Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus (327 pages)
Overview: Ellery and Ezra have moved to Echo Ridge right when the beloved science teacher is killed in a hit and run. They come across the body on their drive into town which sets the tone for their time in Echo Ridge. It seems that the killer of the homecoming queen from five years ago has returned with a slew of threats against the new court. And then, Brooke, one of the princesses, goes missing. Echo Ridge goes from a rich, suburban New England town to the sight of a possible serial killer, and true crime fanatic, Ellery, is going to solve it the mystery. Overall: 4
Characters: 4 Ellery and Ezra aren't super memorable. They're fine. Likable enough, but nothing stands out to make them special. Ezra is reduced to a minor, minor character, even though he's originally painted as important and Ellery is your classic new girl in town, true crime fanatic. I just can't find anything that stands out about her as much as I want there to be something.
The same goes for Malcom who is the other POV character. His brother was the prime suspect in Lacey's murder five years ago because they were dating at the time, and he's had to deal with the ramifications and the doubts about his brother. He fills the "in the shadow" younger sibling type.
They both just wind up being cliches. The fact that I kept forgetting who was narrating the chapter I was reading is most telling.
Some of the minor characters made me wish that McManus had dug deeper into them. Mia, Malcom's friend, and Ezra, Ellery's twin, as well as Malcom's stepsister and her friends were set up to be major players, but then they just disappeared halfway through. The story might have been more compelling with a deeper dive with these characters and some more background on the major players in the first murder. I do have to say, though, that Officer Ryan was awesome.
Plot: 4 I didn't love the big twist at the end that revealed the criminal. I mean, it was fine, but I didn't get a real thrill out of it. The plot snaked its way through a mountain of twists, turns, and false starts, but none of them were given much weight, and I wasn't desperate to find out whether they were right. It didn't get my heart racing, or even fluttering, and while simple mind games can make a thriller, this one wasn't pressing or intellectual enough to do it for me.