Keep This to Yourself

Keep This to Yourself

It's been a year since the Catalog Killer terrorized the sleepy seaside town of Camera Cove, killing four people before disappearing without a trace. Like everyone else in town, eighteen-year-old Mac Bell is trying to put that horrible summer behind him—easier said than done since Mac's best friend Connor was the murderer's final victim. But when he finds a cryptic message...

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Title:Keep This to Yourself
Author:Tom Ryan
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Keep This to Yourself Reviews

  • PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

    ***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of KEEP THIS TO YOURSELF by Tom Ryan in exchange for my honest review.***

    4.5 STARS

    What an unexpected gem!

    Ingredients for a perfect mystery:

    1 serial killer

    1 estranged group of friends

    1 murdered friend

    1 kickass narrator

    A bunch of interesting minor characters

    1 possible love interest

    A generous handful of clues

    A sprinkle of red herrings

    An ending I didn’t see coming

    KEEP T

    ***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of KEEP THIS TO YOURSELF by Tom Ryan in exchange for my honest review.***

    4.5 STARS

    What an unexpected gem!

    Ingredients for a perfect mystery:

    1 serial killer

    1 estranged group of friends

    1 murdered friend

    1 kickass narrator

    A bunch of interesting minor characters

    1 possible love interest

    A generous handful of clues

    A sprinkle of red herrings

    An ending I didn’t see coming

    KEEP THIS TO YOURSELF is one of those novels I wanted to reread immediately after I finished to figure out the clues I missed. How did I not know of Tom Ryan before KEEP THIS TO YOURSELF?

    Ryan gave protagonist Mac a likable and sympathetic voice. He’s not only grieving for the loss of his best friend Connor, he’s also harboring an unacknowledged crush for his pal. Additionally, Connor was the glue that held his friend group together, without him they’ve splintered. As much as I liked Mac, I didn’t his other friends, at least for the first 90% of the book. They were interesting people with individual personalities and nuances, whom I wouldn’t have chosen to befriend. Quill, Mac’s new friend and possible love interest, stole my heart.

    The plot moved quickly, with my list of suspects constantly changing. They all made sense, until they didn’t.

    A strong recommendation for KEEP THIS TO YOURSELF.

  • Karen

    Thrillers can be really hit or miss with me - they either take too long to solve, have a ridiculous amount of red herrings, or have a predictable villain with poor motivation.

    But I LOVED this book.

    It takes place in Camera Cove, a small town that was rocked by four murders last year. The murderer was never found. The last victim was named Connor, a boy in high school who was also one of our narrator's best friends. One year later, Mac has decided to reopen the case himself

    Thrillers can be really hit or miss with me - they either take too long to solve, have a ridiculous amount of red herrings, or have a predictable villain with poor motivation.

    But I LOVED this book.

    It takes place in Camera Cove, a small town that was rocked by four murders last year. The murderer was never found. The last victim was named Connor, a boy in high school who was also one of our narrator's best friends. One year later, Mac has decided to reopen the case himself and figure out who killed Connor and the other three victims.

    This book never slows down. It's twisty, with few down moments. Mac feeds his obsession, searching every last lead to solve the murder. He gets in trouble more than once with his friends, neighbours, and boyfriend.

    I loved the ending reveal. It was so entirely unexpected. I was really worried it would take a generic route, but I was genuinely shocked and loved the ending. It was so clever and well-done.

    I do think the ending after the reveal was a bit rushed, but it doesn't ruin the novel. Overall, a highly recommended thriller: it's short, punchy, and twisty.

  • Christopher

    It’s been a year since the Catalog Killer finished his reign of terror in the the seaside town of Camera Cove, leaving four people dead. Mac Bell has tried closing that chapter of his life— after all, the police’s official line is that it was a random drifter, and that’s been good enough for most people. But it’s not so easy for him considering the last victim was his best friend, Connor. However, after uncovering a mysterious note from Connor, Mac is forced to confront a past where nothing is a

    It’s been a year since the Catalog Killer finished his reign of terror in the the seaside town of Camera Cove, leaving four people dead. Mac Bell has tried closing that chapter of his life— after all, the police’s official line is that it was a random drifter, and that’s been good enough for most people. But it’s not so easy for him considering the last victim was his best friend, Connor. However, after uncovering a mysterious note from Connor, Mac is forced to confront a past where nothing is as it seemed and everyone has something to hide.

