Secretly, Secretly; But Unable to Hide It


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The year she was thirteen, Sang Zhi liked a man. The man appeared cold and lazy, and spoke carelessly. He would often come over to her home, nestled in her brother’s room playing games the entire afternoon.

When he occasionally sees her bringing fruits in, he would merely lift his eyelids indifferently and smile like a villain, “Kid, what’s the matter? You blush as soon as you see Gege.”

—–This novel narrates the story of the young Sang Zhi and Duan Jia Xu. Sang Zhi gets to know Duan Jia Xu, who is seven years older than her, through her Ge Ge (Older brother, 桑延).

During their several interactions, Sang Zhi starts to develop a crush on Duan Jia Xu. It happens from a young age till she becomes an adult. After graduation, Duan Jia Xu goes home and works hard. They cut down their contact.

Sang Zhi and Duan Jia Xu begin to contact each other again after Sang Zhi attends the university in the city he is in. In their day by day intimate and close interaction, Sang Zhi notices the source of Duan Jia Xu’s burdens. With Sang Zhi’s companionship, Duan Jia Xu also starts to let it go, he starts to have new relationship with her.

Associated Names
One entry per line
Hidden Love (Drama) (Manhua)
My Secret Crush
Related Series
First Frost (Shared Universe)
Folding Moon (Shared Universe)
Pamper Me More (Same Franchise)
The Healing Sunshine (2)
The Road Home (1)
He’s Mine, No Objections Allowed (1)
Jiaochen (1)
If The Moon Won’t Hold You (1)
She’s a Little Crazy (1)
Recommendation Lists
  1. Adapted to Drama
  2. Romance novels i reread
  3. May This Heal Your Heart: Secret Love Collection
  4. Drama
  5. Novels that are GREAT and MEMORABLE

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79 Reviews sorted by

New Reasonablecheese
April 10, 2024
Status: Completed
So I watched the drama on Netflix first and loved it so much I couldn't get enough, so I decided to search for the novel it was based on and found it here. I was not disappointed, in fact I was even more impressed than I had expected to be. I could not stop grinning the entire time I was reading (except the few times I cried because it was good enough to make me cry too) and I almost binge read the whole thing in one sitting but my... more>> tablet died... this story is now one of my all time favorites. #1 favorite drama, #1 favorite web novel, and the ML and FL are one of my all time favorite couples too, at least in the top 3. Anyway, there's minimal angst/drama, it's 99% sweetness and fluff and any drama there is is handled well and not drawn out. I'm re-watching the drama again rn but once I finish I'm gonna reread this again lol <<less
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orientalfairy rated it
November 12, 2020
Status: Completed
From the start to finish, the plot is very well-written. It is fluffy and quite simple but it never makes you feel bored and makes you anticipate the next chapters.

Moreover, ML is just too good. Really the perfectt ML with his gentleness, kindness and sweetness. Yes, he is kind but you still get the alpha vibes from him. Perhaps, it is because he is a bit older than the MC but I just love it when he teases her and always shameless with her.

He’s a ML that I wished existed... more>> IRL.

Also, at the same time, MC is very refreshing, has a great personality. She is brave, not cold and dense and not necessarily OP as well. My cheeks hurt too much from some of her dialogues because she is hilarious.

Overall, it’s just a really heartwarming story. I hope more people get to read it :) And like what others have said, reading this will make you wish you had a Gege as well. <<less
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introverted_girl rated it
August 15, 2020
Status: Completed
Most of the time, it was hilarious especially the relationship between the Sang siblings. I also love the relationship between Duan Jia Xu and Sang Yan, they may be so shameless but they both have suffered. I MTLed both of their stories, I was like: how could there be such perfect men? Yes Sang Yan has his own story, the direct translation is Difficult to Coax (https://www. Zhenhunxiaoshuo. Com/nanhong/) !!

Duan Jia Xu is really setting the standard (same with Sang Yan I'm telling you). He is so patient, understanding, and... more>> loyal. I am a sucker for one-woman man in novels since real life men are tr*sh. Anyway, you would not fault Sang Zhi for falling in love with this man.

