Two Can Keep a Secret
Two Can Keep a Secret
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Annotation: While true-crime afficionado Ellery and her twin brother are staying with their grandmother in a Vermont community known for murder, a new friend goes missing--and Ellery may be next.
Catalog Number: #180743
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Publisher: Random House
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Pages: 327 pages
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: 1-524-71472-0
ISBN 13: 978-1-524-71472-7
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2018022931
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
McManus follows up her smash hit debut, One of Us Is Lying? (2017), with another twisted mystery centered around wily teens. Echo Ridge is an idyllic small town in all ways but one: five years ago, homecoming queen Lacy Kildare was strangled, her body left in the presciently named Murderland theme park. The park changed its name, but the town never moved on cy's body may have been the first one to turn up, but she wasn't the first girl to go missing. Ellery and her twin brother, Ezra, have just moved to Echo Ridge to live with their grandmother while their mom, whose own twin vanished in high school, undergoes a stint in rehab. When another girl goes missing, true-crime obsessive Ellery is determined to find the truth. But Echo Ridge is dangerous, and she and her family may be more involved than she knows. This is as much a social commentary as it is a layered mystery, and a somewhat abrupt finale won't keep readers from speeding their way to the end.
Publishers Weekly
A dead body in the middle of the road (the high school-s science teacher) welcomes twins Ellery and Ezra Corcoran, 17, to their new home in Echo Ridge, Vt., where they-ve been sent to live with their estranged grandmother during their mother Sadie-s court-appointed rehab for opioid addiction. Ellery, a true-crime buff, uses the opportunity to look into Echo Ridge-s notorious unsolved mysteries: the disappearance of Sadie-s identical twin sister after Sadie was crowned homecoming queen 23 years earlier, and the murder of Lacey Kilduff, the homecoming queen found strangled at Murderland, the local Halloween theme park, five years ago. After the science teacher dies, Ellery is nominated for the homecoming court, and someone begins to threaten Ellery and the other two nominees for queen, tagging signs and promising a Murderland redux. When one of the two possible queens goes missing, Ellery dons her amateur detective hat, putting herself and her loved ones in danger. With complex characters and intricate plotting, McManus (One of Us Is Lying) delivers a fast-paced, twisty whodunit. Ages 14-up. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Jan.)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up{amp}ndash; Twins Ellery and Ezra are traveling to Echo Ridge for the first time. Ellery, a passionate true-crime buff, knows all about the town's unpleasant history{amp}mdash;their aunt disappeared there at age 17, and just five years ago, the high school homecoming queen was murdered. Not long after, the teens settle in and land jobs at Fright Farm, the Halloween theme park where the slain homecoming queen was found. Soon, threats against the homecoming court begin popping up anew, and then another girl goes missing from Echo Ridge. Ellery becomes a target, as well. The story is told in alternating chapters by Ellery and Malcolm, whose brother was implicated in the murder of the homecoming queen; however, neither Ellery, Malcolm, nor any of the work's supporting characters are fully fleshed out. The three separate mysteries in Echo Ridge can be overwhelming to keep track of at times. While the character building may be lacking, and the story line may occasionally confuse, the history of Echo Ridge does intertwine nicely with Ellery's own family history and moves the plot along. What little romance is included serves to further the plot. Every character will be a suspect at least once, and when the mystery finally unravels, readers may not grasp the full repercussions of the conclusion for a long time. VERDICT For readers who have outgrown "Fear Street" and are looking for a similar sort of tension, mystery, and murder.{amp}mdash; Maggie Mason Smith, Clemson University, SC
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
History threatens to repeat itself in a small town known for disappearing teen girls.When their mother is suddenly sent to rehab, twins Ellery and Ezra Corcoran are uprooted from California to live with their grandmother in Vermont. True-crime-obsessed Ellery knows the town is infamous for girls going missing. Her own aunt, her mother's twin, disappeared 23 years ago, never to be found. Just five years ago, Lacey Kilduff was found murdered in nearby Murderland, a Halloween theme park. All eyes are on the twins as the new kids in town, and Ellery's pulled between the popular girls and Malcolm Kelly, the younger brother of Declan, Lacey's boyfriend and the person everyone suspects murdered her. Disturbing acts of vandalism pop up, threatening a sequel to events at Murderland. When Ellery's nominated for homecoming queen, the threats begin to target her and the other princesses, and no matter what he does, Malcolm keeps ending up at the wrong place at the wrong time, making for an easy scapegoat. Alternating between Ellery's and Malcolm's perspectives, the mystery unfurls at a deliciously escalating pace, filled with believable red herrings and shocking twists. Readers will furiously turn pages until the satisfying end. Though the students are predominantly white, Ellery and Ezra are biracial (white and Latinx), and Ezra is gay. Malcolm is white, and his best friend is a bisexual Korean-American girl.Masterfully paced with well-earned thrills and spooky atmosphere worth sinking into. (Thriller. 14-18)
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
ALA Booklist (11/1/18)
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (12/1/18)
Wilson's High School Catalog
Word Count: 83,272
Reading Level: 5.0
Interest Level: 9-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.0 / points: 12.0 / quiz: 500226 / grade: Upper Grades
Lexile: HL730L
Guided Reading Level: L
Ellery

