Title: The Deepest Secret
Author: Carla Buckley
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Publisher: Bantam Books
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: ARC from the publisher
Number of pages: 448
First line: Birthdays are supposed to be happy occasions, so Eve plans a party.
Goodreads blurb: Diagnosed with XP, a rare medical condition which makes him lethally sensitive to light, Tyler is a thirteen-year-old who desperately wants just one thing: to be normal. His mother Eve also wants just one thing: to protect her son. As Tyler begins roaming their cul-de-sac at night, cloaked in the safety of the darkness, he peers into the lives of the other families on the street-looking in on the things they most want hidden. Then, the young daughter of a neighbor suddenly vanishes, and Tyler may be the only one who can make sense of her disappearance…but what will happen when everyone’s secrets are exposed to the light?
I have spent the past two days complete immersed in The Deepest Secret, grabbing every spare moment to read, staying up much too late, and being irritated with anyone who interrupted while I was reading. I found so many things to love in the story, and, as a mother, I felt so connected to Eve and so torn about the choices she was forced to make. Ever since his diagnosis as a toddler, she has devoted her entire life to protecting Tyler, to the detriment of both her marriage and her relationship with her daughter, Melissa. And yet Eve is so consumed by fear for Tyler, by her conviction that she is the only one who truly understands how to protect him, that she can’t see how she is hurting the people around her.
Tyler is a 14-year-old boy, dealing with all the regular stuff an adolescent boy deals with, and yet he is doing it while the specter of his death hangs over his head. According to online statistics, only 40 percent of XP patients live past the age of 20. And so Tyler – and his parents – can’t help but feel the clock ticking down the minutes until his time is up. Because he can’t really live a normal life, he is fascinated by the lives of his neighbors, and sneaks out at night with his camera to capture their secrets on film. His discoveries often lead to knowledge he wishes he didn’t possess.
It is hard to go into much more detail without giving away too much of the plot, but this is definitely a family drama that is not to be missed. It has the feel of a thriller, and kept me completely intrigued. I found myself putting myself in the place of several characters, wondering how I would react in their situations. How far would I go to protect my family? It is a book – and a question – that will stick with me for a long time.