her relationship with Nic is, as opposed to her social status and family opinion.
It is interesting how Ms. Dunne portrays Nicola and Jennifer on opposite sides of the spectrum – one abused by a family member and the other self-abused – but dealing with similar feelings, secrecy and fear, both discovering.
On the other hand, it was disturbing to see lesbianism directed a bit toward having a reason (insensitive boys, ugly sex, disgusting stepfathers, etc.). In the twists and turns it seems that inadvertently Ms. Dunne provides reasons for them to be gay. Nothing makes you gay you just are because you are, and providing reasons or linking some life event seems way off the mark. Either way I don’t believe it was the author’s intentions but, as I said, it just seems to have turned that way by portraying the characters the way they are.
All and all, Ms. Dunne’s story is a worthy read, with likable characters and a developing romance, with heartbreak and happiness, and a hopeful ending.Secret Lies Published December 16th 2013 by Bold Strokes Books