All Your Twisted Secrets - Diana Urban

Congratulations, you've been selected! Amber Prescott arrives at a meal arranged for her and a small handful of classmates receiving an elusive scholarship. Once they arrive they realise not all is as it seems and the promise of what they need to escape their town begins to be too good to be true.

Having seen this new YA thriller all over Instagram I was eager to pick it up and discover why it had captured the interest of so many readers. Urban's debut created a secluded mystery that we could experience from the inside, who could have left a group of teenagers in a room to die? The concept was truly exciting, a syringe of poison and a bomb are left with a note saying one of them must die by poison or they'll all die from the bomb. The literal ticking time bomb made for a lot of tension in the pages which was superseded by the flashbacks, whilst they obviously added the background to the mystery the gradual tension built up in the room was stop-start and made for a less enjoyable read for me.

The characters themselves were well established in their narrative world but other than that I didn't connect to them much, their narrative arcs were generally unconvincing unless you look at Amber. Understandably she was the main focus of the novel and her connections to the others made for entertaining reading, along with the fast pace and good setting depicted by Urban, but something was missing. The writing was clunky with the back and forth between the "now" and "then" and whilst the reveal was unexpected it wasn't completely mind-blowing.

YA thrillers are becoming increasingly popular, All Your Twisted Secrets was a good addition to the genre. An interesting plot, good redemption arc for the main character and a convincing setting, but by all means I wasn't blown away. The writing, whilst good, wasn't perfect and the execution of the plot could have been smoother than what we got. The intensity of the story and fast-paced development kept me engaged and I'd probably pick this up again if I wanted a quick, spunky thriller I know I wouldn't need to give my full commitment to. That being said, I'm excited to read Urban's upcoming release, her plots are definitely something that will keep me coming back, they're original whilst retaining an air of classic mystery stories we know and love.

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