After spending eight months away at college, Ella is finally about to go home for the summer break. She is not relishing the prospect; not when she’s spent the better part of a year trying valiantly to reinvent herself, and especially not when she has left behind her best friend, and the only person she could ever count on, without an explanation – or even a goodbye.
Demons don’t wait, as Ella is about to find. And nor does Micha. Her gorgeous best friend has spent the past several months searching for her and, now that she’s back, he has no intention of letting her go again. Or of letting her forget who she really is.
Seeing Micha again stirs up all sorts of feelings that Ella had hoped to leave behind. However much he might want it, remembering who she is isn’t an option – it would mean remembering her past and Ella has done her upmost to bury all of that.
With a set up like the one in The Secret of Ella and Micha, it’s impossible not to get dragged in from the start. What has happened to Ella that is so bad that she’s abandoned everything she knows – including the boy she loves? Worse than that, what has happened that has made her want to become someone else? Someone dispassionate and disconnected from the world when she had always been one to embrace life wholeheartedly?
This is a tale that explores the impact of poverty and broken homes on the teens who experience them. Neither Ella nor Micha have had stable lives, but they had always found stability in each other until something snapped and – for Ella – everything came undone.
The Secret of Ella and Micha has some adult themes that makes it an unsuitable read for middle grade and tween readers; but it is still essentially a book for readers younger than myself. Classed as New Adult, I’d recommend it for older teens or possibly readers in their early twenties. While the storyline is compelling, it doesn’t have the depth of analysis that Ella and Micha’s circumstances call for. Their background is mostly for the sake of conflict and, while it is an interesting conflict, it conveniently fades out to make room for the romance.
The Secret of Ella and Micha is a light romance with a bit of background angst and some mystery. It’s the quintessential beach read – one of those books that you can fly through and enjoy while relaxing on holiday. It’s a safe, friendly read that won’t have you in tears at the end of the whole thing.
The Secret of Ella and Micha – Jessica Sorensen
Little Brown (February 12, 2013)