The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby: Review

The Secret History of UsTitle: The Secret History of Us
Author: Jessi Kirby
Publisher: Harper Teen
A near drowning…a coma for days…and then…

Olivia wakes up to realize she doesn’t remember. Not just the accident—but anything from the last four years. Not high school. Not Matt, the guy who is apparently her boyfriend. Not the reason she and Jules are no longer friends. Nothing.

That’s when it hits her—the accident may not have taken her life, but it took something just as vital: her memory. The harder she tires to remember things, the foggier everything gets, and figuring out who she is feels impossible when everyone keeps telling her who she was.

But then there’s Walker. The guy who saved her. The one who broke her ribs pumping life back into her lungs. The hardened boy who keeps his distance despite Olivia’s attempts to thank him.

With her feelings growing for Walker, tensions rising with Matt, and secrets she can’t help but feel are being kept from her, Olivia must find her place in a life she doesn’t even remember living.
I was very excited when I saw this book was available for review, I'd read Jessi Kirby's Things We Know By Heart  last year and absolutely loved it. Her writing just drew me in and I connected to her characters, so I was hoping my reading experience would be the same for this book. In the end, I did enjoy this book, it just didn't pack the same emotional punch as the first book I read by her.

We follow Liz, who wakes up in a hospital after spending eight days in a coma following a serious car crash, one that no one can understand how she survived. It soon becomes apparent that Liz doesn't remember the crash, in fact she doesn't remember the last five years of her life. She has no memories of her boyfriend of two years, who was in the car with her that night. Liz has to learn to come to terms with who she is now and where life has taken her in those five years. She is drawn to the young man who pulled her from the water that night, the same person who performed the CPR that saved her live.

I'm still really enjoying Kirby's writing, there is just something about it that draws me into her stories and makes her books hard to put down. I struggled to connect to the characters here, but that had a lot to do with Liv's memory loss. It feels like you never really get to know her and who she actually is. The book doesn't spend enough time on any of the other characters for them to make much of an impression.

I hadn't known what to expect from this book. I associate Kirby with contemporary fiction, but I got the impression this would be more of a mystery/thriller going off the slightly creepy cover and the memory loss story line. It isn't at all though, it is more of a contemporary about finding who you are and who you want to be, with a little bit of romance thrown in.

Overall, I felt it was an okay read but it just didn't make me feel much of anything. I never truly connected to Liv as a character. I also was never able to buy the romance here because we just didn't spend enough time with the other characters.Without Liv's old memories we are unable to see the moments they've shared, the ways that they connected. Personally, I just felt that not much happened in the story overall, and all the major events that do happen, happen right at the end, making the story feel rushed and incomplete. I still enjoy Kirby's writing, but I would definitely recommend her other book before recommending this one.