The Secrets We Bury – Stacie Ramey – Sourcebooks Fire – Published 6 March 2018
In an effort to escape his family, Dylan decides to hike the Appalachian trail—but he never expected to run into love.
Dylan Taggart is on the run. His family is trying to put him in a school for psychologically challenged students, and he gets it—he has anger issues. But Believers Charter School is a complete overreaction. So he decides a six-month hike on the Appalachian Trail is the perfect place to hide out until he can legally drop out of school.
Dylan wanted independence, but being alone on the trail is more than he bargained for. Then he meets a mysterious hiker named Sophie, and the two begin to develop a bond he never expected. But will love be enough to escape what they’re both running from?
I was intrigued by The Secrets We Bury, but never did I expect that is was going to be that good! Everything fits seamlessly together: the authentic male protagonist who struggles to fit in and deal with everything that makes him different; the people Dylan meets on the trail, those who are just passing strangers and those who come to have such an impact on him and he on them; the trail magic; the powerful beauty of the setting and the way Dylan slowly comes to notice it; and of course the underlying themes of grief, guilt, forgiveness and starting over.
Dylan has run away from home. Run away from the grief that overpowers him, run from the guilt of the secrets he carries, run from the mother who wants to put him in a special school to control his outpouring of anger. His plan of escape is to hike the Appalachian Trail. But the trail will test Dylan in ways he couldn’t expect – from bugs and new food to bears. When Dylan happens upon a strange and intriguing girl who is apparently hiking alone and unprepared, Dylan is drawn to her in a way he has never experienced before. Dylan might be running away, but the trail just might be the place where he finds himself.
This is the first book I have read by Stacie Ramey and it blew me away. I was drawn to The Secrets We Bury primarily because of the male protagonist. I love that mental health has become a prominent theme in YA literature, yet it seems that a majority of that is written from the female perspective, and so I was very keen to see what The Secrets We Bury could bring. And bring it, it does. Dylan is an authentic protagonist, who, I’m sure, many readers, both male and female alike, will be able to relate to. Dylan has been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder, which effects the way he is able to both experience and participate in the world. Coupled with his overpowering grief, it is no wonder he lashes out and is unable to control his emotions.
I really love Dylan’s self-awareness. Right from the first paragraph he is upfront with himself and the reader about his flaws and what the people around him struggle to understand. It also broke my heart a little. I loved watching him grow and change throughout the book as he hikes the trail and encounters new things, changing his perspective of people.
The Secrets We Bury is a powerful book, and one that I can highly recommend.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Hiking, mental health, grief, Sensory Processing Disorder, Appalachian Trail, family, resilience, survival.
Reading age guide: Ages 14 and up.
Advisory: Sexual references. Coarse language, m*****f***** and f*** (16), sh** (11), as***** (3), bit** (2), pi**32). Mature themes, suicide.
Published: 6 March 2018 by Sourcebooks Fire.
Format: Paperback, ebook. 320 pages.