Stolen Secrets

Boyds Mills Press  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.

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