One summer day, two eleven-year-old girls are “kicked out” of a pool party because of something one of them did. “Good girl” Alice Manning and “bad girl” Ronnie Fuller start off for home, but along the way, they see an unattended baby carriage. Somehow they end up taking the carriage, to “save” the child, but something goes horribly wrong. A few days later, the baby is found dead. Both girls, as juveniles, are given seven years in detention facilities. Upon their eighteenth birthdays, they are released back into the very suspicious environment of their home town.
Suddenly babies start disappearing, and then reappearing mysteriously a few hours later, until one disappears and doesn’t reappear. When the mother of the dead baby begins calling, using her influence to spur the detectives on, the police turn their sights upon the eighteen-year-olds.
What follows is an intriguing journey into the characters’ worlds, from the detectives working the case, like Nancy Porter, to the attorney who once represented Alice, Sharon Kerpelman. Then we peek behind the façade that is Helen Manning, Alice’s mother, discovering her somewhat distorted and fascinating view of the world. Getting to know Ronnie and Alice is another trail of discovery, since each of them is “well-defended” and full of admonitions about what they should and shouldn’t do or say upon their release.
Hovering over the pages of Every Secret Thing is the possibility of finally learning what really happened seven years ago: which of the two girls actually committed the crime and which one was duped. Or was it more complicated than that? Then there is the inevitable question of what, if anything, do the girls have to do with the missing child? And why?
I literally read continually, and even late into the night, until I finally had the answers. There were unexpected twists and turns, and then, seemingly out of nowhere, those a-ha moments came. I loved this book and can’t wait to read more from this author. Five stars.