Mezzowriter's ReadWriter Blog

Reading, Writing, and The Search for Buried Gems of Literature

What I’m Reading #22: Keeping You A Secret April 2, 2010

Okay, so this book never made it to the “What I’m Reading” widget.  Friesner’s Nobody’s Princess simply wasn’t holding me. When Julie Anne Peters’ book showed up in the mail yesterday, I felt compelled to push Helen aside and go with some LGBT teen lit…

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Keeping You a Secret by Julie Anne Peters

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2005

Courtesy of Amazon.com:

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up-Holland Jaeger goes steady with a good-looking boy and contemplates attending an Ivy League college in the fall. Then she meets “out-and-proud” lesbian Cece Goddard, and her life changes. Within a matter of weeks, the two begin an affair that eventually leads to a committed relationship. Holland loses old friends, encounters vicious discrimination, and is thrown out of the house by her hysterical mother. She finds help at the local Gay Resource Center, however, and begins to look forward to attending a local college after high school, with Cece by her side. Peters knows how to tell an intriguing story. However, while both teens are likable, believable characters, the confidence with which Cece proudly proclaims her sexual orientation at school strains credibility. This aside, the antigay slurs, viciousness, and prejudice the girls endure certainly leave an indelible impression. Peters’s message may be heavy-handed at times, but, overall, this is a well-written and thought-provoking novel.
Robert Gray, East Central Regional Library, Cambridge, MN
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Strengths: I’ll admit this was a nice change of pace from what I’ve been reading.  I found it interesting, particularly since it’s not your typical teen romance.  This could easily have become rather preachy and trite–but Peters’ take on the story is quite poignant and real.  Not for the least because she draws on her own experiences.  My favorite character, however, was not Holland or Cece; rather, I liked Holland’s Goth stepsister, Faith.  Peters’ development of her was excellent–I loved that her character didn’t change, rather it unveiled as the story went on.

Possible Flaws: I agree with School Library Journal–the message, however pertinent and timely, does come over as a bit heavy-handed.  But I suppose it is representative of the turmoil of adolescence.

My Rating:

I enjoyed this read for what it was.  It’s not a literary masterpiece, but it’s definitely thought-provoking  and quite timely.  Particularly if you like to scandalize people by reading a teen lesbian romance, which I think I’d love to leave lying on my mother’s coffee table just to see what she’d do.  😉
(Probably going to hell for that bit, but…plenty of you all are going with me, so I won’t be lonely.  😉 )


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