All My Secrets by Sophie McKenzie is a gripping thriller on an identity crisis [Review]

All My Secrets by Sophie McKenzie is a gripping thriller on an identity crisis [Review]

All My Secrets
By Sophie McKenzie
Published by Simon and Schuster
ISBN 978 1471122217

What if your whole life was a lie? In the first few pages of All My Secrets, teenager Evie Brown's ordinary life is suddenly turned upside down when a lawyer knocks on her door to tell her that she is the recipient of a ten million pound inheritance from someone she has never heard of. Further stunning information informs Evie that the "stranger" is her birth mother - who she knew nothing about.

But Evie already has a mother! Evie cannot understand why the couple she thought were her parents have not told her that her real mother was someone her father knew before he married.

Unable to accept that her parents made a decision to hide the truth to protect her, Evie turns against her parents, branding them liars and traitors. Her response to the news might be a bit over the top, but it does get the plot moving.

Who was Evie's real mother, Irina Galloway? How did she die? Why have her parents been hiding her identity all these years? Evie Googles the name, and discovers that Irina Galloway was a celebrated dancer.

Evie is set on finding out all she can, so when she discovers that Irina had a brother called Gavin, she decides to track him down to learn more about her mother and escape the unbearable situation that has developed at home.

Now the unease and the mystery really kick in. Evie meets "Uncle Gavin" and the two of them get on worryingly well. Evie's new "relative" suggests to her parents that Evie might benefit from a month's stay in a specialist facility for troubled teenagers on the remote island of Lightsea which, he claims is run by a man who knew Irina Galloway very well. All parties agree, and Evie sets off for Lightsea.

This sudden plot change of direction might seem a bit clumsy. Would Mr and Mrs Brown really allow their daughter to go to Lightsea on the recommendation of someone they don't know? But that small doubt in the reader's mind is soon dispelled as the plot thickens.

Sophie McKenzie is expert at manipulating the reader's expectations, and this is one of he things that make her novels so addictive. But besides being a cracking thriller, All My Secrets also takes on the classic themes of trust, confusion and alienation.

This is the perfect engrossing read for thriller addicts who will probably devour it in one sitting.

John Millen can be contacted on

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Gripping thriller sees one girl questioning her own identity


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