Keep This to Yourself by Tom Ryan

oh my GOD, this was an incredible mystery/thriller read! I’m hardly ever surprised and usually have the killer pegged early on, but this one kept me guessing until the very end! absolutely incredible and highly recommended

About the Book

Publisher: Albert Whitman Teen  |  Release Date: May 21, 2019  |  Pages: 320
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller  |  Format: eARC  |  Source: Publisher via Netgalley

It’s been a year since the Catalog Killer terrorized the sleepy seaside town of Camera Cove, killing four people before disappearing without a trace. Like everyone else in town, eighteen-year-old Mac Bell is trying to put that horrible summer behind him—easier said than done since Mac’s best friend Connor was the murderer’s final victim. But when he finds a cryptic message from Connor, he’s drawn back into the search for the killer—who might not have been a random drifter after all. Now nobody—friends, neighbors, or even the sexy stranger with his own connection to the case—is beyond suspicion. Sensing that someone is following his every move, Mac struggles to come to terms with his true feelings towards Connor while scrambling to uncover the truth.

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My Review

I’ve been in the mood for a mystery/thriller, and when my friend Meaghan wrote a glowing review I decided that I needed to read this one myself. And friends, I am not joking when I say that this book cured my freaking reading slump.

“Last summer a serial killer paid a visit to Camera Cove. By the time the dust settled, four people were dead.”

Ryan manages to pack so much information into the opening page of the book, relaying complex histories between the characters and hinting to a great tragedy. The writing is almost lyrical, which is not something that I typically equate with mysteries. I was instantly swept away into this story where Mac struggles to let go of his pain. But after he finds a clue from Connor on the night he died, Mac embarks on an adventure to uncover the truth no matter the consequences.

“It’s a message from beyond the grave, a year too late.”

Keep This to Yourself is told in the first person perspective of Mac Bell, an 18-year-old gay kid that drifted apart from his friend group after Connor was murdered the year before.

Convinced that the killer wasn’t a drifted and determined to uncover the truth, Mac begins to look for clues and connections between the murder victims that may have been missed. Through his snooping, he meets Quill, the cousin of one of the victims. The chemistry between Mac and Quill is palpable from almost the beginning, and the will-they-won’t they dance of first attraction was a thrill to read. I’ll admit that I groaned when the first black character we encounter in the story is in the trailer park, but I appreciated Ryan’s subversion of what seems to be the typical poverty representation in media and fiction for black characters: Mac meets Quill in the trailer park, but we learn that he lives in an affluent neighborhood and is just visiting his aunt.

“All the things I wanted from my life, I just stopped wanting them, and nothing else stepped up to fill in the space.”

I also really appreciated the depiction of grief and how each of the characters processes the loss. The truth is that the pain of losing someone close to you doesn’t go away quickly, and each journey is different. I feel that this is handled with care and nuance. It works as a motivator for Mac to try and find answers, but Ben and Doris just want to forget and move on. This helped the characters to feel so incredibly real to me.

I read a lot of mysteries and typically can guess the killer early on, but not here my friends. I guessed incorrectly every single time and relished in that fact leading up to the big reveal I didn’t see coming a mile away (I never would have seen the ending coming but it makes sense once revealed). Honestly, Tom Ryan has earned a fan that will be working through his backlist after this book!

I highly recommend this book to fans of mysteries, but there is also so much more to it than just uncovering the truth of the Catalog Killer. It’s about the bonds of friendship and how fragile those connections can seem to be, a wonderful m/m relationship, and the setting of a small town trying to pick up the pieces after a horrific tragedy.

REPRESENTATION: biracial couple, black rep, lgbtiap+, m/m relationship
CONTENT WARNINGS: depictions of grief, drugs, loss of a loved one, murder, queer slurs (challenged in the text)

Many thanks to Albert Whitman & Company for providing me an eARC via NetGalley for my honest review! Quotations are taken from an uncorrected proof and may change in the final publication


spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!

18 Comments

  1. Meaghan @ Words Gremlin

    May 19, 2019 at 8:36 AM

    Kal, I’m SO HAPPY you enjoyed this so much! And that it cured your slump bc omg that’s a big deal. But you’re right on every single point, especially guessing who did it. I’m normally a strong guesser too, but did this book allow that? NO, BECAUSE THIS IS PLOT TWIST CITY.

    Wonderful review! ❤️

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      May 21, 2019 at 9:45 PM

      Meaghan honestly this book was such a freaking treat, I loved it so much!!! I am really thankful I caught your review and decided to request this one, because it wan’t on my radar at all and I probably would have given it a pass because most YA mystery falls flat for me.

  2. Norrie

    May 19, 2019 at 12:29 PM

    Sounds right up my alley! 😀 I like how it’s not just a simple mystery, but also covers some important topics + friendship.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      May 21, 2019 at 9:45 PM

      I really think you would like this one a lot, Norrie!!!

  3. waytoofantasy

    May 20, 2019 at 12:09 PM

    Fantastic that this one cured your slump! So glad you loved it!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      May 21, 2019 at 9:53 PM

      It was about time, my friend! It really was nice to just get hopelessly sucked into a book again, I feel like I’ve been going through the motions for months.

  4. Olivia-Savannah

    May 21, 2019 at 2:12 AM

    Yay for books that are amazing enough to cure your reading slump! I have been LOVING mysteries lately and have been breezing through all of Agatha Christie’s books. But I do know that I need to switch my focus to reading some more modern mysteries at some point so I am busy forming my list. Gonna have to add this one 😉 Thanks for the review and introducing it to me x

    Olivia-S @ Olivia’s Catastrophe

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      May 21, 2019 at 10:00 PM

      I definitely feel like this is the time of year that I crave mysteries! I love Agatha Christie and need to read more of her work this year when I have the time. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did… it’s such a good book. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. facingthestory

    May 22, 2019 at 10:45 AM

    Brilliant review! I’ve been looking for a thriller with a difficult to guess killer for such a long time. This is definitely going on my TBR list!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      June 5, 2019 at 10:31 PM

      Thank you so much, and definitely do give this one a try! I honestly keep thinking about this one, and it wound up being my favorite read of May!

  6. Krisha🌸

    May 22, 2019 at 11:53 AM

    Amazing review! I love thrillers and especially with such good rep. Definitely going on my TBR pile 😄💛✨

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      June 5, 2019 at 10:32 PM

      Thank you, and the rep in this one was really refreshing! I love this one and hope you do too!

  7. Destiny @ Howling Libraries

    May 23, 2019 at 6:52 PM

    Wow, this review has totally sold me. Amazing review, my love! I’m totally adding this to my TBR ASAP!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      June 5, 2019 at 10:51 PM

      AHHH what high praise! I hope you love this one as much as I did.

  8. dreamingofcats

    May 27, 2019 at 4:10 AM

    aaagh, yes, so happy to see you loved this! I absolutely ADORED this one and it makes me warm and fuzzy to see you spreading the love <3 that killer mystery, tho??? I never guessed the killer in a thousand years, I was BLOWN AWAY. and the romance was too darn sweet, ugh, my heart. SO GOOD.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      June 7, 2019 at 10:55 AM

      THIS BOOK IS SO FREAKING GOOD! It wound up being my favorite read of May, which is saying a lot because I read some amazing books last month, but I can’t stop thinking about how surprised I was by the ending and how much I want to re-read it now that I know.

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    June 5, 2019 at 5:02 AM

    […] Kal’s review of KEEP THIS TO YOURSELF […]

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