The Secret Girl by C.M. Stunich

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Pages: 420

Series: Adamson All-Boys Academy, Book 1

Genres: Reverse Harem, Romance, Contemporary, Young Adult, Mystery, Suspense, Dark, Bullying Romance (sub genre)

Publication date: May 24, 2019

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Chuck/Charlie/Charlotte has a secret. One that she’ll do just about anything to keep. Being picked on for being the headmaster’s child is one thing, but being the only girl in a previously all boys school is another thing altogether. Charlotte might be their only female student, but she refuses to be their guinea pig – hence her dressing like a guy, cutting her hair short, forgoing the makeup she’s used to wearing, and dropping the contacts in favour for her glasses. But when there’s a secret at the school that nobody is talking about, Charlotte has bigger things to worry about than being a guinea pig.

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Dear Eve,

You don’t belong here.

Last time was a warning.

Next time, I’m not giving you a head start.

Love, Adam

Chapter Two

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This story is pretty much everything it promises to be. A secret girl at an all boys school, a bullying romance novel, and a reverse harlem teenage story all in one. If that’s what you’re looking for, chances are you’ll enjoy this read. While I found it repetitive at times, as the same information keeps getting thrown at the reader, I’ll admit that I read this entire book in one sitting.

Right when I got to about the 40% mark, I’d planned on putting this story down for the night… but then it started to get good (to me at least). Instead of finishing the chapter I was reading and going to bed, I ended up staying up until about 3 in the morning to finish this story.

I’ll admit that the first 40ish percent of the story was not my cup of tea. I’m not a big fan of the “bullying turned lovers” storyline that happens in some novels. If I’d read the description of this book or looked at any of the spoiler free reviews of it, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up. However, I stuck that first part of the story out and I’m glad that I did. Once the bullying calms down a little bit, it began to transition to one of my favourite tropes/sub genres that can be found in a romance novel – the reverse harem.

If you look at the books that I’ve read over the last year or so, you’ll see that I’ve read a bunch of reverse harem novels. It’s something that I’ve recently discovered I adore in a romance novel. Personally I’m happy with the one person I’m with and I couldn’t imaging wanting anyone else to mix things up. I’m happily a one guy kind of girl. That being said, I really do reading about these kinds of romances/relationships. The Secret Girl showing hints of a reverse harem beginning to form was exactly what I needed to catch my attention and draw me into the story.

While this is certainly not the best story I’ve ever read, I will admit that I picked up the next story basically right away to see where the cliffhanger in this book would go.

Though I do have to ask – why choose to go by Chuck when you can go by Charlie instead? While Charlie is typically more of a guys name, it could also be considered the short form of Charlotte. It’s just a natural progression in my mind, and an easier name to remember to answer to.

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*Spoilers ahead*

I shouldn’t have to try to avoid being raped – guys shouldn’t rape.

Chapter Two

While this sentiment is a true one – very true in regards to every human there is, not just men. Just restrain yourself and don’t rape anyone – it’s crazy to think that this story began with Charlotte being worried about being the only girl at an all boys school. By the end of the book she’s worried about losing her life to the people who keep attacking her. As bad as it sounds, I bet Charlotte wishes the worst thing she had to worry about was one of her fellow students finding out her secret and trying to rape her.

As interesting as it was watching the boys in the Student Council discovering Charlotte’s secret one at a time – come on, Church bursting into the shower to take a picture of her micropenis was hilarious – I really do feel bad for Spencer. He was questioning his sexuality because of his attraction to Chuck even before he walked in on her testing out her fake dick. Charlotte danced with him at the Adamson/Everly dance and claimed to be Chuck’s cousin, further confusing his intoxicated mind. She basically refused to tell Spencer the truth about her gender even though the rest of the Student Council already knew and was actively helping protect her from the people attacking her. Heck, he found out her gender because she got her period and he was worried that Chuck was injured and bleeding out.

Ladies, let’s be honest. Oh a heavy flow day sometimes we all feel like we’re bleeding out.

Anyways, back to Spencer. I’m not surprised that he freaked out the way that he did upon finding out Charlotte’s secret. He lucked out with the following week being a week off school because it allowed him to get away from Charlotte and the guys that he felt had betrayed him. While the guys were all trying to get Charlotte to tell Spencer the truth, I can understand why Spencer’s feelings were hurt.

Though he certainly picked a bad time – plot wise – to go missing. (Or a great time if you’re looking for suspense…)

Charlotte got attacked again, prompting the guys and her to go after her attackers and getting stuck in the tunnels below the story. Heck, they almost ended up dying. Thankfully the crew were able to get out of the first tunnel and fall through the water fountain in the woods and breathe real air. Ranger would have died if Charlotte hadn’t known how to perform CPR.

I will admit that while reading this scene I knew it would be a misdirection and Ranger would be fine. The whole time I wasn’t worried about Ranger because that would have been too easy of a heart breaking moment. No, instead I was worried about Spencer the whole time. A warranted feeling the way this story ends.

Can you imagine going through such an intense ordeal with your budding friends, to survive something that so easily could have killed you all, only to find the one person in your group that wasn’t with you hanging from a noose in the forest? That was quite the ending to this story (and the reason I picked up the second story the very next morning).

Before I leave, I do want to touch on the other guys in the student council a little bit.

Church, the golden boy of the school, is certainly a twisted individual. While he explained to Charlotte the difference between psychopaths and sociopaths, I feel like this explanation was more harmful than helpful. Charlotte doesn’t understand the difference even after it’s been explained to her and continues to be confused about which term she actually means when she’s thinking about things. While I can understand the aim is to make Charlotte feel more human by not understanding the difference after just one conversation, it was just confusing by continuing to bring up the misinformation and not clarifying what the characters in the story were actually getting at.

That aside, Church is an extremely loyal guy. It’s clear that he’s got his friends’ backs no matter what. He follows through with his threats so it’s no surprise that the rest of the student body are intimidated by him. If I ever met someone like Church, I’d certainly want him on my side.

Then we have Ranger. Ranger is the badass, “scary” romantic interest that turns out to be a real softly. I adore that he loves baking – and baking in the nude. It’s hilarious when Charlotte walks in on Ranger baking in the nude by himself and uses it to blackmail him into lightening up on the bullying. (Though Ranger certainly wasn’t the worst when it came to bullying her.)

The twins, of course, need to be touched on together. While they’re their own people, they do most things together. I adore the way that Charlotte went from assigning the twins a name arbitrarily to distinguish the two to being able to tell the difference between them when one of the twins walks into a room. They talk about sharing everything – including girls – but when Amber’s name shows up it’s clear that there’s something there that the twins will eventually need to talk about. Boys who share everything don’t get so heated about a name if there’s not some bad blood there…

And, though he’s “only” their assistant, Ross also deserves a mention here. I like that he dislikes Charlotte from the beginning because he can tell she’s a girl pretending to be a guy right away. It only gets worse when Spencer clearly finds himself attracted to Chuck because it’s clear that Ross has it bad for Spencer. I can’t imagine hating someone because the person I’m interested in is interested in this other person, but I understand it happens a lot to people. Plus it’s fun to read about.

Finally, the mystery in this story is only just starting to unravel itself. Well, “unravel” might be too strong of a word. The clues are just barely starting to appear. The fact that the clues are so sporadic in this book left me wanting more. As soon as this book ended the only thing that prevented me from picking up The Ruthless Boys right away was the fact that I needed to sleep.

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Other reviews from this series:

  1. The Ruthless Boys (Book 2)
  2. The Forever Crew (Book 3)

3 thoughts on “The Secret Girl by C.M. Stunich

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