Saturday, February 28, 2015

Sekret by Lindsay Smith -- ESSENTIAL

Smith, Lindsay Sekret, 345 pgs. Roaring Brook Press, 2014. $17.99. Language: PG-13 (10 swears, no 'f'), Mature Content: PG-13; Violence: PG-13.

Life in 1960s Russia is treacherous. Yulia must keep her head down and her mind blank in order to survive, but lying low is difficult for someone with a strong will, vibrant hopes, and unique psychic abilities. Then the KGB ruthlessly kidnaps her and forces her to use her powers as a spy. Yulia doesn't easily give up her dreams of freedom, however; she's as determined to be free as the KGB is to control her.

It its heart, SEKRET is a vivid historical novel, and I found myself fascinated by the facts Smith used to make her setting come alive. The paranormal aspect and spy/mystery threads add unusual twists that keep the momentum going. On top of that, the writing is wonderful. I began the book while in a cafe with a friend (who had a book of her own) and I had to keep interrupting her to share passages because they were so evocative. Because it hits on several genres, expect this one to appeal to a variety of readers.

HS -- ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Caryn

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