Saturday, October 1, 2011

It's a Secret

The Secret Room by Beth Kanell
Something about this books cover and summary really called out to me and reminded me of the books I read growing. I was hoping for the best with it, but I was a little skeptical thinking it was self-published. (I was actually mistaken there, since there is a publisher, but it's a small publishing house.) But hopeful going into it, I am excited to share that overall I really enjoyed this.

The main story arc is of Shawna and her next door neighbor, Thea, discovering a hidden room while mapping out Thea's house for a math project. Throughout the book the two girl investigate the history of the room and what it was actually used for. While the mystery of the room is important, I would say the book is more about these two middle school girls becoming friends, learning about themselves, and discovering secrets within their own families.

The book does seem to be targeted as YA, and while I can't necessarily put my finger on why, at times it felt more like a middle grade novel to me. That's not to say they're aren't mature themes, but I think it's more that the book took place within a small town in Vermont. I think what I'm feeling more than anything else is a result of the sheltered environment where the girls are living.

I did enjoy reading this book now, but I think I would have loved reading it being the same age as Shawna and Thea. I loved hearing the girl's learn about their history, and even more than that was excited reading all the math-y notes to it. The book was definitely a nice surprise, and I'm glad I had the chance to read this one.


Disclosure: I was provided this book through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. All opinions expressed are my own.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your review, Shoshanah -- I'm so glad you liked the book! I loved finding a Vermont publisher with a really sharp editor to work with for The Secret Room.

    Although there can be some isolation to living in the country, TV and the Internet offer plenty of ways for girls around here to check out the complexities of urban life. I hope I've painted that moment when the safety and familiarity of "home and family" are challenged by our discoveries of how our best friends see life -- different from how we do, but that doesn't have to mean we can't be friends! It takes work to build a long-term friendship, no matter our age.

    I like your blog (I'll be checking out more of it!). Thank you again for not just reading and enjoying the book, but also sharing your thoughts with others!

    Beth Kanell

    PS -- if you like books with a bit more edge, you might enjoy my earlier novel, The Darkness Under the Water (Candlewick 2008).