At first, I kind of questioned Sang Zhi's personality when she was young. Or is it really like supposed to be liked that and I'm the abnormal one? I mean she's already 13 yrs old yet she's a bit immature. I don't know, maybe I just matured early so I couldn't understand her. I still love her tho! She matures eventually, except when she's dealing with her brother. They are both so petty. I just can't. Hahaha.

The translation is not that great but, I still thank them for their hardwork. There are extra chapters, just MTL them. <<less
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BlackTeaAndMallows rated it
August 5, 2020
Status: Completed
A LOVELY story. So adorable~

The female lead is sensible and the male lead is really good [he is setting the bar high up]. Their interactions and growth overtime was a journey that is a little bumpy but is still sweet and joyful for a reader to be with.

The FL's family (her brother and parents), their friends and the others characters are so well done and feel so life-like. Furthermore, this story touches on family and friendship, it's so heartwarming and wholesome. Of course, there were sprinkles of sorrow here and... more>> there but all will be well.

Yep, a fun and nice read. <<less
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secondthots rated it
January 12, 2021
Status: Completed
"He never drinks, yet because of her, he breaks his principle." —c77

I swooned. It's been a while since I've read such a peaceful, dog-blood free plot. It's light-hearted & irresistibly sweet. Seriously, it'll give you a toothache at the end!

Your classic "falling in love with my brother's best friend" with added age gap & diabetes-inducing fluff. The translations may be off grammar-wise, but the read is light & easy to follow. Shout-out to the TL because she's done a great job nevertheless. As for the plot, I adore the pacing.... more>> It's pretty unique to start off immediately when FL was 13 & having first encountered ML. Usually, novels tend to resort to flashbacks to further accentuate feelings of unrequited love, but I love how we got to go through FL's journey together. We got to see her mature into a graceful & strong young lady all the while watching her sprout her first feelings for her gege's best friend. It's refreshing to watch her feelings slowly blossom & I must confess that I'm a strong supporter of "first love wins all" (an idealistic notion but one I can't shake off).

FL is witty from the very start. She's sharp, quick to adapt, & charming. ML is shameless, easily countering her fire-rapid quips & always managing to stun her with his responses. They're a fun pair to read about & I'm honestly just as stunned as FL when I see ML's fired shots. IT'S SO SICKENINGLY SWEET! Which is why I applaud the author for not creating terribly long & drawn-out misunderstandings. The main CP do encounter hurdles but they're utilized more to accelerate the growth of the characters respectively rather than act as a magnet for the two. Again, this is a novel to read when you need a break from angst-filled, melodramatic stories. It's a well-paced romance with more than enough excitement & fluff to get your blood sugar up!

TL;DR I would kill for a guy like Duan Jia Xu

P.S. Have you watched the drama ver? Had me ON MY KNEES because who is the genius that casted Chen Zheyuan as Jiaxu?? Had me levitating the entire time. I'm also a loyal Zhao Lusi fan so homegirl already had my support from day 1 <<less
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Mcol1617 rated it
May 22, 2020
Status: Completed
I don't know why this story doesn't have ANY reviews.

I really love this story. The FL is awesome, when I say awesome she isn't a Mary Sue but that she has a personality, she is sassy, a little bit impulsive and she isn't afraid to blackmail her brother?. Our ML is also awesome, I love the way he is always teasing FL, he is like the smiling gangster. He isn't a douchebag like most MLs tend to be on this part of town. He is one of THE best ML... more>> written in Chinese novel. One of the best thing about this book is the sibling relationship between FL and her brother, they are always making trouble for each other, and trying to one up the other which I think is a very realistic portrayal of most sibling bonds.

Their first meeting is hilarious (FL mistakes ML for her brother who came back after getting plastic surgery) and it sets a tone for the entire story. The story begins when FL is 13, so it takes some time for her to finally grow up, so anything romantic really begins from chapter 30, but it's totally worth it.

