About the Book
Title: All Your Twisted Secrets
Author: Diana Urban
Publisher: HarperTeen (March 17, 2020)
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Suspense, Contemporary
Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Book Depository | Kobo
This thrilling debut, reminiscent of new fan favorites like One of Us Is Lying and the beloved classics by Agatha Christie, will leave readers guessing until the explosive ending.
Welcome to dinner, and again, congratulations on being selected. Now you must do the selecting.
What do the queen bee, star athlete, valedictorian, stoner, loner, and music geek all have in common? They were all invited to a scholarship dinner, only to discover it’s a trap. Someone has locked them into a room with a bomb, a syringe filled with poison, and a note saying they have an hour to pick someone to kill … or else everyone dies.
Amber Prescott is determined to get her classmates and herself out of the room alive, but that might be easier said than done. No one knows how they’re all connected or who would want them dead. As they retrace the events over the past year that might have triggered their captor’s ultimatum, it becomes clear that everyone is hiding something. And with the clock ticking down, confusion turns into fear, and fear morphs into panic as they race to answer the biggest question: Who will they choose to die?
My pulse raced as I stared at the syringe of poison and the bomb atop the gleaming silver platter. Within the hour, you must choose someone in this room to die. If you don’t, everyone dies.
“That’s one sick prank,” said Robbie. “Who the hell would do this?” He grabbed the note from me, his eyes darting across the page. Diego leaned against the edge of the table, studying the bomb.
“Wait, wait, wait.” Sasha clutched her throat. “Does that mean . . . if we don’t kill one of us, that bomb will go off in an hour?”
Scott burst out laughing.
“What the hell is so funny?” asked Sasha.
He leaned back in his chair. “It’s obviously a joke, and you fell for it like an anvil.”
“Doesn’t seem very funny to me,” muttered Robbie.
“Who would do this?” Priya cried. “Who would think up something so awful?”
“Did anyone see who shut the door?” I asked. Priya and Scott shook their heads.
“No.” Diego slumped back into his seat. “I didn’t see anyone.”
“Me neither,” said Sasha. “I was too busy talking to that creep.” She motioned toward Scott, and he scoffed.
“Someone probably stood behind the door and pushed it closed,” said Diego.
Priya visibly shivered. “Does that mean someone was hiding behind the door the whole time?”
“And are they still out there?” My voice shook slightly.
Robbie slammed the note on the table and scooted his chair back with a screech, making me jump. “This is ridiculous.” He rounded his chair and pounded on the door. “Hey! Unlock the door!” His jaw tightened when nobody replied. “This isn’t funny. Unlock the door now!”
“Oh my God,” said Priya. Sasha took slow, deep breaths, trying to keep calm, but her eyes darted around the room frantically.
“Robbie.” I rushed toward him, grabbing his hand. “Calm down. It’s just some morbid joke. I’m sure they’ll get bored and let us out.”
He shook me off and knelt, peering with one eye into the large keyhole below the doorknob. “There’s no key.”
“I didn’t hear a lock click or anything,” Sasha added.
“It all happened so fast.” I touched the oak door, the wood cool under my palm, and turned back to the group. “Think they’re still out there?”
Robbie shrugged. “Who the hell knows?”
“Hello?” I called out. “Is anyone there?”
“This is bullshit.” Robbie kicked the door. “What kind of sick psycho would—”
“Shhh.” I waved him off and pressed my ear against the door, but all I could hear was Priya muttering, “Oh my God, oh my God,” over and over again. “Priya, shut up,” I said. She clamped her lips shut, her eyes glassy.
I pressed my ear against the door again, straining to hear something. A voice. Footsteps. Someone breathing. Anything. But all I could hear were the muffled baritones and strings from the orchestral music playing in the main dining room.
“Nothing?” asked Diego.
I shook my head and knelt, peeking through the keyhole. My heart raced as I held my breath. Years of watching horror movies had trained me to expect an eyeball to appear on the other side. My whole body tensed, ready to leap backward.
But all I could see was one of the red-cushioned booths across the main dining room. There was no movement of any kind. “There’s nobody there.” I stood and turned back to the group. “I don’t see anything.”
“Damn, it’s so hot in here.” Sasha touched the back of her hand to her forehead.
“It really is.” I wiped my upper lip and scanned the walls. “Crap. The thermostat must be out in the main dining room.”
“It’s gotten worse since we got here.” Priya tugged on her hair. “I just want to go home.”
I gasped and bit my lip. Home. I forgot to text Mom when Robbie and I got here. “Oh, no.” I grabbed my phone from the table and raised it toward the ceiling, but I had no signal whatsoever. Sasha tried the same thing, stretching toward the windows facing the alley.
“Nothing,” she confirmed. “I can’t get anything.”
“Crap, crap, crap.” My chest tightened like a vise squeezing my heart. What if something terrible did happen here tonight? What was the last thing I said to my mother as I ran out the door? Did I tell her I loved her? When was the last time I told my parents I loved them? A chill tore through me despite the room’s warmth, and I shook the morbid thought away. This was just a prank. It wasn’t real.
“Oh my God.” Sasha hunched over, hugging herself around the middle. “This can’t be happening.”
“So what do we do?” asked Robbie.
Sasha straightened and rubbed her forehead with trembling fingers. “I can’t believe this is happening. What if we’re really going to have to do this? What if they really make us kill one of us?”
Amber and five of her friends have been selected for the Brewster Town Hall Scholarship. They get invited to dine with the mayor to celebrate this achievement. What they’re hoping to be a night full of warm smiles and delicious food turns out to be a disaster. The mayor doesn’t show up and they get locked up in a private dining room with no reception at all. What’s worse is that they are the only guests for the evening and there’s no way to escape.
On the table are a poisoned syringe, a note, and a bomb that goes off in an hour. The note says they have to pick someone to kill with the syringe, or the bomb goes off and they all die. They assume that this is just a prank but can’t help but panic as the countdown goes. What if it’s real? Secrets are spilled and true colors are revealed. Can one life be measured by success and appearance? Who’s to say that one life is more worthy of saving than the rest?
This YA mystery is fast-paced and hard to put down. The writing is crafty as the story mostly deals with six people contained in one room. That is hard to pull off but the interaction is balanced and no one gets left behind. It starts with the present and then flashbacks. The past reconnects to the present, and the pattern continues. Each chapter is a revelation; the characters are well-written and their backgrounds are realistic. This Breakfast Club/Saw/Mean Girls is highly recommended to all the mystery fans out there. TWs include bullying, suicide, car accident, hypoglycemia, abusive parents, drugs, gaslighting, and depression.
About the Author
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I’m Diana Urban, and I write dark, twisty thrillers for teens including All Your Twisted Secrets (HarperTeen, March 17, 2020). When I’m not torturing fictional characters, I’m a marketing manager at BookBub, a leading book discovery platform. Outside the bookish world, I live with my husband and cat in Boston, and enjoy reading, video games, fawning over cute animals, and looking at the beach from a safe distance.
Win 1 of 2 copies of ALL YOUR TWISTED SECRETS by Diana Urban (US-only). This giveaway runs from March 17 to March 31, 2020. Click here to enter.
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