Title: What They Don’t Know
Author: Nicole Maggi
Publication: October 2, 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Teens, Young Adult
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)
Three secrets. One decision. A friendship that will change everything.
Mellie has always been the reliable friend, the good student, the doting daughter. But when an unspeakable act leads her to withdraw from everyone she loves, she is faced with a life-altering choice―a choice she must face alone.
Lise stands up―and speaks out―for what she believes in. And when she notices Mellie acting strangely, she gets caught up in trying to save her…all while trying to protect her own secret. One that might be the key to helping Mellie.
Told through Mellie and Lise’s journal entries, this powerful, emotional novel chronicles Mellie’s struggle to decide what is right for her and the unbreakable bond formed by the two girls on their journey.
**A copy of this novel was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
Nicole Maggi’s What They Don’t know will take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions that leave you feeling some kind of way at the end.
The story follows Mellie and Lise, both holding secrets of their own that could have life changing consequences. Mellie is from a conservative home with a politician father and a mother who will do just about anything to back up her husband. Very religious, Mellie finds herself stifled at times and then it a bind when she feels she has a secret that they would not side with her on if told. Lise notices that Mellie has changed in behavior, and being previous friends, takes it on herself to help her out no matter the consequences.
Without spoiling everything, I think it is important to point out that this book centers around the pro-life/pro-choice debate. The synopsis of the book does not give that away at all, and I feel that could potentially surprise some that might not be comfortable for some readers who are strongly pro-life. So fair warning, if you are not okay with pro-choice decisions or even conversations, this is not a book you will want to read if you are offended by topics such as that.
With that said, I loved this book. I really think Maggi nailed that inner struggle I can only imagine people have after an assault and not knowing what to do when their previous beliefs collide with their current situation. Maggi showed that understanding that comes with “walking in the shoes” of someone in a different situation. Mellie had her firm beliefs until her situation caused her to question them. It’s a hard hitting topic that a lot of authors skirt around or choose not to use in their work. Maggi took the topic by the horns and took us on a journey in the minds of these incredibe teenagers.
Lise was an amazing girl who had found her place in the world early. She knew she wanted to help people and found a place she was useful in doing so. Even though it put her at risk, she stuck up for her beliefs and was willing to help anyone, even someone who had all but shunned her for years.
I will definitely be checking out more of Nicole Maggi’s work. She has a smooth writing style that transitions well from one moment to the next. What They Don’t Know had a slow rise to the peak of the story and then was like riding a roller coaster down as you watched everything settle into it’s final moments. I love how this isn’t necessarily a happily ever after story. It’s just a story where lives continue, not everything is perfect, and you want more when you are done. Fantastic writing. Well developed characters. A gripping story.
STAR RATING: 5/5
What They Don’t Know by Nicole Maggi is available now on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and you can check your local bookstore. Also make sure to add it to your To Reads list on Goodreads and leave feedback for the author when you are finished. Check out more books from author Nicole Maggi on her website here!