Review: ‘All Your Twisted Secrets’ is the cloak-and-dagger novel you didn’t know you needed 


Photo credit: Promotional image for "All Your Twisted Secrets"

Diana Urban’s “All Your Twisted Secrets” is the perfect story for fans of thrillers and teen mysteries. Released in 2020, the novel takes place in the present day and is set in a terrifying escape room- like scenario. Urban’s eventful hour, filled with secrets, suspense, and flashbacks that slowly reveal the culprit’s identity make this an exciting book that is not to be missed.

By Annabelle Chang

How much can really happen in an hour? 

Diana Urban’s novel and psychological thriller “All Your Twisted Secrets” follows an action-packed 60 minutes, and is a must-read for teens who enjoy the mystery and young adult genre.

Focusing on six high school seniors with very different personalities and social groups, the main characters have nothing in common until they are all invited to a prestigious scholarship dinner. However, instead of a fun event, they find themselves locked in a room with no way out. Their confusion drastically turns into panic when they realize that they have one hour to choose someone to kill, or they will all die. 

Described as “The Breakfast Club” meets Karen M. McManus’ popular book “One of Us Is Lying,” Urban masterfully constructs a 400-page novel that takes place over this short time frame, making the intense plot even more suspenseful. The chapters, which count down the minutes one by one, allow the novel to maintain a fast-paced style that is very engaging and enjoyable. 

Readers will also enjoy the consistent perspective of a likable protagonist. The book is narrated by Amber Prescott, a kind and intelligent 17-year-old, who is determined to escape without hurting anyone. 

“All Your Twisted Secrets” alternates between present-day chapters and flashbacks over the past year of interactions between the characters to give background on their relationships. Although these flashbacks can be frustrating at times, causing present-day chapters to sometimes end very suddenly, they are useful in understanding the teens’ lives and in piecing together their captor’s identity. 

The only part of the book that may leave readers unsatisfied is the ending, which is a bit predictable. There is a long, climactic buildup to finding out who the culprit is, and readers may be disappointed to discover that their captor is someone obvious. However, even people who predict the ending will enjoy the last chapter, where Urban includes the chance to read from the culprit’s perspective and gives readers a unique look into the character’s motive.

In addition to being a fun, enjoyable read, “All Your Twisted Secrets” explores a variety of difficult challenges that teenagers experience, including themes of social, academic and emotional struggles. Whether it is bullying, social media, applying to college or losing a loved one, this book tackles them all in a way that is not overwhelming and instead feels relevant and relatable, which was one of the best parts of the story. 

“All Your Twisted Secrets” was my favorite read of 2020. The juxtaposition of fast-paced and exciting content while also taking the time to look into more serious topics, makes this read all the while. Urban’s novel is a perfect storm of mystery, thriller, and teen drama, so much so, you won’t want to put it down until you turn…. the very last page.

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“All Your Twisted Secrets” follows six teenagers as they navigate the most stressful 60 minutes of their lives. Trapped in a room with no way out, their goal of escape quickly turns into a fight for survival when they discover a disturbing note: they must choose one of them to kill before the end of the hour, or they will all die.