February 10, 2015

The Secrets Between You and Me Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Secrets Between You and Me by Shana Norris! Today I'll be sharing my review of the book with you - and don't forget to enter the giveaway!

The Secrets Between You and Me (Stolen Kiss #2)
Author: Shana Norris
Genre: YA Contemporary
Release Date: February 10, 2015
Publisher: The Studio (a Paper Lantern Lit imprint)


4 wheels on a rusty truck. 2 gray eyes. 1 secret that could ruin everything.

All Hannah wanted was a summer break from being “perfect Hannah Cohen” and a chance to forget about the devastating family secret that could ruin her seemingly perfect life. So when she takes off for her eccentric aunt’s house in the mountains of North Carolina and everyone makes one big (wrong) assumption about her past, Hannah figures that it’s easier to live a lie than have to face the truth.

She never expected to make any real friends, like the hilarious and spontaneous Kate and Ashton, who drag her to late night bonfires and ice cream marathons. And she especially never counted on meeting Jude Westmore, the brooding bad boy next door with gray eyes and permanent oil smudges on his fingers, or that he would ever take an interest in her.

Between moonlit movie nights in the bed of Jude’s truck and nearly romantic Ferris Wheel rides, Hannah’s old life seems further away then ever, but can she keep her secret, or is the truth worth the risk of losing everything, including Jude?

THE SECRETS BETWEEN YOU AND ME is the second book in the Stolen Kiss Series by Shana Norris. However, It can be read as a standalone novel.

The Secrets Between You and Me is the endearing second novel in a young adult contemporary romance series. The story follows our leading lady, Hannah, as her life all but crumbles around her. Her picture perfect life is definitely not what it seems and Hannah can't take it anymore. She decides to spend the summer with her crazy aunt in North Carolina, hoping that it will help. Hannah never expects to find true friends or romance over the summer, but it just kind of happens. She meets Ashton and Kate, who drag her to bonfires and have ice cream marathons - and they prove to be real friends - not the fake ones she pretends to have back home. Enter Jude - the gorgeous, mysterious bad boy next door. She meets him on her way into town and they don't exactly get off on the right foot. But Hannah keeps seeing Jude - with the oil smudges on his hands and his beautiful gray eyes - and develops a huge crush. She didn't come to her aunt's house to find a boyfriend - and there's no way that a guy like Jude would ever be interested in someone like her - or so she thinks. The summer continues on - complete with rides on a Ferris Wheel and movie nights in the bed of Jude's truck, along with her friendship with Kate and Ashton growing stronger and her relationship with Jude become deeper. Hannah feels like her old life is a million miles away - and she wishes it could stay that way. But secrets have a way of getting out and she's finding it harder to lie to these important people in her life. Should she try to keep her secret as long as she can - or does she tell everyone the truth and risk losing everything?

I found this to be a pretty typical YA contemporary romance that had the same basic outline as many others in the genre. A "good girl" main character mysteriously falls for the gorgeous "bad boy" and so on. However, the author did a great job creating the characters as well as putting a sweet spin on the story, which I think makes it stand out from others in the same genre. I liked Hannah as a main character for a lot of different reasons. She was incredibly easy to relate to right from the beginning. Who hasn't had secrets about their life, family, themselves - that they didn't want anyone else knowing about? Hannah certainly does, so she puts on a mask and pretends like everything is great - like most other people do in those situations. Everyone reaches a breaking point though, which takes place when Hannah goes to stay with her aunt for the summer. Hannah was a strong female lead with intelligence, inner strength, perseverance, and kindness. She's easy for almost any reader to relate to, which makes it easier to slip inside her world. I loved watching Hannah's character grow throughout the book. She starts off with all these secrets she's keeping inside - all while wearing a mask that makes it seem like everything is fine. Once she gets to North Carolina and is finally able to go back to being just herself - we see a wholly different person. The reader gets to meet the real Hannah - with her hopes, fears, dreams, thoughts - everything. Hannah keeps shedding her fake self as her stay in North Carolina continues and she ends up making true friends that she can count on and trust - and meets someone she never thought would look twice at her, and even falls in love. Her character becomes so much more open and free throughout the book that she's barely the same person she was in the beginning. The secrets are definitely eating her up inside, but she's so afraid that her new friends and Jude will judge her and want nothing to do with her if they find out the truth. She doesn't want to lie to them about anything and she's sick of keeping the secrets, but she's terrified of losing these people who have come to mean so much to her. By the end of the book, Hannah's character has gone through a major transformation as well as maturation and a sense of self knowledge and peace. It was incredible to watch it happening during the story. I also loved watching Jude and Hannah get to know one another and open up a little bit at a time throughout the book, all while their feelings and relationship is growing and changing.

The parts of the book that really set it apart from others like it was, in my opinion, Hannah's detailed character growth throughout the story - along with her relationship with others, like Kate, Ashton, and mainly Jude. I felt the book was almost more of a character study of Hannah than anything else, with the secrets, challenges, and various relationships during the story only enhancing our understanding of Hannah and the growth she undertakes. It's a sweet and emotional story that reads easily and quickly. I ended up reading the entire book in one sitting. There's a variety of feelings and emotions in the story - from happiness and laughter to desperation, depression, and anxiety - and then even trust, heartbreak, and love. I definitely recommend this book to fans of the YA contemporary genre, as well as readers who are looking for a good contemporary YA novel that focuses more on the main character and her journey with some romance thrown into the mix.

Don't Forget to Check Out Book #1:
Most days, Shana Norris still feels like she’s stuck at sixteen, which is probably why she enjoys writing about teens. She has faced her fear of heights to climb to the top of Chimney Rock near Asheville, NC, but she isn’t yet brave enough to go cliff-jumping into ponds. She lives in a small town in eastern North Carolina with her husband and small zoo of pets, which currently includes two dogs, five cats, and a flock of chickens.
Shana Norris has entertained millions of readers as the author of Troy High, the popular Swans Landing series, and The Boyfriend Thief, a companion book to The Secrets Between You and Me and a part of the Stolen Kiss collection.

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