    In a bit of normalcy after an immense tragedy, the book opens with a group of high school friends meeting up after graduation to open a time capsule. In these first few pages, author Tom Ryan’s alluring and lyrical style is on full display. Evolving friendships. Forgotten pasts. The cusp of change. This first scene is packed with a quiet tension that flows through the rest of the book as this group, including Mac, cracks open the past in an attempt to move forward.

    From there, the mystery slowly unravels, bucking and weaving against a town that seriously just wants to put the murders to rest. It’s such a great foil, ultimately leaving Mac as the only person who could possibly solve the crime. Of course, it helps that Ryan has carefully crafted an investigation that continuously drops tantalizing clues. And the final reveal? Completely satisfying while being beyond shocking.

    Even so, it’s really the characters themselves who drive this story. Mac’s at a crossroads, figuring out his future while solving the past. Along the way he meets Quill, cousin to another victim, who’s also struggling, and their chemistry is palpable. Ryan deserves immense praise for his positive and refreshing portrayal of gay teens— their blossoming romance feels real while also alleviating some of the heavier moments. Toss in some mysterious suspects and some secondary characters with a few quirks, and Ryan has ultimately fleshed out a compelling world.

    For a mystery that delivers surprises all the way to the end, it doesn’t get any better than Keep This to Yourself.

    Note: I received a free ARC of this book through NetGalley.

  • Mónica BQ

    I am surprised beyond words by how much I liked this book.

    This is an own voices YA mystery that reads like a mature crime book. Add in to that a diverse (ish) cast in a small town setting and it was totally my jam. I really liked how Mac's backstory is seamlessly incorporated into the main one. The fact that he is gay, young, a bit lonely and still grieving is not the main plot, which is about a serial killer. So the book ticked a lot of boxes for me.

    I am surprised beyond words by how much I liked this book.

    This is an own voices YA mystery that reads like a mature crime book. Add in to that a diverse (ish) cast in a small town setting and it was totally my jam. I really liked how Mac's backstory is seamlessly incorporated into the main one. The fact that he is gay, young, a bit lonely and still grieving is not the main plot, which is about a serial killer. So the book ticked a lot of boxes for me.

    I really enjoyed how the mystery unfolded. There's a natural progression to how Mac figures out the murders. And the writing always makes it easy to

    Mac. It's easy to understand his inability to move on from the death of a close friend to a serial killer that was never caught.

    The best part of the book is realising how little clues had been there all along for anyone to simply pay enough attention to them to understand what happened. And at the same time it's really cool to get to the ending of the book and comprehend everyone's behaviour once things start to unravel. Although I had some small things figured out I never inferred how they would come to play in the overall mystery.

    The only negative to the story is that it does require a bit of suspension of disbelief in regards to police work. I find it hard to believe that some of the issues weren't hashed out from the official investigation. It seems very improbable that the police wouldn't have figured out some things themselves. Some of the things done by the police in the end are completely implausible. It's just not believable that things could have unfolded like that in real life. But, I'm letting it go because I truly was delighted by the rest of the book.

    Finally,

  • C.G. Drews

    . At one point I literally had to tell myself to relax my jaw lmao...which is the sign of a

    thriller right!? Now I'm aware it doesn't come out till April (shh i got excited and read early) so I'll just cobble a few thoughts here and fill out the review closer to the date!

    ➸ it is about a serial killer so like, dude, cREEPy

    ➸ quiet soft narrator

    ➸ m/m romance

    ➸ trauma? we gotcha trauma

    ➸ it's a year-old case now but Mac's best fr

    . At one point I literally had to tell myself to relax my jaw lmao...which is the sign of a

    thriller right!? Now I'm aware it doesn't come out till April (shh i got excited and read early) so I'll just cobble a few thoughts here and fill out the review closer to the date!

