Book: Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins
Published January 2009 by Delacorte Books For Young Readers|240 pages
Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library
Genre: YA Contemporary
When her father loses his job and leaves India to look for work in America, Asha Gupta, her older sister, Reet, and their mother must wait with Baba’s brother and his family, as well as their grandmother, in Calcutta. Uncle is welcoming, but in a country steeped in tradition, the three women must abide by his decisions. Asha knows this is temporary—just until Baba sends for them. But with scant savings and time passing, the tension builds: Ma, prone to spells of sadness, finds it hard to submit to her mother- and sister-in-law; Reet’s beauty attracts unwanted marriage proposals; and Asha’s promise to take care of Ma and Reet leads to impulsive behavior. What follows is a firestorm of rebuke—and secrets revealed! Asha’s only solace is her rooftop hideaway, where she pours her heart out in her diary, and where she begins a clandestine friendship with Jay Sen, the boy next door. Asha can hardly believe that she, and not Reet, is the object of Jay’s attention. Then news arrives about Baba . . . and Asha must make a choice that will change their lives forever.
I’ve wanted to read this book for a while, and after reading You Bring The Distant Near last year, I finally decided to read Secret Keeper. I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would, and I didn’t like it as much as You Bring The Distant Near.
I did feel for Asha and Reet, and I can’t begin to imagine what it’s like to have a marriage arranged for you, or to know that your decisions are not your own to make. Asha has her own path, and while it differed from the traditional path her family wanted her to take, she knew what she wanted. It’s very different than the path that her sister took.
I found it hard to wrap my mind around the fact that their uncle could make decisions- such as their future spouse- for them since their father was trying to find a job in the U.S. It’s a very different life than the one I know, and it’s not bad. It’s just very different and hard for me to picture.
I did like Asha, and how much she wanted to help people. Wanting to be a psychologist really opened doors for her, and it really seemed like a way for her to take care of her mom and her sister, especially after her dad died. I also liked that she considered her diaries from her father her secret keeper, but I didn’t particularly care for actually reading the diary entries. I also liked how Reet wanted to take care of her mother and sister as well, and how getting married allowed her to help them. It’s strange how one event can change everything, and how we all need to make sacrifices.
2 stars. Even though there were things I liked about Secret Keeper, it was just okay for me. I had a hard time getting into it, and I wish I liked it more than I actually did.