What You Never Knew by Jessica Hamilton (2021) Review

Some bonds survive death; some secrets don’t.

Why I picked up the book:

June and May spent every summer in the idyllic and private Avril Island. Until the year their dad disappeared, and they left everything behind, her mom sold the island and they never went back

It isn’t until a car accident takes May’s life, that June is shocked to find out the island still belongs to her family and is now hers. Mourning the death of her sister and beat friend, June decides to visit Avril Island looking for answers.

Secrets do not stay buried forever and June is learning that her childhood summers aren’t quite what they seemed to be and there might be more to her dad’s disappearance. And someone seems to be going out of their way to make sure the truth stays hidden.

The Book Through My Criteria Lens:

I listened to What You Never Knew. In my opinion, Sarah Mollo-Christensen and Laura Jennings did an outstanding job narrating this book. They evoked the atmosphere, brought the characters to life and embodied the emotions of the characters. I feel that their paced was really well done and I simply couldn’t put this book down.

Hamilton’s debut novel DELIVERED. In fact, it didn’t read like a debut novel at all. I fell in love with May and June and their bond leapt from the page. Their relationship is beautiful and it felt like a privilege to witness it. I also can’t fault the atmosphere, the physical descriptions made me feel like I was in that island, worn down cottage and closed nit town. The atmosphere could also be felt through the characters: grief, paranoia, love, frustrations, animosity.

Jessica played fair in her solution and I loved her idea for the book. The only (small) thing that kept it from being a 5-star read for me was that I wish the paranormal side of things had been slightly more developed.

My Personal Feelings:

I thoroughly enjoyed What You Never Knew. It reminded me of Lisa Jewell’s novel in the sense that I cared about the characters and felt like I witnessing their journey. I loved May’s narration and felt that her perspective was crucial to the plot. There were things we simply couldn’t be privy to without May. I was deeply touched by the sister’s relationship and wish May was still alive. I am really excited for Jessica Hamilton’s career and will definitely pick up her next books!

Enjoyability     10

Characters       10

Ambience        10

Fairness          10

Plot                 10

Execution        9

My total rating: 4.91


Disclaimer: I first read it as an ARC. In exchange for an honest review, I am thankful to Dreamscape Media, NetGalley and Jessica Hamilton for providing me with a copy of What You Never Knew

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