Book Review: Just Don’t Mention It by Estelle Maskame

I read the first three books in the Did I Mention I Love You trilogy when they first came out in 2015 and 2016 respectively and have found myself going back to re-read them on occasion in the years since. Without spoiling the adventure those three books take you on, I was very content with the way the last book ended, which is why I never even thought about the possibility of Scottish author Estelle Maskame writing another book in the series. But sometimes, you don’t realize you need more of a story until its right in front of your face. That’s how I felt about the newly released Just Don’t Mention It, the companion piece to this beloved series of books that I didn’t know I needed but always wanted.

JDMI tells the exact same story as the first book of the DIMILY trilogy, just from Tyler’s perspective instead of Eden’s. But this novel has the added bonus of shedding light on what 12-year-old Tyler endured that allowed him to become the angry and unhappy asshole we see in DIMILY. 

I’m typically drawn to characters with a difficult backstory, so it didn’t surprise me that I loved Tyler in the first three books. Tyler has always been a complex character with a beyond complicated past, but seeing his history brought to the forefront of this book, in alternating chapters with the present-day perspective of 17-year-old Tyler, was powerful and emotional. Reading Tyler’s story without visiting his past would not have been the same or nearly as enjoyable.

Besides learning more about Tyler individually, I loved seeing his relationship with Eden unfold from his perspective. We knew Eden was simultaneously intrigued and annoyed with Tyler from the moment she arrived in Santa Monica, well before their connection evolved into more. I loved seeing how their attraction and interest were mutual from the beginning. And despite knowing how their story ends, reading Tyler’s point of view this time around was just as exciting.

I will put a cautionary note in here for all you readers who are unfamiliar with this series: Tyler and Eden are step-siblings who fall in love with each other. If you can’t get behind this, on any sort of level,  do not pick up any of these books whatsoever. 

I must also applaud Maskame for the conversation she starts in JDMI about mental health and abuse. We’re starting to see more books in the YA genre tackle these subjects, but it’s not nearly at a fast enough rate. JDMI touches on the idea that humans are still traumatized by abuse long after the physical offenses have stopped. Seeing as almost every other chapter in the novel talks about these topics, it can be an extremely hard read. In fact, I didn’t consume this book as fast as I typically do other YA novels due to the tough subject matter. Regardless, this issue is extremely important and Tyler’s story is worth reading for that discussion alone.

Overall, I cannot recommend JDMI enough. Although it can be read as a standalone book, I highly recommend reading the DIMILY trilogy prior to picking up this novel, as the story was first intended to be told from Eden’s perspective and Tyler, as a character, was intended to be a mystery. Either way, this book is for readers who are fans of first love, forbidden love stories or misunderstood bad boys.

You can follow Maskame on Twitter. Her freestanding novel Dare To Fall will be available in US stores in December 2018, with Just Don’t Mention It coming out in the US in late 2019. If you can’t wait that long, you can currently purchase both on Amazon. 

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