Crystalee reviews No One Needs to Know

No One Needs to Know
By Amanda Grace
Published on September 8 2014
Published by Flux
Source: Net Galley
Olivia's twin brother, Liam, has been her best friend her whole life. But when he starts dating, Olivia is left feeling alone, so she tries to drive away Liam's girlfriends in an effort to get her best friend back.

But she meets her match in Zoey, Liam's latest fling. A call-it-like-she-sees-it kind of girl, Zoey sees right through Olivia's tricks. What starts as verbal sparring between the two changes into something different, however, as they share their deepest insecurities and learn they have a lot in common. Olivia falls for Zoey, believing her brother could never get serious with her. But when Liam confesses that he's in love with Zoey, Olivia has to decide who deserves happiness more: her brother or herself?
Um, I honestly don't know where to start with this one. I've previously read, reviewed, and enjoyed Amanda Grace's The Truth About You and Me, and I usually enjoy books that address teen LGBT issues, so I thought this was right up my alley. I wanted to like it so much, but I was left confused and disappointed.

My main concern was with how fast relationships were formed. Olivia and Zoey's relationship is initially so full of animosity that when they make the change into "more than friends" it seems so sudden and unrealistic that I actually went back and re-read a couple of pages just to see if I missed something. I never actually figured out what happened. Zoey and Liam's relationship was so one dimensional that I never got the feeling that Zoey liked him at all. They rarely ever kissed or even hung out much after Zoey and Olivia got together, and it definitely didn't seem like Liam was "in love with" Zoey. He never noticed or became suspicious when Zoey and Olivia started hanging out together. The whole thing didn't feel realistic to me at all.

I found myself wondering through the entire novel if either Zoey or Olivia had ever been in a relationship with another girl before. The reader learns that answer really late in the novel, where it seems inserted in order to tie up loose ends. Maybe it's just me, but I expected the girls to grapple with the issue more. Occasionally, one of the girls wondered to herself  "what is this thing we have?" but they didn't seem concerned about whether their relationship made them gay or bisexual, which I found odd. Don't get me wrong. I would love if we lived in a society where labels didn't matter and therefore books could exist where relationships happen and aren't a big deal. . . but we don't. I was actually kind of disturbed by the fact that this book made it a non-issue. I want to read books where the main characters struggle because of their moral or ethical beliefs, or because external forces try to prevent them from acting the way they want, because that's reality. Zoey and Olivia may have hid their relationship from Liam, but they still had it way too easy.

The icing on the cake was the ending, which was also too convenient, too sudden, and too "happily ever after" for my taste. Over all, things moved way too fast and didn't feel realistic at all. I don't think teenage girls reading this book will relate to Zoey and Olivia's relationship, which is a shame, because we need more good books about LGBT teen relationships.




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