Secrets Never Die / Vincent Ralph / Book Review


Sam Hall and his friends have secrets, secrets nobody can ever know. That's why they have their ritual. Every year on Halloween, they sneak off into the woods to spill their secrets in an abandoned shack. The Dark Place, as they call it, eats their secrets, never to be shared again. But this year, something's gone wrong.

Someone followed them. Or maybe something was already waiting.

Caught in the middle of their ritual, these friends run. And the next day, they start getting texts, ominous and threatening: somebody knows their secrets. As a former child actor, Sam is no stranger to being in the spotlight, but this attention is different. This attention is menacing. Who followed them? Who knows their secrets? Sam will have to find out before its too late for them all.



This book is simultaneously high melodrama and, somehow, incredibly bland. But I kind of expected that going in. For a book that revolves around secrets, the secrets were a letdown, but that's my biggest critique. This book is everything it claims to be, no more and no less.


Bully There's something about having a bully in the "friend" group that just immediately ups the ante. Sure, Dom is reformed... or at least Dom is nice enough to his friends. But there are a lot of people motivated to take Dom down, so when things start going awry, the suspect list really is huge. Anyone could have a reason to mess with Dom and his friends.

Quick This is exactly the type of book that you can really fly through. It doesn't require deep processing or a lot of thought. The chapters are short and snappy. There's always a hook to pull you on. You could rip through these pages in no time, so the fact that this isn't the peak of literature doesn't really matter. It's such a quick read, you'll have no time for regret.

Atmosphere The culprit here could be a person, but... all signs point to something a little more supernatural. The whole setup feels particularly... demonic. Blood-filled eggs splattering. An abandoned hut in the woods. Flickering candlelight on Halloween night. All of it builds up to create a sense that these kids really might have summoned something in these woods. Sure, there are benign possible explanations, but at the same time, all this evidence...


It wasn't really until the end that anything here actually, you know, happened. Sure, the blackmailer was sending weird videos of these kids out in public... but wasn't making actual threats with these videos? I just wasn't ever sure what the actual intention was. What was motivating these threats? What was the threat itself? It just all felt a little vague. Melodramatic, for sure, but not particularly concrete. Consequences

Where's the nearest slaughterhouse to your house? If you're a suburban kid, you probably don't know, and yet, these kids have a slaughterhouse right in their (metaphorical) backyard. And they know about it. That's just a weird feature in their suburban lives. It feels so convenient. They need to source some blood, and that's not an ordeal. There's a slaughterhouse right around the corner! This is just so odd. Convenient Slaughterhouse

This book hinges on secrets, secrets big enough to blackmail somebody over. And yet these secrets were so incredibly mundane. There was no real reason for these kids to feel the need to hide most of these secrets in the first place, let alone create a whole elaborate, candlelight-in-the-woods ceremony to kill these secrets year after year. When this is so integral to the plot... Yeah, it's just bad. No Big Secrets



Fans of Sara Shepherd's Pretty Little Liars will like this world of secrets and not-so-stellar friends. Those who enjoyed Diana Urban's These Deadly Games will enjoy the creeping (and possibly deserved) blackmail of this plot.

Pretty Little Liars These Deadly Games

Publisher: Wednesday Books
Date: August 29, 2023
Series: N/A
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Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.


  1. I do like a quick book thats easy to read with lots of hooks! This sounds interesting for sure.

    Corinne x

  2. Great honest review! I do love quick books, but it's too bad the ending and secrets didn't leave an impact. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Oh this one has me intrigued. I’m sorry it was disappointing for you!

  4. Probably not one for me - based on your review! But I recently read Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo for the first time and that was FAB!

    1. I’ve had Ninth House on my TBR for forever! I’ve only heard great things. Maybe that will be my first spooky season read.

  5. I do like that this book is set around Halloween, and that's great it's quick to read. However, it does sound like it's a letdown when the secrets aren't even that serious.

  6. I do like that this book is set around Halloween, and that's great it's quick to read. However, it does sound like it's a letdown when the secrets aren't even that serious.


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