    ➸ it is about a serial killer so like, dude, cREEPy

    ➸ quiet soft narrator

    ➸ m/m romance

    ➸ trauma? we gotcha trauma

    ➸ it's a year-old case now but Mac's best friend was murdered and he can't let it go unsolved

    ➸ the ending did require a bit of suspension of disbelief with something the police did

    ➸ I totally enjoyed it and didn't guess the twist (EPIC twist)

  • Kai

    This gay YA murder mystery was one of my most anticipated releases of 2019. I love how queer characters slowly conquer different genres in YA that aren't limited to romance/contemporary fiction. We finally get the sci-fi/fantasy/thriller rep we deserve.

    The book was rather plot-driven, and a slow burn at the same time. Mac, the main character, collected clues here and there but none of it made much sense until the very end. There were some nicely positioned hints that totally sent me

    This gay YA murder mystery was one of my most anticipated releases of 2019. I love how queer characters slowly conquer different genres in YA that aren't limited to romance/contemporary fiction. We finally get the sci-fi/fantasy/thriller rep we deserve.

    The book was rather plot-driven, and a slow burn at the same time. Mac, the main character, collected clues here and there but none of it made much sense until the very end. There were some nicely positioned hints that totally sent me down the wrong track, and quite a few scary and haunting scenes that made me fear for Mac's life. I personally did not see the twists and reveals coming, and I loved the big finale. It really took me by surprise. I did find the ending after the murder mystery was solved very unrealistically though.

    With Mac, we get a quiet and introverted protagonist. He's a relatable and smart kid, but I still wish he had a stronger voice, a more defined POV. Most of the side characters kind of...outshone him. It would have made him more interesting as a character. I also didn't really buy the romance aspect of the novel. It wasn't insta-love but by their third meeting, they already considered each other boyfriends without ever having had any kind of talk that went beyond the murder investigation. They were two boys that flirted twice so naturally, they're a couple. At least that's what it seemed like. That's also the reason why their first big fight was overdramatic and came out of nowhere. Another thing that bothered me is a common trope: parents that are so uninvested in their kid's life that you wonder why they're in the book in the first place.

    I'll definitely read Tom Ryan's future books. The crime part of the novel was executed really well and I can't wait to see what the author is plotting next.

  • Ludwig

    Nowadays, we often encounter thrillers where events are forced for unnecessary suspense or shock value. This book is definitely not that.

    is

    , and the author is already knocking over all cliche YA mystery concepts and gifting us with a

    approach to the genre.

    I'm such a sucker for small town mysteries but it's definitely been a while since I've read one/>

    Nowadays, we often encounter thrillers where events are forced for unnecessary suspense or shock value. This book is definitely not that.

    is

    , and the author is already knocking over all cliche YA mystery concepts and gifting us with a

    approach to the genre.

    I'm such a sucker for small town mysteries but it's definitely been a while since I've read one with a creative spin on it. This book though has so many elements that keep it unique: we have a clever, well-developed gay protagonist, an appealing

    , a beautiful M/M

    AND a

    in the mix.

    It's not just the setting that is captivating, but the way the author describes it is so appealing that the seaside town of Camera Cove registered in my brain in a way it still feels like a real place to me.

    Now as protagonist Mac digs deep into the serial killer's twisted mind, he can't help but ask,

    Mac has no option other than to put himself in his dead best friend's (aka. the killer's final victim) shoes, see the town from his perspective and get close to the victims' familes.

    I loved

    . The mystery felt

    . The author leads us down this path that's filled with mystery and intrigue and then suddenly slips the rug from underneath us with

    !

  • Larry H

    4.5 stars.

    Once there were five friends in the small town of Camera Cove—Mac, Ben, Connor, Doris, and Carrie. They were inseparable, and they thought they'd be friends forever. But as often happens, as you grow up, your interests change and suddenly the friendships you couldn't live without when you were young don't matter as much, if at all.

    But Mac and Connor remained friends, even though Connor was the golden boy—popular, artistic, the object of attraction for many of th

    4.5 stars.

