Secrets Not Meant to Be Kept

Secrets Not Meant to Be Kept

by Gloria D. Miklowitz

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School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up Teenager Adrienne Meyer doesn't understand why she can't be more demonstrative toward her boyfriend, Ryan; doesn't understand her strange, uncomfortable response to the director of the Treehouse Preschool that she attended 12 years ago and that her sister, Becky, now attends. As Adri's friends explore their own sexuality, Adri, with Ryan's help, seeks the truth about the preschool. When Adri records her ``playtime'' with Becky, the truth comes out. Becky and other children are being sexually abused by the preschool staff, the same abuses that Adri has blocked and that countless other children have experienced over the school's 19 years. Events are not fully resolved by novel's end, but Adri concludes by saying, ``I think it will be all right now. Or in time anyway. . . .'' Characterization is minimal, with the characters serving merely as vehicles for the message. