Like many fans of YA literature, I like a good love triangle. I’ve read books with bitter enemies, best friends, and even siblings fighting over the same person. It’s usually two guys competing for the love of a girl, but my latest read kind of turned that on its ear. In No One Needs to Know by Amanda Grace, we do see two siblings with feelings for one girl, but this book features twins, one male and one female, vying for the attention of the same person. It’s an interesting dynamic, and one, to my knowledge, that hasn’t received a lot of attention in contemporary YA lit. Let’s dive in, shall we?
Olivia seems to have it all. She’s rich, she’s a gymnastics star, and she’s beautiful. But Olivia is struggling. Her twin brother, Liam, is pulling away from her, her parents don’t seem to care about her unless it’s convenient for them, gymnastics doesn’t hold the appeal it once did, and anxiety is taking over her life. Even her best (and only) friend, Ava, can’t be counted on to be there when Olivia needs her. Olivia feels all alone in the world, but that’s about to change…
Zoey is the school pariah. A mistake during her freshman year made her a target of the school’s resident mean girl, Ava, and Zoey’s been public enemy number one ever since. Add in the fact that she’s one of the lone scholarship kids at a prestigious all-girls school, and it’s easy to see how Zoey would feel alone in a crowd. Not to mention that she has worries that her classmates just don’t. While keeping up her grades, Zoey must also take care of her little sister, keep things running at home while her mom works her fingers to the bone, and hold down a part-time job. These rich kids don’t know how good they’ve got it.
When Zoey and Olivia are paired up for a class project, both girls get the opportunity to really see “how the other half lives.” And when Zoey begins dating Olivia’s brother, Liam, she’ll realize that these rich kids don’t have it quite as easy as she once believed. Olivia will also see just how badly Zoey has been treated, and these two unlikely friends will grow closer than they ever thought possible…so close that the two eventually fall for each other.
Olivia knows that Liam is growing serious about Zoey, and she doesn’t know how to reconcile that with her growing, unexpected feelings. She knows that Zoey feels the same way about her, but neither of them wants to hurt Liam. How can these two girls hope to be together when it means hurting someone they both care about?
As Olivia and Zoey navigate the tough waters of this new relationship, they’ll have to decide what’s really important to them. Is being together more important than anything? More important than friendships or family? What will they have to give up to be together…and will it be worth it in the end?
No One Needs to Know is a quick read, and I think it’s a good addition to LGBTQ young adult lit collections. Even though the characters could have been fleshed out a bit more, I did care about them, and I wanted Olivia and Zoey to find some way to be together.
*Spoilers* In the end, though, I thought it was a little too easy. I doubt I would have been quite as understanding as Liam was. I get that he wanted his sister to be happy, but I felt there should have been a bit more conflict when the big reveal occurred.
Given that I read an uncorrected galley of this book (courtesy of NetGalley), I’m confident that most of the grammar, punctuation, and formatting errors will be corrected before the book’s release on September 8th. I’m also hoping that a decision will be made on what Zoey’s little sister’s name is. In one sentence, she’s Charlotte. In the next, she’s Carolyn. Pick one!
I know many school libraries are wary of including a lot of LGBTQ literature in their collections, but this is one that shouldn’t cause any kind of ruckus. The relationship between Olivia and Zoey never gets graphic, and it is, at its heart, a very sweet love story. That’s more that can be said about many books featuring heterosexual couples!
If you’d like to learn more about No One Needs to Know and author Amanda Grace (also known as Mandy Hubbard), visit either of these websites: http://amandagracebooks.blogspot.com/ or http://mandyhubbard.blogspot.com/.