    Once there were five friends in the small town of Camera Cove—Mac, Ben, Connor, Doris, and Carrie. They were inseparable, and they thought they'd be friends forever. But as often happens, as you grow up, your interests change and suddenly the friendships you couldn't live without when you were young don't matter as much, if at all.

    But Mac and Connor remained friends, even though Connor was the golden boy—popular, artistic, the object of attraction for many of the girls in their high school—and Mac was shy, newly out of the closet, and ready to leave Camera Cove. Then without warning, a brutal serial killer known as the Catalog Killer terrorized the town. Three random people were poisoned to death and the police had no clues.

    Connor was the killer's fourth victim, and after that murder, it appeared the killer left town, a drifter, like many had suspected. So many people were devastated by Connor's death, particularly Mac, who even a year later, can't believe his friend is gone. Yet he can't seem to find the strength to move on with his life, even though the town is ready to shake off the fear which has been its burden since the killer first struck.

    One night Mac finds a note that Connor wrote him on the night he was killed, asking him to meet him where his body was eventually found. The more that Mac thinks about how that night could have gone so differently, the more he begins to suspect that perhaps Connor actually knew who the killer was, and perhaps it wasn't a stranger. What would Connor have told him that night? Would they both have survived?

    No one is interested in reopening the case, not even the police, so Mac takes it upon himself to begin looking into the murders, trying to figure out what four seemingly random people might have had in common that led to their deaths. With the help of a sexy relative of one of the victims, Mac tries to figure out whether Connor had uncovered the truth—and if so, can he solve the same mystery—without the same result?

    I really enjoyed

    . It was a mystery with lots of twists and turns, combined with the all-too-familiar themes of childhood friends growing apart, wanting to fit in and be loved for who you are, and wanting life to return to a simpler, more innocent time. I loved the way Tom Ryan meshed the mystery and YA elements of this book, which made it more appealing to those who don't consider themselves fans of YA.

    I tend to be really cynical when I read mysteries because I suspect everyone. I will admit—and perhaps I was just not thinking as sharply as I usually do—that I was surprised at how Ryan wrapped everything up, which is a good feeling to have. I really liked Mac and Quill's characters, and almost wish the book was longer so I could see how things developed afterward.

    This was my first LGBTQ read for Pride Month and it was the perfect start. I'm definitely going to be looking to see what Tom Ryan writes next, because it takes a talented storyteller to create a compelling mystery amidst other plotlines.

    See all of my reviews at

    .

    Check out my list of the best books I read in 2018 at

    .

    You can follow me on Instagram at

  • BunTheDestroyer

    **I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

    I don't think that this book was for me, but I DO think that others will like it. I didn't connect to any of the characters; it could have been because the main was male and usually in my YA reading the leads are female.

    That is probably why I found myself wanting to know more about things from Doris' and Carrie's POV. Especially Doris, of course. Or Ben, even: would've liked to know more about his proble

    **I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

    I don't think that this book was for me, but I DO think that others will like it. I didn't connect to any of the characters; it could have been because the main was male and usually in my YA reading the leads are female.

    That is probably why I found myself wanting to know more about things from Doris' and Carrie's POV. Especially Doris, of course. Or Ben, even: would've liked to know more about his problems.

    I was very surprised at the twist ending and felt satisfied with how things turned out. If it had gone the Mr. Anderson route I was prepared to be even MORE surprised but upon reflection that probably would've come out of left field.

    This really has no bearing on the book itself, exactly, but I think I am sick of teen amateur investigators discovering things the cops all missed...yes, let's just forget their years of training and experience and bring in some kid who pokes around in the grass for 5 minutes and discovers a clue. COME ON. Although I did feel like the part with the watch was more realistic and I felt better about that. I read a LOT of books where the teens one up the cops and solve it all so I think I'm just over that trope. I really felt sympathy for the Detective Parnatsky. I liked her.

    I feel like I would've liked the WHY to be explained a little more, but I can't be more clear than that without spoilers. But WHY? Just because of nature? The signs that were supposed to point to the character's future actions were just thrown in at the end; we hadn't really LIVED the evidence. For example:

    "Oh, she liked to collect birds."

