Please Don’t Tell is one of the darkest novels I’ve read in a long time. When I picked it up, I was expecting a simple thriller with maybe a nice twist or two. But what I got was so much darker, and cooler!
Joy killed Adam Gordon—at least, that’s what she thinks. The night of the party is hazy at best. But she knows what Adam did to her twin sister, Grace, and she knows he had to pay for it.
What Joy doesn’t expect is that someone else saw what happened. And one night a note is shoved through her open window, threatening Joy that all will be revealed. Now the anonymous blackmailer starts using Joy to expose the secrets of their placid hometown. And as the demands escalate, Joy must somehow uncover the blackmailer’s identity before Joy is forced to make a terrible choice.
In this darkly compelling narrative, debut author Laura Tims explores the complicated relationship between two sisters, and what one will do for the other. It’s a story that will keep readers turning pages and questioning their own sense of right and wrong.
Please Don’t Tell is told from the dual point-of-view of Joy and her twin sister, Grace. The twins are polar opposites of each other. Joy is loud-mouthed, outgoing and a drunk while Grace is shy, studious with an eating disorder.
At the start of the story, Joy is recovering from a hangover from the night before in the school bathroom. She blacked out from drinking last night, and thinks she killed Adam Gordon, the guy who ruined her sister’s life. She feels so sick and frightened about killing Adam, but one of her friends tell her it’s impossible that she did it so Joy feels better. Until she gets a note from a blackmailer telling her that she did indeed kill Adam and they saw her do it, and unless she does what they tell her to do, they will turn her into the police.
After that, the rest of the book deals with Joy following the blackmailer’s orders, while trying to find out their true identity while trying not fall in love with Adam’s half-brother, Levi. Grace’s POVs throughout the book mostly deal with past events, letting the reader see how she met Adam and what he did to her, along with showing us her true feelings about Joy.
At first glance, everything about this book seems so simple, yet it has so many layers. While the plot is straight forward, it’s draped in so such darkness. It deals with so many toxic yet realistic topics such as mental illness, racism, bullying, alcoholism, underage drinking, drugs, suicide, domestic violence, blackmailing, pedophilia, eating disorders, murder…. etc. Almost every character, even simple walk-ins and secondary characters, all somehow represent or experience one of the topics that I listed above.
When it comes to Grace and Joy, it’s a hit or miss with them. You either like them or you don’t. Joy is a hot mess. She drinks a lot. I mean A LOT. I swear her philosophy had to be:
She’s also emotionally unstable at times. But her best trait is that she’s loyal. Once you’re her friend, you’re her friend for life. I liked her. I hated some of the decisions she made, but I liked her as an individual. In regards to Grace, she’s the quieter twin and really smart! But she struggles with her self-image and her weight. I didn’t really care for Grace too much at first, but as we get to know her and her struggles, she definitely grew on me.
Even though the twins are so different, I found both of them very relatable and I loved their sisterly bond. They might not always agree, but you can see that they love and care for each other. Even with everything that happens or whatever the other does—good or bad, their relationship—their bond as sisters is always solid and indestructible.
One of the things I didn’t really like was the predictability of the story. Just from reading the first couple chapters, I guessed who the blackmailer was and what Adam did to Grace. And I was right. That was a bit of a letdown. I wanted so much to be wrong. I wanted the author to bring something new—to shock me—WOW me, but no. But still, I enjoyed the ride. Also, there were a few unrealistic bits in the story as well. Mostly in regards to the way the police handled Adam’s death/murder.
But even with all that, Please Don’t Tell is a good read! It’s very intense, and dark. The first chapter really draws you in and keeps your attention. The pacing varies from fast to really slow at times, but that didn’t bother me. It felt like a legit roller-coaster—fast then faster, then slow than really slow as you reach the climax and then really really fast until you reach the end.
In the simplest terms: I had a good time reading this book, and if you like teen thrillers than you probably will too!