Summer Must-Read: I’ll Never Tell

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June 1st marked the first day of summer break as well as the release of a new novel: I’ll Never Tell by Catherine McKenzie. Although summer is close to ending, it is not too late to catch up on this summer read. 

I’ll Never Tell is a hybrid novel with its content split among crime and domestic suspense. Following the sudden death of their parents, the MacAllister children have been called together to read their father’s will and are left tasked with determining what to do with the prime real estate of Camp McGraw. Their choices leave them divided; Ryan, the oldest child, wants to sell the property, while his sister, Margo, is conflicted about what is best for the family. On the other end of the spectrum, Mary is indifferent to the situation and simply wants to move on. 

Meanwhile, the MacAllister twins, Kate and Liddie, are in their own discord. The disagreement grows as the family groundskeeper, Sean Booth, is pulled into the dispute. A family conflict that could have been fixed with a unanimous vote takes a more complicated turn when it involves an unsolved crime that happened decades earlier. 

Twenty years ago, at the MacAllister’s property, a rowboat with Amanda’s body, a 17-year-old girl, washed up onshore. Before they are able to make a final decision on the property, the MacAllister children have to unravel the mystery of Amanda’s case, on the order of their late father who suspects one of them is guilty of the crime. Heavily concentrated on secrets and lies, I’ll Never Tell ends up being a novel with layers. As the narrative is split among the perspectives of each MacAllister child and Sean, truthsno matter the sizeare unwillingly revealed for the sake of the case. 

Connections instantly start to form themselves and characters are already starting to look guilty. Surprisingly, as each character tells their own story in different chapters, I’ll Never Tell is able to hold its own ground; the story does not lose itself in the way it is told. Although the majority of the characters lack depth and development, they still remain distinct and distinguishable from each other. 

Due to its intriguing plot and effective narration, the novel really shows how secrets are inescapable, while also illustrating how pointless they truly are. The MacAllister’s were concerned about how their secrets may ostracize them from their family. However, as secrets are exposed, the family grows closer. With this conclusion, I’ll Never Tell ultimately shows the ironically flawed logic of keeping secrets. This unique perspective is one of many that makes the novel a must-read.