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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Sekert is a historical fantasy novel about a young Russian teen during the 1960s Soviet Union era, who's trained by the KGB to use her psychic powers to help them uncover secrets of the U.S. space program. There's some pushing, shoving, and hand-to-hand combat, and the sexual content is limited to mild flirting and couple of kisses. There's no strong language.
What's the story?
Yulia, a Russian teen, is psychic, but she really doesn't understand her powers or want them. She feels her power to detect emotions and see people's lives through touch is a burden. Yulia wants to be a normal teen, living with her family without the KGB and dictators ruling Russia. But when her family's captured by the KGB, she will do anything to get them back -- even play the agency's game: The KGB are training psychic teens to find out the secrets of the U.S. space program, as Russia and the United States are competing in the "space race." Yulia goes a long with them only to survive and figure out an escape. Soon she not only has the KGB watching her every move, but also the CIA. Yet, if Yulia wants to escape and save her family and herself, she must first she must figure out a way to get past her captors by training herself that "an empty mind is a safe mind."
Is it any good?
SEKRET is a fresh take on historical fiction. Readers will connect instantly with Yulia and root for her to escape the clutches of the KGB and find her beloved family. The novel is inspired by historical facts and filled with real-life locales and people, but it also has a dystopian feel. The blend of reality and fantasy will appeal to a variety of readers. Sekret has a literary quality to it and is filled with beautiful and haunting images. It's clear from the first page that Smith has done her research, has terrific knowledge of U.S. and Russian history, and is a foreign affairs writer. Her descriptions are extremely powerful and visual. But sometimes the novel feels weighed down by too much description.
Sekret is not a fast-paced read, but it holds a lot of secrets and surprises that will keep readers turning the pages. It also has many tense moments and fascinating characters, as well as a cliffhanger ending that will leave readers looking forward to the next installment in the series.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Cold War spying. Have you read any other stories about it, or seen any James Bond other movies featuring Russian spies?
Why were the United States and Russia competing to go into space and get to the moon first?
Most every country has a spy agency, like the United States' CIA. What would it be like to actually have psychic spies? Would it work or hinder the espionage programs?
- Author: Lindsay Smith
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, History, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
- Publication date: April 1, 2014
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 18
- Number of pages: 352
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.