 

Friday, August 30

 

 

If I believed in omens, this would be a bad one.

 

There's only one suitcase left on the baggage carousel. It's bright pink, covered with Hello Kitty stickers, and definitely not mine.

 

My brother, Ezra, watches it pass us for the fourth time, leaning on the handle of his own oversized suitcase. The crowd around the carousel is nearly gone, except for a couple arguing about who was supposed to keep track of their rental car reservation. "Maybe you should take it," Ezra suggests. "Seems like whoever owns it wasn't on our flight, and I bet they have an interesting wardrobe. A lot of polka dots, probably. And glitter." His phone chimes, and he pulls it out of his pocket. "Nana's outside."

 

"I can't believe this," I mutter, kicking the toe of my sneaker against the carousel's metal side. "My entire life was in that suitcase."

 

It's a slight exaggeration. My actual entire life was in La Puente, California, until about eight hours ago. Other than a few boxes shipped to Vermont last week, the suitcase contains what's left.

 

"I guess we should report it." Ezra scans the baggage claim area, running a hand over his close-cropped hair. He used to have thick dark curls like mine, hanging in his eyes, and I still can't get used to the cut he got over the summer. He tilts his suitcase and pivots toward the information desk. "Over here, probably."

 

The skinny guy behind the desk looks like he could still be in high school, with a rash of red pimples dotting his cheeks and jawline. A gold name tag pinned crookedly to his blue vest reads "Andy." Andy's thin lips twist when I tell him about my suitcase, and he cranes his neck toward the Hello Kitty bag still making carousel laps. "Flight 5624 from Los Angeles? With a layover in Charlotte?" I nod. "You sure that's not yours?"

 

"Positive."

 

"Bummer. It'll turn up, though. You just gotta fill this out." He yanks open a drawer and pulls out a form, sliding it toward me. "There's a pen around here somewhere," he mutters, pawing half-heartedly through a stack of papers.

 

"I have one." I unzip the front of my backpack, pulling out a book that I place on the counter while I feel around for a pen. Ezra raises his brows when he sees the battered hardcover.

 

"Really, Ellery?" he asks. "You brought In Cold Blood on the plane? Why didn't you just ship it with the rest of your books?"

 

"It's valuable," I say defensively.

 

Ezra rolls his eyes. "You know that's not Truman Capote's actual signature. Sadie got fleeced."

 

"Whatever. It's the thought that counts," I mutter. Our mother bought me the "signed" first edition off eBay after she landed a role as Dead Body #2 on Law & Order four years ago. She gave Ezra a Sex Pistols album cover with a Sid Vicious autograph that was probably just as forged. We should've gotten a car with reliable brakes instead, but Sadie's never been great at long-term planning. "Anyway, you know what they say. When in Murderland . . ." I finally extract a pen and start scratching my name across the form.

 

"You headed for Echo Ridge, then?" Andy asks. I pause on the second c of my last name and he adds, "They don't call it that anymore, you know. And you're early. It doesn't open for another week."

 

"I know. I didn't mean the theme park. I meant the . . ." I trail off before saying town and shove In Cold Blood into my bag. "Never mind," I say, returning my attention to the form. "How long does it usually take to get your stuff back?"

 

"Shouldn't be more than a day." Andy's eyes drift between Ezra and me. "You guys look a lot alike. You twins?"

 

I nod and keep writing. Ezra, ever polite, answers, "We are."

