**3.5-stars rounded up**
The Last Secret You’ll Ever Keep is a companion novel to Laurie Faria Stolarz’s 2020-release, Jane Anonymous.
While they are considered companions, you absolutely do not need to read Jane prior to picking this up. They don’t even share any of the same characters; you’ll see the connection in a bit.
In this novel we follow 18-year old, Terra, who like Jane, is an abduction survivor.
Unfortunately, in Terra’s case, the details are murky and a couple of months after she is able to escape, there’s still no concrete evidence. Because of this, the majority of people in her life do not believe her story.
Her Aunt, the Police, even the kids she goes to school with and considered friends, they all think she is making it up.
The only place she is able to find solace is an online forum for survivors. Any time of day or night, she is able to find people on the chat who will listen and understand. This forum was created by none other than, Jane Anonymous.
Alternating between Then and Now sections, just like in Jane, we learn about Terra’s abduction, her time in captivity, her escape and the aftermath.
Through the online forum Terra becomes close with another abduction survivor, Peyton, whose abduction situation sounds very similar to her own.
Both Terra and Peyton are experiencing odd occurrences that cause them to believe that their abductor may not be done with them yet, but is it possible their abductor is the same person?
When Peyton, one of the most frequent chat users, suddenly disappears, Terra becomes extremely concerned about her. She begins to look more into Peyton’s case and what she discovers leads her down a very dangerous road.
This is a tense story, that at times can be frustrating. It’s hard to read Terra’s perspective; not being believed. It’s a very difficult position to be in.
I really enjoyed watching this unfold. Learning about what happened to Terra and watching her try to cope with life after she is free. It’s gripping.
She’s stressed, she’s depressed and she seems to be spiraling. Proceed with caution if even this sentence sounds like it could be triggering for you.
Stolarz definitely puts it all on the page, as far as mental health goes. I like it. I am definitely intrigued by her storytelling. With this being said, however, the last quarter of this let me down.
It was so compelling most of the way through, but for me, the ending, in contrast to the rest of the story, felt forced; like how can we wrap this up quickly?
I don’t know, it just didn’t feel as serious as the rest of the story. It took a sharp right turn and left me scratching my head.
This is a good book though, for sure, so please don’t let that dissuade you from picking it up. I am sure the reaction to the conclusion will vary with each and every Reader.
Thank you so much to the publisher, Wednesday Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate it and will definitely pick up anything else Stolarz writes!