You should read this story if you are bored reading about either white lotus or Mary Sue heroines, and want to go on a journey with the FL from her impulsive adolescent, to her first crush, heartbreak and eventually finding love. <<less
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Itssalwa rated it
June 21, 2021
Status: Completed
At first I don't want to leave a review, but I think I should bc I lavv this so much :'>

Okay, at first I didn't have any high expectations on this one since I am more into cold- S type ML hehe.. But I never thought I will love this fluffy- warm foxy ML :> This book is one of my five favorite chinese novel ever!

Anyway, I hesitated to read this bc I thought The ML has his first love on another person bc the description said that Duan Jia Xu also starts to let it go (don't ask me where I get that conclusion lol, I don't know too :<) and bc I never like protagonist fell in love first tag I put this on hold for too long,... more>> and yesterday night I had my courage to read this one.

dang! This novel is shoo great that I shed my tears when I read some chapter.

ML is great, I really love him. I want to give him all my money and love and hide him in my pocket forever.

Both of them had a healthy relationship. So if any of you guys tired of how unhealthy c-novel is read this one! This is sho refreshing ughh

Totally on my list to reread again :) <<less
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Dr rated it
November 12, 2020
Status: Completed
Loved it best leads

ML is so funny and seductive always teasing FL lol foxy guy

FL is witty and cute with her secret crush

Every character is well planned

Their love story is just awsm

Only a little bit of drama, 99% of story is full of happiness and fluff
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Vim rated it
July 17, 2022
Status: --
A hidden gem among Chinese Webnovels. It's rare to find two protagonists who are so real and loveable. You could totally see them in real life. A great slice of life indeed.

My first favorite thing (and why I picked up the novel) is the secret puppy crush. It's that special coming of age genre that I love of what a young girl struggles to deal with esp with an older mature guy.

This book perfectly satisfies that itch and craving for me which in my honest opinion is hard to satisfy.... more>> Most novels either fall flat or completely misses out by having a pushy and unbearable immature teen or a lecherous older brother that takes advantage of the younger girl's innocence. This book does none of that typical and unreasonable trope.

Sang Zhi may be immature and spoiled at first, but she's a very reasonable girl with great and funny personality. She's also a strong-willed character but not a self-entitled one. She greatly respects her parents and the trust that they give her. She listens to their guidance and when she's called out on her behavior, she reflects on them and humbles herself when she realizes she's on the wrong.

The most important part that most authors in this genre fail is the male lead. It's either a guy liking an underage girl,

The author perfectly sets up the ideal stage of a one dimensional ideal perfect guy that the female lead chases.

What makes Duan Jia Xu so rare and good as a male protagonist is that his character doesn't revolve around the FL. He has his own story to tell and just surviving his own life. His tragic past isn't just there as a background description to his character but an actual trauma that he has to deal and comes to terms with. His initial relationship with the FL is real as treating her as a meimei. He never had any pe*verted thoughts or offhanded comments to her growth. He feels real and realistic. He's genuinely a good and decent guy and the author did very good in building his character through their interactions and moments. A rare good example of a male protagonist with his own personality and thoughts and not just a collection of traits and projection of the ideal standards most women places on men.

The author did a perfect job in setting up the stage for the development of their romantic relationship by going through each characters stages in growth, maturity and openness to each other. They each develop on their own and then meet halfway and help each other with their own issues.

The best part is how the author brilliantly builds up Sang Zhi and Jia Xu's relationship dynamics from sister--gege's friend to their courtship status and finally their relationship. It's one of the best power dynamics I've read where the two are equal: Sang Zhi feels insecure bec of her young age, that she may not be on level with the older guy she likes and Duan Jia Xu has an inferiority complex bec of his tragic past and feels that Sang Zhi could do better than him. Their story is just the perfect slice of life romance where both faces their struggles together, doesn't shy away, pretend or be a push over through their struggles. Both knows and fights for their own worth.

