Review published on April 4, 2013.Reviewed by Jade Cranwell
[product sku=”9780751552287″]‘The girl he thinks he loves needs to disappear. I don’t want tonight to be irreversible, so I pull away, breathing him in one last time.’
They were best friends throughout their childhood, until one tragic night when it all changed and rather than facing up to her demons, Ella decides to run away to college, leaving behind her old life – and Micha.
Eight months later, its summer break, and Ella has no where else to go but home, which means returning to face the very problems she ran away from, and with Micha living right next door, Ella fears everything she has worked so hard to bury deep inside will come back to the surface. When leaving for college, Ella took the opportunity to mould herself into a polite, quiet and scholarly girl, instead of the feisty teenage she once was. It’s not long before Micha notices the change and decides he’ll do whatever it takes to get back the Ella that ran away.
They have many similarities; both had a difficult upbringing and family problems meaning they had to grow up fast. Micha grew up without a dad and Ella with an unstable, bipolar mother and drunken father.
This is Jessica Sorensen’s first YA novel and it is doing very well over in the states. For a young adult novel, The Secret of Ella and Micha is better than most books out on the market today. For a start, it deals with real life problems that many, if not all teenagers face, and features characters the reader can easily relate to – unlike many of the unrealistic stories currently sold to young adults. The backstory of this book is interesting; initially self-published in October 2012, The Secret of Ella and Micha became a bestselling e-book, reaching number two on the New York Times e-book bestseller list. It is well written and easy to read, but despite this, there are a few things I wanted to uncharacteristically moan about.
The first thing I want to draw your attention to is the uselessness of the front cover. Within the first three chapters we learn that Ella has long auburn hair and Micha blonde, whereas the couple on the cover have the very opposite. This won’t bother many people, but it just shows that more effort could have gone into marketing and packaging the book. It does let it down a little for me.
Secondly, between them, Ella and Micha have more than just the one secret the title suggests. But is there one secret bigger than the rest? No. In fact, having only just finished the book, I have no idea what the secret in the title could be…
But the main problem that irritated me from page one was the presence of secondary character, and Ella’s roommate, Lila. I feel like her absence from the entire book could only be an improvement. She seemed like a pointless addition to the plot, with no charisma or spark in dialogue or actions.
Despite having a few cons to it, the secret of Ella and Micha was a good read and I would wholeheartedly recommend it as a holiday/beach read. It is quick to get through and the storyline has some heart to it, but perhaps it won’t be everyone’s perfect book.
An extract from Emma Brockes’ She Left Me The Gun