Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban. This tour is being hosted by Fantastic Flying Book Club.
All Your Twisted Secrets
by Diana Urban
Release Date: March 17th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Contemporary
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?
Dear Amber Prescott,
Congratulations! It is our pleasure to inform you that you have been selected as a recipient of the Brewster Town Hall Scholarship in the amount of $20,000. We commend you for your musical talents and contributions to the community.
To celebrate your achievements, we invite you to dine with Mayor Timothy Meinot and the other five scholarship recipients on Tuesday, February 4th, at 7 p.m. at the Chesterfield.
Again, congratulations, and we look forward to meeting you at the Chesterfield.
Brewster Town Hall Scholarship Committee
I spent the last hour wondering if I would die tonight.
You can drop dead from a heart attack at seventeen, right? The prospect of tonight’s dinner party made my heart ricochet off my rib cage so fiercely I was convinced my days were numbered.
What’s so bad about a dinner party? Let’s start with the fact that my boyfriend, Robbie, was also invited to this little shindig, and we were on shaky ground. Our post-graduation plans were at odds, to say the least—and as senior year dwindled, the tension mounted. It didn’t help that soon-to-be-valedictorian Diego scored an invite, too. Our friendship had recently morphed into something else—something that made my cheeks flush, my nerves tingle, and my heart swell like a submerged sponge.
Putting the three of us in the same room could be catastrophic. If Robbie suspected I liked the class nerd, he’d introduce Diego to his fist in front of everyone. I had bigger issues with Robbie than another boy. But strike a match in a room doused with lighter fluid, and you’re bound to get burned. If I were even slightly capable of hiding my emotions, I might get through the night unscathed. Unfortunately, I’m a crap liar, so splitsville with a side of bruising was basically inevitable.
Yep. A heart attack was imminent. I just had to get tonight over with, and everything would work out.
I cranked up the Harry Potter score in an attempt to quell my nerves and ransacked my wardrobe, quickly determining that everything I owned looked hideous. I could either go ultra-casual or concert black (or funeral chic, as Sasha liked to call it) and either option was downright depressing.
After most of my clothes were heaped into a pile on the floor—much to the delight of my cat, Mittens, who swiftly nestled in—I discovered an old emerald sequined number I wore to a piano recital years ago. The dress now ended well above my knees, but it was the only garment within reach that wasn’t a complete waste of space.
“Amber, you look great!” Mom said as I raced up the stairs from my basement bedroom, tugging at the dress’s hem.
“You’re only saying that because you’re my mom.”
“Don’t get all self-deprecating on me.” She scrunched one of my red curls, which already threatened to go limp. Her own red, stick-straight hair was cut in a typical mom-bob. “You look sophisticated. Though that dress could stand to be a little longer—”
“Is Robbie here yet?” He was already ten minutes late. I peered out the front door’s stained-glass window, searching for his black SUV while fidgeting with my amethyst bracelet. Mittens rubbed against my ankles, getting his white fur all over my black velvet peep-toe shoes.
“You’re not allowed to date ’til you’re forty-seven,” Dad shouted from his office down the hall.
“Is this a bad time to point out we’ve been dating for like a year?” I said. Even Mom mirrored my exaggerated eye roll.
Just as I rattled off a text to Robbie, his headlights flooded the driveway. I dropped my phone into my purse, and Mom handed me a jacket and kissed my cheek before I could bolt out the door. “Text me when you get there.”
“God, Mom.” I wiggled into the coat. “In a few months, I’ll be in college. Should I text you whenever I go anywhere then, too?”
“That’d be great, thanks for offering!” Her eyes twinkled mischievously, though with the flicker of sadness that never really left them. “Love you.”
“Bye!” I called over my shoulder as I raced into the unseasonably muggy night and down the front walk, my unzipped coat flapping behind me. Mom wasn’t exactly overprotective. She let me do whatever, as long as I constantly let her know I was still alive.
I couldn’t say she didn’t have a good reason.
Robbie tossed his baseball mitt into the backseat. “Hey, babe—”
“Fifteen minutes late, Robbie? Really?” I slammed the passenger door and clicked on my seat belt in one fluid motion. I wasn’t usually one to pick a fight, but my nerves had me on edge.
