Author: Jessica Sorensen
I’m beginning to wonder if it’s a prerequisite for new adult novels to be written from split perspectives of two protagonists, it is definitely common and The Secret of Ella and Micha is no exception. The two have been best friends since they were 5, which seems to be a magic number for childhood and when a lot of people’s vivid memories begin. They have been through a lot together and neither have got your average family, and they live in quite a seedy neighbourhood.
Ella thrives on adrenaline, is outspoken and has quite the attitude. One night it seems all is about to change so Ella freaks out and heads off to college, without saying goodbye or telling anyone where she’s going. No-one knows her at College so she’s free to reinvent herself. Gone is the goth wearing, tough, rule-breaking Ella – replaced by the strait-laced, preppy, conscientious and oh-so-together Ella that bottles everything up and is never the least bit out of control.
But what’s to happen now that summer break has arrived and she has nowhere to go but home, and Micha lives right next door?
There is a great contrast shown because Ella catches a ride home with her roommate Lila, before Lila heads home to California. Within minutes of being home Ella is shown in a completely different light to both Lila and Micha as her two facades are compared, and everyone is left wondering who the real Ella is.
It is fast demonstrated that you can run, and you can change but if you completely obliterate your sense of self in the process something is going to have to give because you can’t run forever.
There is undeniable chemistry between Micha and Ella, he has loved her for years and she too has felt her emotions shift. Micha wasn’t willing to say anything in fear of losing his best friend, which is quite common and something you hear quite a lot of – in both fiction and real life. Ella is afraid of the loss of control that would come with owning up to her emotions though the sparks she feels anytime Micha is near are hard to deny.
Ella carries a lot of guilt for an event that, I think, she really had no control over. No seventeen year old should be made responsible for their parents. Don’t get me wrong, at seventeen you are old enough to be mature and responsible but you are also at an age where you are learning and exploring and being a teenager. You can’t be expected to sit at home and babysit your parents. This too is quite a common theme in new adult I’m finding. Ella makes a mistake and goes out one night, a night she was supposed to be at home, and it changes EVERYTHING. I found myself a little perplexed throughout the book about when this occurred, sometimes it seemed like it was a long way in the past but then it seemed quite recent.
Everything went from bad to worse that night and Ella’s need to be in control grew stronger and stronger culminating in her running away to college to reinvent herself. Returning home for summer makes her see that there is too much of herself that she can’t change, that she can’t run from, and she is going to need to find some middle ground.
Lila and Ella shared a dorm room at college and bonded, becoming friends and it’s a real first for Ella who was always much more comfortable hanging out and being one of the guys. That first female friendship can be a real eye-opener but it was quite delayed for Ella and Lila because Ella consciously keeps Lila at a distance and Lila respects her need for privacy. This lack of real knowledge goes both ways and it isn’t until summer that Ella begins to really get to know Lila as well, both characters are shown in a very different light and the blossoming of their true friendship is heart warming to watch.
I did enjoy the story, even though it was quite predictable and follows the same lines as many others I’ve been reading lately. The conflict was believable but it wasn’t unexpected. My biggest issue was that there were times when the word choice was really jarring. The word would be technically correct but just didn’t seem to fit in the sentence, and it almost made my skin crawl.
The story itself was interesting and I look forward to seeing how Micha and Ella move forward from here, how they make it to their happily ever after – which I have no doubt they will. It isn’t one that I will be itching to get my hands on the second it’s released though.