The Secret Place

By Tana French,

Book cover of The Secret Place

Book description

"An absolutely mesmerizing read. . . . Tana French is simply this: a truly great writer." -Gillian Flynn

Read the New York Times bestseller by Tana French, author of the forthcoming novel The Searcher and "the most important crime novelist to emerge in the past 10 years" (The Washington Post).…

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Why read it?

6 authors picked The Secret Place as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I’m a huge sucker for stories involving teen girls and secrets—and no one handles this trope better than Tana French in this wildly atmospheric boarding school mystery.

A year after a boy’s found murdered at a secluded Irish school, a note appears on a bulletin board reading: “I know who killed him.” It’s soon clear that a lot of the girls know something. What though?

I love the dark academia vibe, the claustrophobia, and the girls, so close-knit and determined. This is a gorgeously written tale of friendship, loyalty, lies, and betrayal, just buzzing with witchy teen energy.

French defines what I want out of crime fiction, for while she is a master of plot and suspense, it is the depth of her characters, their backstories, and often the edgy, unpredictable nature of detectives forced together in the demanding, tense nature of a “murder squad” that takes her to a place few other crime writers reach. That and impeccable prose.

The Secret Place develops much of its tension in the pairing of a young detective eager to prove his worth and his hardened senior partner, the masterfully depicted Antoinette Conway, a biracial woman who has fought so hard…

I reread The Secret Place because I’m writing my first mystery, and reading others helps me to study how other writers pull off complex plots and believable protagonists.

Tana French is an Irish mystery writer with a flair for complex, engaging characters and an intense sense of place, most often in Dublin. Her characters become as real to me as my own co-workers or siblings.

Her plots twist and turn with great credibility. Rereading The Secret Place slowly was a completely new experience – I noticed many details I’d overlooked the first time I gobbled up this book.

The Secret Place is actually an adult mystery, but keep reading to see why I think it works as YA too. Creepy atmosphere, slow build-up, which I love, set in Ireland, mostly in a boarding school. Full of secrets, complex relationships, and murder. Tana French is a genius and this book switches from YA to adult voice most of the suspects in this book are teens. My picture of these characters is so vivid, as with all of the characters in her books, I feel like they are in the same room with me. And some of them I don’t…

From Shannon's list on creepy YA for reluctant readers.

Honestly, any Tana French book could go here—she’s such a master of mood and atmosphere. But I particularly love the world she creates in The Secret Place. When a boy is found murdered on the grounds of an all-girls boarding school, Detective Stephen Moran is called in to investigate. It just gets more and more eerie as we are drawn into the world and rules of this school and the teenagers who inhabit it. Nothing is creepier than the power and cruelty of teen girls. Nothing. 

This one is another not-strictly YA pick (but don’t worry. It is set at a boarding school). If you haven’t read Tana French, I recommend starting today, In this crime mystery, Holly, a student at a prestigious boarding school outside of Dublin, is thrust into the center of a murder investigation. Awkwardly for Holly, her dad happens to be one of the homicide detectives at the Dublin Murder Squad. What’s wonderful about the secret society in this book is that it’s both underground and (anonymously of course) right in plain sight. The “secret place” here refers to a student bulletin…

From Suzanne's list on secret societies.

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