Review: The Secrets We Bury by Stacie Ramey

Title: The Secrets We Bury by Stacie Ramey
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Length: 304 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


In an effort to escape his family, Dylan sets out on the Appalachian trail—but he can’t escape his past—or his secrets in this novel from the author of The Sister Pact.

Dylan Taggart is on the run. His family is trying to put him in a school for psychologically challenged students, and he gets it—he has issues. But a special school is a complete overreaction. And in six months, he’ll be a legal adult, so Dylan decides to disappear on the Appalachian Trail until he can make his own decisions.

Dylan wanted independence, but setting out on a 2,190-mile hike by himself is more than he bargained for. And he keeps crossing paths with another teen hiker, known only as “The Ghost.” This mysterious girl is also making the trek alone, and Dylan can tell she’s trying to escape too. But from what? When disaster strikes, how can they trust each other if they can’t face their own secrets?


The Secrets We Bury by Stacie Ramey is a young adult novel  that sensitively deals with topics of grief and sensory disorders.

Six months shy of his eighteenth birthday, Dylan Taggert runs away from home to avoid being sent to a school for students with a variety of psychological issues.  Dylan has a few different sensory problems in addition to not being able to read other people’s emotional cues. He also has a few phobias, difficulties staying on task and inappropriate reactions when he cannot handle situations. So, Dylan has decided the solution to his problems is a six month long hike on the Appalachian Trail. With the help of his cousin, Emily, who is also his best friend, Dylan sets off on his adventure where he meets an enigmatic young woman, Sophie and a well-liked, experienced hiker named Rain Main.

Dylan is quite aware of the problems that his issues cause with the people around him but he seems incapable of controlling his disruptive behavior.  He knows that running away is going to have an adverse reaction with his mother, but he just cannot deal with going to this new school. He faces many challenges on his hike but he surprisingly manages to power through these issues. Dylan’s confidence in himself rises with each obstacle he overcomes and he is surprisingly comfortable with his solitary journey.

Dylan is immediately captivated by another lone hiker he runs into. Despite his difficulty reading other people’s emotions, he does accurately assess what some of her actions might indicate. His curiosity about her sometimes leads to intrusive decisions but he is self-aware enough to realize he is invading her privacy. Once they are formally introduced, Dylan is continually surprised by his out of the ordinary his reactions to Sophie.

The other hiker that Dylan meets on his trek is an older man who has vast experience on the Trail. Rain Main (his trail nickname) is an affable hiker who is quite welcoming and very wise.  Despite Rain Main’s cheery disposition, Dylan is a little uneasy once he discovers some troubling information from other hikers about Rain Main’s situation. He is very determined to reach Rain Main but he encounters some difficulties as he strikes out on a mission to reach him before it is too late.

The Secrets We Bury is an engaging young adult novel that tackles some very difficult subject matter in a thoughtful and informative manner. Despite his numerous quirks and sensory dysfunction, Dylan is a surprisingly charming and likable character who undergoes a tremendous amount of personal growth during his adventures on the Appalachian Trail.  Stacie Ramey does a wonderful job bringing not only Dylan but also the Trail and the people he encounters vividly to life. An absolutely heartfelt  story that will appeal to readers of all ages.

1 Comment

Filed under Contemporary, Rated B, Review, Sourcebooks Fire, Stacie Ramey, The Secrets We Bury, Young Adult

One Response to Review: The Secrets We Bury by Stacie Ramey

  1. Timitra

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it Kathy