Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins - Book Review

I’m going to warn you: I cried at the end of Secret Keeper. Don’t worry; I won’t give away too many secrets. Just one: I didn’t cry because of the sad ending. I cried because author Mitali Perkins resisted the urge to "go Disney," and I instantly loved her for it.

A quick, basic synopsis: Asha & Reet are sisters forced to leave school behind and move, along with their depressed mother, into their paternal grandmother’s strict home while their father searches for work in America. While waiting for their father to send for them, sixteen-year-old Asha confides her secrets to a diary, the secret keeper, and befriends an odd boy next door. In the meantime, the whole family is trying to marry Reet off as Asha tries to save her sister from this unwanted, though not uncommon, fate

The trick with historical or cultural fiction (and Secret Keeper is both) is to create a story where the reader forgets that they are in another time or place. Though Secret Keeper takes place in 1970’s India, the themes are universal. Especially engaging is protagonist Asha, a strong and selfless young woman in a culture and time when such traits are more burden than complement. Not only does Secret Keeper have a great story to tell, it also offers even-handed insight into Indian culture and leaves the reader both heartbroken and uplifted.

I loved Secret Keeper and highly recommend it for secondary libraries and classrooms as well as for book clubs and anyone with a love of historical fiction.

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Genre: Realistic Multicultural Fiction. Age: Young Adult. Pages: 240.

Themes: Serious Themes, Courage, Love, Loss

Classrooms or reading group discussions: sexism, arranged marriages, depression, selflessness & sacrifice, friendship, heartbreak and expectation vs. independence.
Thank You to The Picnic Basket.
Publisher: Delacorte Books. Date: January 2009.
ISBN-10: 0385733402 / ISBN-13: 978-0385733403

Buy Secret Keeper Here

Mitali's family moved around a lot so it's a good thing that her name means "friendly” in the Bangla language. She has twin sons, two labradors, a ferret and three fish. You can read more about Mitali Perkins on her website, her myspace page, or her twitter account.

Secret Keeper book trailer:

© 2007-2009 Cheryl Vanatti for

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