Thank you all the time to TBR and Beyond Tours for selecting me for this blog tour. Here’s the schedule if you want to see more. I’ll be giving a review and my favourite quotes from the book so I’m going to try something with them and see if it works. Please note as this is a review copy, the quotes shown here might not be entirely accurate to the quotes shown in the published version.
Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the blog tour company (TBR and Beyond Tours) and the publisher (via Netgalley) in return for a free and honest review and a spot on the blog tour. The summary, book details, and content warnings are taken from Goodreads and The Storygraph; from me reading the book, or from others’ reviews. Representation is taken from the author’s social media, from me reading the book, or from others’ review – I try to be as accurate as possible. I try my absolute best to find the cover art/designer but unfortunately I am not always able to do so. The page numbers/audio hours are taken from the version that I’m reading from (if an e-arc, the digital version then). The featured image and other blog tour information (purchase links, author information etc) are provided by TBR and Beyond Tours. Any opinions expressed are my own. This is a spoiler-free review with slight references towards the spoilers, be they plot or characters.
Title: We’ll Never Tell
Author: Wendy Heard
Cover Artist/Designer: Bex Glendining (Cover Art). Tracy Shaw (Cover Design).
Number of Pages: 320
Year Published: 2023
Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books (Imprint of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Age Demographic: Young Adult
Genre: Mystery ~ Thriller
Rep: Queer main characters. Male/Male romance
Links: Goodreads || The Storygraph
Copy: E-arc (Netgalley via a blog tour company)
CW/TW: Violence. Murder. Crime. Death of a parent. Hospitalisation (Medical Coma). Unsolved Murder.
An ambitious and juicy whodunit doused in Hollywood lore, perfect for readers of sexy summer thrillers like The Twin by Natasha Preston and The Agathas by Kathleen Glasgow and Liz Lawson.
No one at Hollywood High knows who’s behind We’ll Never Tell—a viral YouTube channel where the anonymous creators trespass behind the scenes of LA’s most intriguing locales. The team includes CASEY, quiet researcher and trivia champ; JACOB, voice narrator and video editor, who is secretly dating EDDIE, aspiring filmmaker; and ZOE, coder and breaking-and-entering extraordinaire.
Now senior year is winding down, and with their lives heading in different directions, the YouTubers vow to go out with a bang. Their last episode will be filmed at the infamous Valentini “murder house,” which has been left abandoned, bloodstained, and untouched since a shocking murder/suicide in 1972. When the teens break in, they capture epic footage. But someone trips an alarm, and it’s a mad dash to get out before the police arrive—at which point they realize only three of them escaped instead of four. Jacob is still inside, slain and bleeding out. Is his attack connected to the historic murder, or is one of their crew responsible?
A week of suspicions and cover-ups unfolds as Casey and her remaining friends try to stay alive long enough to solve murder mysteries past and present. If they do, their friendship may not survive. If they don’t, the house will claim more victims.
But then, that’s how pain works: When you’re in enough of it, there’s no thinking of anything or anybody else.
Wendy Heard really wrote grief and managing grief well. I could feel and see it. It definitely made me feel more connected to Casey because I understood her more. When I started the book I wasn’t really connecting to her (Casey) but as I carried on and she spoke about grief more; I did feel more connected. This is my first Wendy Heard novel so I have no idea if the theme of grief is present in her other books – I certainly hope so as I really enjoyed how it was written in We’ll Never Tell.
Sometimes, grief seizes me in a violent grip, and when it does, I almost double over in pain. I pause, breathe, try to release the image of how my life was meant to be. It doesn’t matter what was destined; it only matters what actually happened. That’s what I tell myself.
But in reality, there’s no romance in a crime of passion. There’s just the ending of a life, small and quiet, and the broken people who get left behind.
I like how they approached the story of the supposed ghost house and the true crime/unsolved murders. That in the end they’re still people and they deserve respect. They should’ve received respect but they didn’t get that. Instead they got a whole media circus over and over again. Every aspect of their lives were searched through and stories were made up left, right, and centre.
Of course, being that the main characters run a YouTube channel there’s a lot that can be said about true crime and these topics being shown in media. The world is so obsessed with true crime podcasts and they’re the first ones who’ll sit and binge watch unsolved murder tv shows – often forgetting that the victims were all people before all of this. Many times in fact, their families are often still alive and are witnessing the world obsessing over what happened to their loved ones.
I did want their YouTube channel to have been a bigger plot point. People finding out about it, more reminiscing about other projects they did – even just a simple scene or two responding to comments or looking at analytics. They’re apparently a huge channel (a million or more subscribers?) but it felt like after they went into the house the channel was simply forgotten about?
Maybe ghosts are real. I don’t buy it. Humans are worse than anything we dream up.
Casey and the boys (Eddie and Jacob) were my favourite and I disliked Zoe – I didn’t feel connected to her like I did to the others. But there’s probably others who disliked Eddie and Jacob and whose favourite character was Zoe – that’s what’s great about reading – that we can like different characters.
I hoped that I would see and believe the friendships in the book and I did! Even though I thought Zoe was the weakest one for me (personally) I could still see her friendship with the others. I think that made me like her a bit more, not enough, though.
But then, we’re all one of a kind. That’s the point, really, in the end. None of us are replaceable. When one of us dies, it leaves a hole that can never be filled. Ever.
I think this is probably my favourite quote of them all. This can be applied to any character in the book – living or dead. But it also can be applied to the reader – and you can take this quote anywhere it needs to be in your life. In this book it’s referring to Casey’s mom and how Casey will always be thinking of her (as is with loved ones who are passed away). The quote is also about the Valentini murders – how they were more than what was written about, and that all the headlines and articles never really seemed to get their personalities right. Which they wouldn’t because they care more about how big of a story it would make and how to sensationalise it all.
I’m glad that I enjoyed this more than I thought I would as it’s now introduced me to another author! Of course, I have no idea when I’ll get around to Heard’s other books but I’ve seen her other titles around – specifically She’s Too Pretty to Burn – have you seen the gorgeous cover?
Have you seen this book around? Or have read other Wendy Heard books? If you have definitely come and tell me what you thought of them so I can know which titles I should try to get to first!
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indigo | IndieBound
About the Author: Wendy Heard is the author of suspense and thrillers for adults and teens, including THE KILL CLUB, SHE’S TOO PRETTY TO BURN, and DEAD END GIRLS. Wendy has spent most of her life in Los Angeles, California, which is on fire more than she would honestly prefer, and can often be found haunting local hiking trails and bookstores. She loves all things vintage and has a collection of thrillers and adventure books from the 80s.
Author Links: Website || Twitter || Instagram || Goodreads || TikTok
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