Title: All Your Twisted Secrets
Author: Diana Urban
Release Date: 17th March 2020 (US), 18th May 2020 (UK)
My Rating: 4 ⭐️
““Welcome to dinner, and again, congratulations on being selected. Now you must do the selecting.”
What do the queen bee, star athlete, valedictorian, stoner, loner, and music geek all have in common? They were all invited to a scholarship dinner, only to discover it’s a trap. Someone has locked them into a room with a bomb, a syringe filled with poison, and a note saying they have an hour to pick someone to kill…or else everyone dies.
Amber Prescott is determined to get her classmates and herself out of the room alive, but that might be easier said than done. No one knows how they’re all connected or who would want them dead.
As they retrace the events over the past year that might have triggered their captor’s ultimatum, it becomes clear that everyone is hiding something.
And with the clock ticking down, confusion turns into fear, and fear morphs into panic as they race to answer the biggest question: Who will they choose to die?”
I was kindly gifted a copy of this by the publisher. This in no way affects my thoughts and opinions.
This was my next book on my YA Thriller kick and, honestly, it was one of my favourites so far. When I read the blurb it seemed kind of tropey – very similar to One of Us is Lying – but it was executed in a totally different, much more effective way. It didn’t fall into the trap of predictability with the tropes it had, but more used them as a tool to surprise and make a statement.
It’s quite hard to review a book like this because I don’t want to give the slightest clue away, because I always recommend going into thrillers blind. However, I’m going to talk about some of the themes throughout the book that I felt made the story successful rather than plot and characters.
You’ll notice from the blurb that this follows the Breakfast Club-esque format of bringing together a group of American High School stereotypes. We had the prom queen, the jock, the nerd, the stoner, the orchestra geek and the loner all thrown together and locked in a room – much like the breakfast club. The catch? Within an hour they must choose one of the party to die, or they all die. I felt like Urban used these stereotypes and this trope of choosing who’s life should be forfeit to demonstrate that all life is valuable and that no one is more worthy than anyone else based on what group they fit into and how they are perceived – you never know what someone is going through or what their goals are so you cannot say that one life is more worth living than another. This is a lesson a lot of people could stand to learn and I think Urban brought this into the book in a very subtle, yet poignant way.
I feel like throughout this book the main theme is about considering the consequences of ones actions. Whether that’s something you do and how it affects others, or the way you treat other people. This book really explores the negative impacts people can have without even realising. It certainly makes you think! All 6 of our characters are linked in different ways and as we uncover those situations and actions that bind them together and intertwine their stories, we learn just how deeply the actions they have all taken in the lead up to this event have affected others.
I really could pick apart every character individually and the plot points that lead to where we end up, but I really don’t want to give anything about the way this story unfolds away. Just know it’s a fun and gripping journey with some great twists, that’s different from a lot of the YA thrillers following similar tropes. It explores themes relevant to every high school teen, and weaves quite the cautionary tale. I definitely recommend giving this one a read!
Thanks very much to Harper360YA for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my thoughts and opinions.