 

"I was supposed to be a twin," Andy says. "The other one got absorbed in the womb, though." Ezra lets out a surprised little snort, and I bite back a laugh. This happens to my brother all the time; people overshare the strangest things with him. We might have almost the same face, but his is the one everyone trusts. "I always thought it would've been cool to have a twin. You could pretend to be one another and mess with people." I look up, and Andy is squinting at us again. "Well. I guess you guys can't do that. You aren't the right kind of twins."

 

"Definitely not," Ezra says with a fixed smile.

 

I write faster and hand the completed form to Andy, who tears off the top sheets and gives me the yellow carbon. "So somebody will get in touch, right?" I ask.

 

"Yep," Andy says. "You don't hear from them tomorrow, call the number at the bottom. Have fun in Echo Ridge."

 

Ezra exhales loudly as we head for the revolving door, and I grin at him over my shoulder. "You make the nicest friends."

 

He shudders. "Now I can't stop thinking about it. Absorbed. How does that even happen? Did he . . . No. I'm not going to speculate. I don't want to know. What a weird thing to grow up with, though, huh? Knowing how easily you could've been the wrong twin."

 

We push through the door into a blast of stifling, exhaust-filled air that takes me by surprise. Even on the last day of August, I'd expected Vermont to be a lot cooler than California. I pull my hair off my neck while Ezra scrolls through his phone. "Nana says she's circling because she didn't want to park in a lot," he reports.

 

I raise my brows at him. "Nana's texting and driving?"

 

"Apparently."

 

I haven't seen my grandmother since she visited us in California ten years ago, but from what I can remember, that seems out of character.

 

We wait a few minutes, wilting in the heat, until a forest-green Subaru station wagon pulls up beside us. The passenger-side window rolls down, and Nana sticks her head out. She doesn't look much different than she does over Skype, although her thick gray bangs appear freshly cut. "Go on, get in," she calls, side-eyeing the traffic cop a few feet from us. "They won't let you idle for more than a minute." She pulls her head back in as Ezra wheels his solitary suitcase toward the trunk.

 

When we slide into the backseat Nana turns to face us, and so does a younger woman behind the steering wheel. "Ellery, Ezra, this is Melanie Kilduff. Her family lives down the street from us. I have terrible night vision, so Melanie was kind enough to drive. She used to babysit your mother when she was young. You've probably heard the name."

 

Ezra and I exchange wide-eyed glances. Yes. Yes, we have.

 

Sadie left Echo Ridge when she was eighteen, and she's only been back twice. The first time was the year before we were born, when our grandfather died from a heart attack. And the second time was five years ago, for Melanie's teenage daughter's funeral.

 

Ezra and I watched the Dateline special--"Mystery at Murderland"--at home while our neighbor stayed with us. I was transfixed by the story of Lacey Kilduff, the beautiful blond homecoming queen from my mother's hometown, found strangled in a Halloween theme park. Airport Andy was right; the park's owner changed its name from Murderland to Fright Farm a few months later. I'm not sure the case would have gotten as much national attention if the park hadn't had such an on-the-nose name.

 

Or if Lacey hadn't been the second pretty teenager from Echo Ridge--and from the same exact street, even--to make tragic headlines.

 

Sadie wouldn't answer any of our questions when she got back from Lacey's funeral. "I just want to forget about it," she said whenever we asked. Which is what she's been saying about Echo Ridge our entire lives.

 

Ironic, I guess, that we ended up here anyway.



Excerpted from Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

"When it comes to YA suspense, Karen M. McManus is in a league of her own. Fresh off her best-selling breakout One of Us Is Lying . . . the author has returned with a juicy second novel. It's even better than what came before." --EW

The New York Times bestselling "must-read YA thriller" (Bustle) from the author of One of Us Is Lying!


Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery's never been there, but she's heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows.

The town is picture-perfect, but it's hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, someone has declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing.

Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she's in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous--and most people aren't good at keeping them. Which is why in Echo Ridge, it's safest to keep your secrets to yourself.

2 STARRED REVIEWS!

Praise for Karen M. McManus's One of Us Is Lying
A New York Times Bestseller
An EW.com Best YA Book of the Year
A Buzzfeed Best YA Book of the Year
A Popcrush Best Young Adult Book of the Year

"Pretty Little Liars meets The Breakfast Club....so make room for One of Us Is Lying in your bags, because this is one carry-on you won't want to put down." --EW.com

"A whodunit with a Breakfast Club twist...following four unique voices on a chase to find the killer, this one will keep you guessing until the very, very end." --Popcrush

"This is no ordinary whodunit...surprising and relevant."--USA Today


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