Sang Zhi and Duan Jia Xu's relationship are now my new standards of what kind of relationship one should have. It's realistic and a great role model.

Also, the whole Sang Family dynamic is just my next favorite kind of all the family relationships that I've read in webnovel.

The Sang sibling fights are great. I love that you could empathize Sang Yan's struggle as an older brother and the nuanced complexity of siblinghood.

Furthermore the Sang parents are a true realistic model of what good parents should be. Most of the time, the supportive good parents trope in any novels feel flat and one dimensional, but this book brilliantly demonstrates the parents love and support to their children in a healthy way.

I love that they have group chat interactions as a family, and I love the little moments of them being there for their children in subtle ways like sending red packets when they're sad. I especially love that scene of Sang Rong casually texting his daughter that he brought a choco cake for her in the fridge when they have a business matter to attend and couldn't accompany her at home. Although Sang Rong Papa's screen time is limited, through their little interactions you could guess that he's an active person in his daughter's life behind the scenes.

The Sang parents are such good model parents. They respect the boundaries and autonomy of their children. The best of all, is how they communicate as a family.

In fact, the best theme about this novel is communication which majority of novels fail at. This novel doesn't rely on petty tricks to create drama when each character have their own struggles and troubles that are very real. The author also doesn't exaggerate but demonstrates how each character faces it. Every miscommunication is addressed by the characters talking to each other and expressing their views honestly. They sometimes deny or give white lies, but when it comes down to it, they communicate. It's very realistic bec we could relate to the characters psyche of just bottling it in, lying to not make a big deal out of things but I love how everyone could see through each other's facades and instead addresses their concerns and being patient around each other.

I love how the parents, despite knowing and noticing things doesn't call out their children but patiently waits for them to open up to them.

Overall, all the characters are well-written. They all feel realistic and none of the exaggerated conflicts or dramas. The build up and story progression is also very good. Even the "antagonist" are humanized and I love the empathy and understanding the message author gives towards addressing mental health.

5/5 added to my favorite novel collection. <<less
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January 15, 2023
Status: -
I don't understand how this one got so many 5 stars. I guess it's just not for me. So I'm not giving any stars this time.
I couldn't love or feel anything about the characters. Maybe it's because the writing style is very plain or had so many unnecessary details OR because of the hideous MTL grammar...

I wish I could feel that sweetness people are talking about. I'd give this a 2nd try with another translator.
Also, people shouldn't post their MTLs on this site.
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yany rated it
October 31, 2020
Status: epilogue
I don't even where to begin with this book so I'm going to keep this review short and sweet. I absolutely love this book. I was captivated by the story. This novel is an absolute must-read. It was one of those novels that drew me in and I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. Totally fell in love with the characters, and I honestly couldn't put it down. All characters in this novel seem reasonable and enjoyable to me, including the side characters. All those concerns regarding their relationship... more>> are totally understandable. Everything just looks realistic and sensible. In my opinion, this novel is similar to "Healing Sunshine", but brighter. Also, please go read the epilogue on MTL. Overall, beautiful and heartwarming. Screw all those low rates. <<less
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SSKF rated it
October 18, 2020
Status: Completed
This was a very cute and sweet story. It also portrayed a realistic romance, sibling relationship and family life. I love many things about this story.
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starbella rated it
August 13, 2020
Status: --
Dont understand the low ratings when this story is a gem. I usually dont like stories where the FL chases after the guy but this is rly sweet and the ML is great. Give it a try!
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francheskmpos rated it
May 27, 2020
Status: --
This story is BEAUTIFUL! Super recommended, I don't understand why it has such a low rating.
the protagonists have good personalities, they are both intelligent and very human.
The interactions of sister and brother is very funny and natural, in addition to the excellent translation.
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I've been rereading this for the 6th time now, I really like the story also the characters and especially the FL and ML they're so good together, for me the age gap isn't that big of a deal and since he didn't fell in love with the small Sang Zhi that made it more realistic and applaudable, they're really look good together. The story is so good frickin awesome. Imma reread it again.
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robynPeace rated it
May 18, 2021
Status: Completed
I loved everything about this, the two main characters and especially her relationship with her brother.

