Connie Baltimore has her life planned. Earn perfect grades. Go to college and graduate school. Start a research career. Everything changes when her older sister moves back home with their outspoken grandmother and overworked parents. Add a handsome family friend to the mix, and Connie’s carefully ordered world collapses. When the road turns to forbidden romance, Connie faces a choice that will change her life forever. Will she stay on the safest path? Or risk it all for the unknown?
A coming-of-age story that will take you on an emotional rollercoaster, "The Secrets Inside" follows Connie as she navigates high school, family drama, and unexpected love. If you enjoyed "Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine" and "The Fault of Our Stars", you’ll love Connie Baltimore’s heartfelt journey of self-discovery.
Young adult readers will find much to relate to here. Despite the turmoil at home, Connie is very much the average high school senior, trying to find her place in the world while navigating the storms that accompany young adulthood. When sparks start to fly between her and Nick, things get exponentially more complicated: Nick’s close to her father’s age, a hurdle the two have yet to truly think through, resulting in their decision to keep their romance under wraps. And there’s convincingly drawn trouble on the friendship front as well: though Dee and Connie experience some of the same rites of passage, they couldn’t be more different—and that difference eventually leads to a rift in their relationship, made more serious by Connie’s romance with Nick.
Tirado-Ryen doesn’t shy away from the harder topics. Connie has a pregnancy scare that brings up some weighty options, and Dee’s struggles with sexual and physical abuse, handled sensitively, simmer throughout the novel. The central romance stays mellow but also serves as a major catalyst in Connie’s life, though the ending, which may shock readers, comes rather abruptly, and feels hurried. Still, The Secrets Inside proves appealing as it plumbs the heart.
Takeaway: A forbidden romance gives this sweet coming-of-age story an edge.
Comparable Titles: Marie Force’s Georgia on My Mind, Jenn Bennett’s Starry Eyes.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A