    "Well that explains why the world's rarest bird went missing at the zoo."

    Instead of:

    "As I searched her room, I noticed pictures of birds everywhere. Magazine pages, hand-drawings, even a few from coloring books. I had never realized before that she had been interested in birds. Or maybe obsessed was more like it. Could SHE be connected to the missing bird from the zoo?"

    So in my lame example, I feel like the information is just handed to us and in the second try, the character is collecting information about another character through evidence. Or maybe it only makes sense in my head. Anyway.

    Maybe I missed the reason why the victims had to die, as well. Sorry it's so vague I'm trying to go without spoilers.

    Maybe it was just me, but I didn't like the romance - it was too instantaneous for it to be believable. Again, I do read a lot of YA where this happens but I don't always buy it.

    I did think that Mac was a well-fleshed-out character. He had issues, he had backstory (his parents showed up like, what, one time in the book? Meh), and he had complicated relationships.

    The beginning of this book read like The Sacrifice Box but it definitely is not. All in all, I don't feel like I wasted my time reading this (the ending really made it worthwhile) but it just wasn't for me. I'm pretty sure I would pick up another book of Tom Ryan's.

    PS: This is also not really a reflection of the book, but it cracks me up sometimes when I see libraries depicted in books. Volunteers never put books back on the shelves (paid employees do) and few libraries have a bookmobile (I only know of one, personally, 3 hours away from me) and a librarian drives it, not volunteers. In my library, we don't have volunteers except during summer and they can't just walk in, either, they need fingerprints and a TB test, etc. They mostly clean. Of course, I only have experience with big, city/county libraries and not small-town ones so the rules could be different. And not everyone who works in a library is an actual librarian, because you need a Masters degree for that.

  • Kyle

    Actual rating: 3.5 (rounded down) I really struggled with this rating. It’s one of the rare instances in which a book is ACTUALLY halfway between three and four stars.

    I’ve also tagged

    appropriately, so I say: only open them if you’ve already read the book!

    *It should be mentioned that the copy I read is an unfinished draft, and may be subject to change upon release. Thereby, my opinion henceforth is of the said uncorrect/>

    Actual rating: 3.5 (rounded down) I really struggled with this rating. It’s one of the rare instances in which a book is ACTUALLY halfway between three and four stars.

    I’ve also tagged

    appropriately, so I say: only open them if you’ve already read the book!

    *It should be mentioned that the copy I read is an unfinished draft, and may be subject to change upon release. Thereby, my opinion henceforth is of the said uncorrected document.*

    Right from the start, I was hooked! I breezed straight through this one, which is always a happy surprise. It’s the sign of a great story when it keeps you reading ‘til well after you should’ve gone to sleep. I simply could not put this book down!

    As far as characters go: they were not nearly as fleshed-out as I’d have liked them to be. Outside of Mac, every character felt a bit like paper people with some personality traits written on their sleeves— Mac’s parents were just figures in the background, the group of “friends” like Breakfast Club caricatures.

    It was too ‘lust at first sight’

    The whole thing just seemed too forced— like, “Okay, here’s one gay character, and here’s another gay character... and they’ll obviously fall in love with each other instantly, because they’re the only two gays around.” What did they even like about each other? There was nothing there— no chemistry. Just the fact that they both liked the same gender? And I am just gonna put it out there: I. Didn’t. Like. Quill. At. All. Some of his behavior was aggressive and petulant, which is unhealthy and uncalled for.

    There was some repetitive imagery: three or four instances of “curtains shifting” and people sneaking in windows, and male midriffs as they stretched. *This may be fixed/adjusted upon the release of the completed, edited book.*

    I wanted to like the *big* twist more, but I called it pretty much from the start. It had been my main, running theory after

    , but it’s an interesting twist, and I still give it credit. I also called

    , but I

    call

    . So, kudos to that. But there had to be a helluvalot of disbelief to suspend with the whole situation with the police at the end.

    So:

    •Quick, engaging story

    •Exciting mystery

    •Cardboard characters

    •Forced insta-love

    •Predictable (but *humble brag, but really just a full-on BRAG* I’m too perceptive for my own good)

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