Friday, December 18, 2015

Book Tour: The Secrets We Kept - Lily Velez

The Secrets We Kept by Lily Velez 
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Publication date: November 8th 2015

One year. That’s how long it’s been since childhood sweethearts Sully Graham and Cadence Gilbertson broke up, since one adoption and one out-of-state move turned their worlds upside down.
Suddenly, Cadence is back in New York City, but something’s different about her. The light in her eyes, the music in her laughter, the warmth in her smile—all of those things have entirely vanished. In their place stand the makings of a girl Sully can’t even begin to recognize, much less understand.
Still, despite the collective history of heartbreak between them, he’s convinced he can win her trust again, and he’s committed to proving the invincibility of their love no matter what it takes.
But Cadence is quietly harboring secrets of her own. Dark secrets. Ugly secrets. Secrets that could break a person. And though broken herself and unbearably lonely, she’s determined to protect Sully from her terrible, biting truths. Even if it means locking him out of her life forever.
The only problem is it seems her heart hasn’t quite received the memo. One glimpse of him is all it takes for her to trip into familiar (and, she’ll admit, addictive) feelings that threaten to all but consume her. Now her biggest fear is that her secrets will begin to slowly unravel one by one…long before Sully’s resolve ever does.
The Secrets We Kept is a moving story about first love, friendship, and forgiveness, and the enduring bonds that forever connect us and give us our strength.

Rating: 4 Stars
I don't often review without providing a summary first, but The Secrets We Kept is the kind of book you need to read to experience and understand. It's a young adult book that transcends the genre confinements, with dual POV from a high school girl and a newly-independent male. There's no cliche insta-love, over-the-top smut, or easily handled drama. What there is, however, is a lot of harsh realities in the form of a beautiful fiction story. There's teenage love, emotional foster family situations, loss, and a profound discussion on childhood mental illness and depression.

 We begin in the present, learning the current lives of our hero and heroine, Sully and Cadence, separated for a year, and as time goes on we revisit the past and learn the history that both brought together and tore apart the young couple. Their stories are much more than you expect, with a non-traditional family, the characters have fundamental relationships with the minor characters within the foster system. They take on the roles of being older siblings, of hosting parties for one another, and assisting with homework although there are capable adults around. The minor characters were so important to the story and the shaping of the main characters; I really enjoyed the relationships between them and the unique dialogue each had. The bond between the foster children is what really keeps this book moving forward, with the minor characters the tie between the two main characters.

The story itself is hard to read emotionally, because the depression and mental illness discussions feel so real and are real for many. The characters are all dealing with their own individual situations, leaning on each other and sometimes hoping they had some one to lean on. The characters come from all walks of life and have situations to face that make you both sad and hopeful at the same time. I really appreciated how Lily detailed the feelings of every character and dealt with the individual situations uniquely, using the characters to show that you don't have to face anything alone. I finished this book and felt like I should take it down to the local high school library and recommend they share it with students, because I think it contains a valuable lesson on sharing feelings, not judging, and how childhood depression is far more common than many like to acknowledge, to share that there is no shame in any of it. Lily Velez's detailed writing brings to life the characters and I feel like she shared a lot of understanding of childhood depression and mental illness with the depth of her writing.

Lily Velez has been writing stories since she was six years old. Not much has changed since then. She still prefers the written word and her overactive imagination over the ‘real world’ (though to be fair, her stories no longer feature talking dinosaurs). A graduate of Rollins College and a Florida native, when she's not reading or writing, she spends most of her days wrangling up her pit bulls Noah and Luna, planning exciting travel adventures, and nursing her addiction to cheese. All this when she isn’t participating in the extreme sport known as napping.
You can learn more about Lily and her books at

Lily's debut young adult novel, The Secrets We Kept, released on November 8, 2015
Tour-wide giveaway (INTL) $50 Amazon Gift Card

1 comment

  1. Great review, Carlene! This sounds like such a compelling and emotional ride! I love books that deal with tough subjects and this sounds right uo my alley! Glad you liked it! :)


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