Book Report: Our highly scientific analysis of a book, from the characters to the writing style to the swoon. See More...

Three’s Company

Talk about sibling rivalry: a girl starts crushing on her brother's girlfriend in No One Needs to Know by Amanda Grace.

Three’s Company

BOOK REPORT for No One Needs to Know by Amanda Grace

Cover Story: A New Spin on a Tired Trope
BFF Charm: Yay and Maybe
Swoonworthy Scale: 3
Talky Talk: She Said, She Said
Bonus Factors: LGBTQ, Gymnastics, Prescient School Projects
Relationship Status: I'm the Rebound

Cover Story: A New Spin on a Tired Trope

Secret hand-holding isn't anything we haven't seen before, but at least it's done by two girls here. Although I have to chuckle at how the girls' arms and the guy's shoulders literally form a love triangle.

The Deal:

You know those siblings who happen to be each other's best friends? That's totally the case with Olivia and her twin brother, Liam -- up until Liam starts getting a life of his own, anyway. And lately, that life includes his latest girlfriend, Zoey.

But as Olivia gets to know Zoey, she starts understanding why Liam is so into this girl. Like, really understand; Olivia falls for Zoey herself. Is Olivia's own happiness worth sacrificing that of her brother's? 

BFF Charm: Yay and Maybe

Not only does Zoey have to keep her grades up for her private school scholarship, but she also busts her ass working an after-school job and helping out with her little sister. But given her (generally rightful) suspicious nature towards the girls at her school, I'm not sure Zoey would want my BFF charm. Either way, girl definitely has my admiration and sincerest hope that her family can just.catch.a.break.

Aside from her brother, Olivia doesn't have a lot of friends. And the friend that she does have, Ava -- well, someone call Bell Biv Davoe, 'cause THAT GIRL IS POISON. Anyway, Olivia has a kind heart but she's also a bit of a worrywart. And I'm not sure if her friendship with me would have enough room for two high-strung Type As. 

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

For a book centred around a love triangle -- esp. with siblings involved -- there's way less dramz than I thought there'd be. I suppose, like, some people are capable of working work out their shizz with minimal conflict. But maybe reading so much YA has conditioned me to expect otherwise? Same goes with the actual swoon; the friendships between the characters are fairly convincing, but Zoey's chemistry with either sibling only registers as a few steps beyond platonic for me.

Talky Talk: She Said, She Said

The chapters alternate between Zoey and Olivia's POVs, with the voices distinguishable but not leaps-off-the-page memorable. There were one or two phrases and references that made me do double takes -- like, how much would a teenager actually care about the latest Bruce Willis movie*? But according to last night's VMAs, I have no idea what real teens like these days, so.

*As in, one that he's headlining by himself and not "Starring Bruce Willis and Hottie McAction Flavour of the Month". My Old Guy Action Hero allegiances lie with Liam Neeson, is what I'm saying.

Bonus Factor: LGBTQ

Neither Zoey nor Olivia dwell on their attraction to a girl; there's some concern over other peoples' perceptions, but the girls themselves are pretty angst-free re: sexual orientation.

I did notice how the word 'bisexual' or even 'lesbian' isn't ever mentioned in the book -- not that I need the characters to hold a declaratory summit on the matter -- but I gain a better appreciation for that writing choice when I think about how many books with hetero romances bring up being straight (i.e., basically none of them). I guess I only took note of the absence of the B word since it doesn't have the greatest visibility to begin with.

Bonus Factor: Gymnastics

Olivia's been a gymnast for practically her entire life, and the brief glimpse into that world really emphasizes how fleeting that prime athletic window is for that sport. It's not called "gym-nice-stics" for a reason.

Bonus Factor: Prescient School Projects

Don't you just love school assignments that toss otherwise unconnected characters together? Especially if the project happens to parallel their own lives, like Zoey and Olivia's industrial revolution paper on a poor factory worker and a wealthy factor owner. I was always able to choose my own project partners, so pop culture tells me I missed out on some teacher-assisted matchmaking.

Casting Call:

Zoey Deutch as Zoey

Hilariously, it's Zoey the Actress' most recent role that made me think of her for this character's tough protective shell. 

Abigail Breslin as Olivia

I can't believe Little Miss Kit Kittredge is old enough for me to cast in a book report. MY LAWN IS GETTING AWFULLY CROWDED.

Ansel Elgort as Liam

Not gonna lie, this casting tempted me to change one of the girls -- doesn't matter which -- to Shailene Woodley.

Relationship Status: I'm the Rebound

I'll admit; when I hooked up with this book, I was looking for a sweep-me-off-my-feet COMMITMENT. I should have adjusted my expectations when it was clearly vibing summer fling, but I just wanted to fall in LOOOOOOVE. And here, I only fell in slight butterflies-in-tummy like. 

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Flux. I received neither money nor froyo for writing this review (dammit!). No One Needs to Know will be available September 8th.

Mandy Wan's photo About the Author: Residing in Edmonton, AB, Mandy unabashedly loves YA lit, frozen desserts, and terrible puns.