“Amber. Chill. Practice went a little late.” His go-to excuse. Robbie leaned over and kissed me, the sweet scent of soap and hair gel flooding my senses. He gripped the back of my headrest and backed down the driveway. Mom gave a little wave from the living room window, and the curtains fluttered shut as Robbie floored the gas. “Besides, I had to stop at home to grab your present.” He reached behind my seat without taking his eyes from the road, grabbed a small box, and tossed it onto my lap.
“My . . . present? For what?”
“Open it.” He grinned, the corners of his gray eyes crinkling as dimples creased his cheeks. Curious, I plucked open the red ribbon securing the small white box and found a charm bracelet inside. Several tiny silver music notes dangled from an amethyst-beaded band. “I thought it’d go with your other bracelet.” He motioned to my grandmother’s amethyst bracelet on my right wrist.
My anger dissipated, replaced by a confusing mix of joy and dread. “But what’s this for?”
“What, I can’t get something nice for my girl for no reason?” His smile widened—that infectious grin that always made me feel like I was somehow the brightest star in his sky. It seemed genuine. Everything about Robbie was genuine. He wore his heart on his sleeve, which was a blessing and a curse—I never had to wonder how much he loved me . . . or how annoyed he was with me, especially recently. But the musical theme of his gift caught me off guard.
My music had been a sore point for us lately. Robbie wanted me to follow him and his baseball scholarship to Georgia Tech, as if ditching my dreams of studying music at USC or Berklee wasn’t that big a sacrifice. “But you can play music anywhere,” he’d insisted. A couple of months ago we had a huge fight about it, and he convinced me to apply to Georgia Tech, suggesting we put off the discussion until I heard back from them.
Then I got my acceptance letter. That’s when I knew we were going to break up.
I might’ve fallen in love with Robbie, but I’d been in love with music for as long as I could remember. I couldn’t let him tempt me into abandoning my dreams. Despite my resolve, I hadn’t figured out how to break the news.
But this was a shocking turn of events. I ran my fingers over the music note charms. It was such a thoughtful gift. Did he finally see my point of view? Was he willing to compromise?
As if on cue, he said, “I know we haven’t talked about school and stuff in a while.” School and stuff. How neatly all of my musical ambitions could be packed into one word. Stuff. He smoothed back his short dirty-blond hair. “Have you heard from Georgia Tech yet?”
I ended up really enjoying All Your Twisted Secrets. I didn’t want to put it down at times.
Amber wants to do music for movies. She’s obsessed with them and extremely talented. She wants to go to USC, but her father isn’t thrilled with it. Mostly because of the cost. Amber decided to try to become friends with the super popular girl, Sasha. Sasha runs drama club, so Amber needs to convince her to let her make music for the play. About five years ago, Amber’s sister killed herself after being bullied. Maggie was the perfect daughter that was going to be a doctor. Amber feels the pressure of never living up to her sister. She also has a lot of guilt over Maggie’s death. Amber pulled away from most people, but she stayed best friends with Priya. They spent most of their time together. Priya was more reserved, but she had dreams of being a cheerleader. Sasha was a cheerleader, so Amber thought becoming a part of that group might get Priya a spot.
Sasha was your typical mean girl. She was popular and everyone wanted to be her friend. But she bullied people. She tore them down. Everything was a competition and she had to be the best. Sasha helped Amber get her boyfriend, Robbie. They have been together for awhile, but things aren’t going well. Robbie wants to play baseball in college and hopefully go pro. He thinks Amber should go to his school that has no music program. Also, Amber has a crush on her old friend, Diego.
The book goes back and forth in time. In the current time, six kids received an invitation for a scholarship dinner. When they get there, things seem off. No one else is there. Then the door closes and locks. There are only two small windows and they have bars on them. While uncovering the food, they find a note, a syringe, and a bomb. The note tells them that they have to kill one person using the poison in order to stop the bomb. This brings out the worst in most of them while they try to find a way out and then try to figure out who should die.
I don’t really want to get into more in case I ruin the story. I will add that the six people stuck inside the room are all very different from each other and don’t hang out in the same groups. The smartest kid in school was invited, but so was the school stoner/dealer.
I gave this book 4 stars. Thank you to the publisher for my earc and the author for my signed physical arc.
Warnings for suicide, bullying, some violence, and death.
I’m Diana Urban, and I write dark, twisty thrillers for teens including All Your Twisted Secrets (HarperTeen, March 17th 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.
Prize: Win (1) of (2) copies of ALL YOUR TWISTED SECRETS by Diana Urban (US Only)
Starts: 17th March 2020
Ends: 31th March 2020
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