After enjoying Shana Norris’s first installment of her Stolen Kiss series, The Boyfriend Thief, last year, I recently read book two, The Secrets Between You and Me. This installment is a companion novel to The Boyfriend Thief and follows the main antagonist, Hannah Cohen, as she spends the summer in the mountains of North Carolina. I ended up enjoying The Secrets Between You and Me more than the first book, and can’t wait to share my take on Hannah’s story with y’all!
What I Loved
This novel is set in the mountains of North Carolina in the city of Asheville during the summer. The characters explore The Biltmore Estate and climb Chimney Rock, both locations which I’ve visited before on vacation. As a native of NC, I feel the author perfectly captured the beauty of the western part of our state, and it was fun to revisit the mountains through the eyes of her characters.
Hannah’s Character Arc
The main character, Hannah Cohen, is first introduced to readers as the “mean girl” in the first book in the series, The Boyfriend Thief. In this installment, readers get to learn the history that created Hannah’s frigid front, and watch her overcome her controlling lifestyle through the help of the new friends she meets in Asheville. I have never before read a more redeeming character arc, and I appreciate that Norris took the time to show readers that villains can always turn their lives around.
Jude, a teenage resident of Asheville, becomes Hannah’s love interest. Jude also has a well-developed, troubling past, and I enjoyed watching him come out of his shell around Hannah. Due to his unique personality traits, Jude quickly became one of my favorite love interests in YA fiction.
Battling the Image of Perfection
The main message in this novel is that we should not put on a front in order to seem perfect, especially if we are dealing with harsh circumstances such as addiction, depression, etc. The story shows how both adults and children deal with the consequences of faking happiness and hiding personal problems, and I feel this is a message many young adults need to hear as mental health issues are becoming more prominent in our society.
Overall, I would love to read more about Hannah and Jude, and am eager to check out the third installment of the series soon! 🙂
Talk to Me, Arrowheads!
Have you read any of Shana’s books? If you enjoy fantasy novels, Shana Norris also has a YA mermaid series that I’ll be checking out soon, called Swan Landing. Check back here on Fridays for more book reviews!
Aim high, stay strong, and always hit your mark.