Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for OUR LITTLE SECRET, a contemporary YA romance from Ashelyn Drake. This one is quite the quandary: the best friend, or the boyfriend…
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About the book:
Becca Daniels needs a passing math grade…but what she wants is to spend more time with Toby Michaels. The only problem is Toby is her best friend’s twin, and Tori has a very firm “no dating the brother” policy.
But Becca’s grade has hit rock bottom and she needs a tutor. It just so happens that Toby is a math genius and more than happy to help—lucky her! Working so closely with the handsome, popular Toby, Becca can’t hide her attraction, and it soon becomes obvious he feels the same way.
Becca doesn’t want to lose her best friend, but she isn’t willing to give up Toby either.
At first, sneaking around is fun, stealing kisses right under Tori’s nose. But things take an ugly turn when Toby’s ex-girlfriend Meredith catches them together. Meredith demands Toby take her back and restore her reputation, or she’ll tell Tori their secret. Do they dare tell Tori the truth? Or would that just make things worse?
Surrounded by secrets and knee-deep in deception, something has to give. How far is Meredith willing to go to keep Toby and Becca apart?
And how much is Becca willing to risk to keep…Our Little Secret?
Becca is a junior in high school, as is her BFF Tori and Tori’s twin brother, Toby. Becca has known the twins for more then ten years, and has been best friends with Tori nearly that long. She’s grown up with Toby and can’t help appreciating all the ways he has grown up, too. Toby’s a fit boy, captain of the basketball team and an all-around popular kid. He’s always been nice to Becca and Becca has a secret crush–one that she can never reveal to Tori, because Tori will dissolve their friendship. It’s happened before with other girls. Plus, Toby’s popular and Becca’s not–he’d never go for her…
Then, Becca’s risking failure in trig, and Tori insists that Toby help Becca out. It’s heady, being alone with him, even if it is to study trig. But that not all that’s happening behind Toby’s closed bedroom door. Nope. He’s admitting to having feelings, and they decide to “try out” dating in order to see if it’s worth upsetting Tori over. They keep it behind closed doors, but Tori’s suspicious of Toby’s excellent mood, and Toby’s ex-girlfriend Meredith is ALWAYS turning up to cajole Toby back. Well, until Meredith learns that Toby and Becca are together. She’s had a mean streak over Becca for years, and seizes the opportunity to hurt Becca while also getting Toby back.
This is a high-stakes high school romance that is pretty clean. I really liked both Becca and Toby, who want to find a real connection without the interference of sisters and exes and best friends, but it’s just not meant to be! Tori and Meredith are not nice girls, in this book. Meredith is the worst kind of conniver, and is set up to be the truly bad guy, but Becca makes plenty of dumb decisions, like going along with Meredith’s mean spirited plans. At first.
Toby’s caught in the crossfire. He’d happily reveal all, and see if he and Becca can withstand the pressure, but he caves to Becca’s needs–Tori isn’t just her best friend, she’s her only real friend. Losing Tori is not an option, at least, until the decision is taken from her.
I really did like the high school cattiness, to an extent, because it was so high school drama. That felt painfully real, but it carried on a bit long for me, and the resolution was super dramatic, with an auditorium reveal that is straight out of a sit-com. Meredith’s ultimatums were a tad too mean-spirited and hinted at illegal. That said, there were plenty of real emotions of the page. Becca never wants to hurt anyone, and FINALLY that included herself. I loved when she got over her self-sacrificing for Tori and began living her own life; it made the final pages much better, for me. I liked that Toby was a good, human, kid. He’s not perfect, doesn’t pretend to be, but he acts maturely throughout. He’s a good boyfriend to Becca, and a good brother to Tori–who is a spoiled rotten queen of a girl who only wants more social power. I really didn’t care much for her until the very end, and then only a little.
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About the Author:
Ashelyn Drake is a New Adult and Young Adult contemporary romance author. While it’s rare for her not to have either a book in hand or her fingers flying across a laptop, she also enjoys spending time with her family. She believes you are never too old to enjoy a good swing set and there’s never a bad time for some dark chocolate. She also writes speculative fiction under the name Kelly Hashway. She is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency.