Review: Secrets & Lies by Kody Keplinger

book coverE-ARC: n/a pages 
Publisher: Poppy
Release Date: June 4, 2013
ISBN: 9780316249096
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: The Duff 1.5, A Midsummer's Nightmare 1.5
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Explore the uniquely teen world of high school drama, secrets, and romantic entanglements in these short stories that revisit a familiar cast of characters from THE DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) and A Midsummer's Nightmare, but from completely fresh perspectives that will intrigue fans of Kody Keplinger and new readers alike.
In "Abbreviations & Alliterations," fans of THE DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) will reconnect with BFFs Casey, Bianca and Jessica – all home for Christmas break. At a party, Casey makes out with Toby Tucker, who dated best friend Bianca senior year. And everyone knows the rule—you do not hook up with your friends’ exes!
In “People Worth Knowing,” enjoy the story of Bailey James (fans of A Midsummer's Nightmare may remember her as the adorable sister of Nathan and stepsister of Whitley)! New to the cheerleading squad at Hamilton High, Bailey is eager to make friends. But when Bailey inadvertently helps the most popular girl in school bully another student, she needs all the help she can get to set things straight.

Secrets & Lies contain 2 short stories, "Abbreviations & Alliterations" and "People Worth Knowing."

Abbreviations & Alliterations is a follow up to The Duff, the story is about Casey (Bianca's best friend--the tall, blonde one) and it is set after their first semester of college during winter break. Basically, Casey and Toby start to date and Casey hides it from Bianca because she felt that she was betraying her for dating B's ex-boyfriend.

I never considered Casey and Toby when I read The Duff but they work. They were so cute together! Toby was a such a sweetheart. I liked Casey too, despite her constant use of abbreviations (OMG, WTF, STFU, etc.) in everyday speech was a kinda silly (this habit of people drives me bonkers in real life--it did come to play in Casey's big gesture in the end that was just... cute, so I guess I can forgive her). This story is just a big ball of cuteness!

Even though the story was short, it was well-paced and satisfying. I also enjoyed "seeing" [still-cranky] Bianca and Wesley again. Overall, a great follow up to The Duff.

I was more to read more Casey, Toby, Bianca, Wesley and Jessica! I think Jessica needs an HEA too, Kody! Especially now that she may finally be "seeing the light" about Harrison Carlyle.

People Worth Knowing is about Bailey James, Whitley's stepsister from A Midsummer's Nightmare. We know that Bailey made the cheer squad towards the end of AMN. But being a cheerleader and trying to become friends with the most popular girl in school was way more complicated than Bailey first thought. When she unintentionally helped said popular girl bully another classmate, she knew had to make things right again.

Bailey's story was more serious but just wonderful as "Abbreviations & Alliterations." I really loved Bailey in AMN and it was fun reading more about her. How she handled the bullying situation with a little help from Whitley and Nathan--Go Bailey! The sort of twist in the end with the bullied girl was kinda unexpected. Kody Keplinger even managed to include an adorable "start of something" between Bailey and a cute sophomore. Great read!

Secrets & Lies is a MUST-READ for fans of The Duff and A Midsummer's Nightmare, or if you're new to Kody Keplinger's books, it will give you a taste of the awesomeness (but I must say that though the stories can be read as standalones, they are better if you read The Duff and AMN first). Despite the short length, both stories managed to be well-paced, satisfying and very, very enjoyable. More please, Ms. Keplinger!

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