Stolen Secrets

  • Review
By – December 19, 2017

As the title tells us, this sto­ry is filled with secrets. Some are revealed ear­ly in the telling; oth­ers more grad­u­al­ly as the sto­ry unfolds. Six­teen-year-old Liv is at the cen­ter of it all.

Liv is belea­guered on all fronts. Her moth­er, a recov­er­ing alco­holic, sud­den­ly informs her that they are mov­ing across the coun­try to San Fran­cis­co. Liv must leave the life she knows behind, includ­ing her friends and boyfriend. When she arrives in her new home, she learns that she has a grand­moth­er she nev­er knew exist­ed. This grand­moth­er is suf­fer­ing from Alzheimer’s and is haunt­ed by mem­o­ries of her expe­ri­ences in the Holocaust.

Liv is appre­hen­sive about attend­ing a new school, but is met with accep­tance and warmth. A new male friend is quirky, smart, and fun. Her mother’s alco­holic relapse leaves Liv as the part-time care­giv­er to her new­ly found grand­moth­er. Soon, ques­tions about fam­i­ly his­to­ry are sparked. These give rise to a mys­tery involv­ing Anne Frank that Liv and her friend try to solve.

The book address­es the themes of moth­er-daugh­ter rela­tion­ships, alco­holism, Alzheimer’s, the Holo­caust, depres­sion, resilience, and the neces­si­ty of emo­tion­al sup­port from friends and fam­i­ly. The pro­tag­o­nist faces many seri­ous issues simul­ta­ne­ous­ly and the plot is com­plex, but Liv’s emo­tion­al resources and abil­i­ty to thrive are impres­sive, and her matu­ri­ty lev­el increas­es throughout.

Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 12 and up.

Marge Kaplan is a retired Eng­lish as a Sec­ond Lan­guage teacher. She is a con­sul­tant for the children’s lit­er­a­ture group for the Roseville, MN school sys­tem and is a sto­ry­teller of Jew­ish tales.

Discussion Questions