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Authors: Karen M. McManus

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CHAPTER THIRTY-EIGHT

Ellery

Saturday, October 26

Malcolm’s hand feels warm and solid in mine. Leaves swirl around us like oversized confetti, and the sky is a bright, brilliant blue. It’s a beautiful day, the kind that makes you think maybe everything will be okay after all.

Despite all the trauma of the past two weeks, good things have happened, too. While Sadie was in town, she and Nana talked—
really
talked. They still don’t understand one another much, but it finally felt like they both want to try. Since she’s been back at Hamilton House, Sadie hasn’t made a single random phone call.

It’s only been eight days, but still. Baby steps.

Nana and Sadie agreed that Ezra and I should finish our senior year at Echo Ridge High, even if Sadie gets a clean bill of health in January. Which is all right by me. I’m making my bedroom a little homier; I bought some framed prints at an art fair last weekend, and put up pictures of Ezra and me with Mia and Malcolm. Plus I have the SATs to take, colleges to visit, half siblings to get to know, and, maybe, more dates with Malcolm.

I almost told him, just now. I wanted to.

But once I say it, I can’t take it back. And even though I spent almost six weeks trying to unravel the lies in Echo Ridge, all I’ve been able to think about since that day in the Nilssons’ basement is that some secrets shouldn’t be told.

It nearly killed Sadie to believe she’d abandoned her twin on the night Sarah disappeared. There’s no way she’d be able to handle this. It’s hard enough for me, with no regrets or guilt weighing me down, to watch my brother smile and joke at a party and to know the truth.

We’re not supposed to be here.

I grip Malcolm’s hand tighter to ward off the chill that runs down my spine every time I remember Peter’s voice hissing in my ear, so faint I almost missed it. I wish I had, because I’ll spend the rest of my life hoping he never repeats the words he thought I’d take to my grave.

I thought she was your mother.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

If writing a first book is an act of faith—that someday, somebody other than your family and friends might want to read your words—writing a second book is an act of will. And boy, does it take a village. I won the literary lottery with the team I got to work with on my debut
One of Us Is Lying,
and their incredible talent and dedication are the reason that
Two Can Keep a Secret
exists.

I’ll never be able to thank my agent, Rosemary Stimola, enough. Not only are you the reason I get to do what I love for a living, but you’re a tireless champion, a wise counselor, and the calm in every storm. I’m deeply grateful to Allison Remcheck for your unflinching honesty, your faith in me, and the fact that you woke up in the middle of the night thinking about these characters almost as much as I did.

To my editor extraordinaire, Krista Marino: I’m in awe of your uncanny ability to see directly into the heart of a book and know exactly what it needs. You’ve made every step of this process a pleasure, and thanks to your insight this story is, finally, the one I wanted to tell all along.

To my publisher, Beverly Horowitz, and associate publisher, Judith Haut, thank you for welcoming me to Delacorte Press and for your guidance and support through both of my books. Thank you to Monica Jean for your endless patience and keen insight, to Alison Impey for the incredible cover design, to Heather Hughes and Colleen Fellingham for your eagle eyes, and to Aisha Cloud for the stellar promotion (and for answering my emails and texts at all hours). As a former marketer, I’m awed by the sales and marketing team that I’m fortunate enough to work with at Random House Children’s Books, including Felicia Frazier, John Adamo, Jules Kelly, Kelly McGauley, Kate Keating, Elizabeth Ward, and Cayla Rasi.

Thank you to Penguin Random House UK, including managing director Francesca Dow, publishing director Amanda Punter, editorial director Holly Harris, and the marketing, publicity, and sales dream team of Gemma Rostill, Harriet Venn, and Kat Baker for taking such meticulous care of my books in the United Kingdom. Thank you also to Clementine Gaisman and Alice Natali of ILA for helping my characters travel the globe.

I couldn’t have made it through my debut year or second book without my writing buddies Erin Hahn and Meredith Ireland. Thank you for your friendship, for celebrating all the ups and commiserating with all the downs, and for reading countless drafts of this book until I got it right. Thanks also to Kit Frick for your insight and thoughtful commentary at a critical juncture in the book’s development.

I’m grateful to the Boston kidlit group for our community, and for all the contemporary and thriller writers I’ve gotten to know who inspire me, motivate me, and make this often solitary career more fun, including Kathleen Glasgow, Kristen Orlando, Tiffany D. Jackson, Caleb Roehrig, Sandhya Menon, Phil Stamper, and Kara Thomas.

A profound thank-you to my family (both Medailleu and McManus) for supporting this surprising turn my life took and telling everyone you’ve ever met to buy my books. A special debt of gratitude to Mom and Dad for helping out when travel calls, to Lynne for being my rock, and to Jack, who inspires me to keep dreaming big.

Finally, thanks always to my readers for caring about stories, and for choosing to spend your time with me.

Books by Karen M. McManus

One of Us Is Lying

Two Can Keep a Secret

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen M. McManus earned her BA in English from the College of the Holy Cross and her MA in journalism from Northeastern University. When she isn’t working or writing in Cambridge, Massachusetts, McManus loves to travel with her son.
One of Us Is Lying is her debut novel. To learn more about her, visit her website,
karenmcmanus.com
, or follow her on Twitter at
@writerkmc
.

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