There's an age gap of about 6 years between the couple and they met when she's just 13 but the way the author handles it is respectful and even wholesome, the male character is amazing with her I wish men like him existed in real life too lol

the translation is a bit wonky at times, to be honest it feels more like an mtl (I actually not sure if it ti indeed a mtl) but... more>> it does its job and after a while you get used to it. <<less
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April 28, 2021
Status: Completed
Anyway, I did a re-read again with this novel, It showed how good this story was. I love the age difference story like this. It made me wish I have a childhood crush myself *lol

Anyway, does anyone know a similar story like this novel? With realistic story, no transmigration plis, i’m so bored with that kind of story.
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February 15, 2021
Status: c85
It's absurd to think this way, but I felt like I've read this plot before.

However, I haven't bookmarked this novel, nor did I marked any of the chapter.

Did I MTL it beforehand and forgot to left a review? 😅 I've no idea, but it's possible because the scenes felt so familiar like I know what will happen in the next chapter.

Aishhh ✧ (>o<) ノ✧

Aside from slightly grammar error and somehow difficult to understand sentences, I'm very grateful to the translator. ༼ つ ◕‿◕ ༽つ
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Fungiball rated it
December 28, 2020
Status: Completed
Not gonna lie, this novel is one of the best novel I have read until now, and I can proudly say that this is a gem. Relationship between ML and FL is so sweet and heartwarming also realistic too. Throughout the journey of their relationship, I feel a lot of emotions, laugh, cry, giggling, and a little warning ... more>>

for you who will read this novel, I am sure you will smile a lot till you get a mouth cramps 😂

So in conclusion I am really satisfied with this novel. For you who still unsure wether to read this novel or not, I really recommend for you to try this one, you won't regret it 😉. And also thank you for 88tang for translating this novel, you are awesome! Lastly happy reading! <<less
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shasoo rated it
June 11, 2020
Status: Completed
ReI have to say this is the first Chinese novel that I've read and I don't feel boring and being an irritation to main characters include the side characters,

All seem reasonable and sensible- feel this just simple story yet developing so many things that reflect in our life.

For sure, I'm really don't mind with the different ages between them, I mean it's not really a big deal, back then, I have a relationship with my "5 years" older than me.

I think it's not about the different ages... more>> will become the main problem of some certain relationship but maybe it's will have some side effects, it's doesn't matter as long as you feel comfortable around them.

I am really glad that this novel doesn't really highlight the issue of about ages matter rather shows the progress between them. It feels so hilarious, funny, and sweet.

But I guess maybe he's a one of her Ge ge best friend, it just somehow makes things "weird" but not that weird, well he knows her at age 13 years old, so yeah

And I love sang zhi character and she likes living to prove that women are most complicated ehehehe but not that she being difficult, she sometimes cute, s*upid, carelessness but mature in her way guess.

And for the male lead, f*cking loved him, he's so witty and loves the way he's flirting so rogue,


In this novel,


Just find out which one more shameless ~

Btw her relationship between *her biological* gege basically the reality who have gege just like me LOL <<less
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NadiaClover rated it
September 20, 2023
Status: Completed
I already read this novel, long before the novel become the drama, at that time I'm too lazy to give review :v but here I am


If you came here because of drama, you will read that ML is a lil bit different than drama. In novel, ML character is more mature and more feel like an adult and more like a lil bit bad boy (Actually, I'm more mesmerized and like ML novel character more) . I feel like ML in drama is more a sweet type, which... more>> ML in novel not completely like that.


If you choose to read novel first and watch drama later, although ML is a lil bit different, the ML in drama itself has its own charm, I mean the ML in drama and in novel feels different yet the feeling that I got when watching and reading the couple itself is same.

Other than that no worries, you will get the same giddy feelings but with different way of approach :) <<less
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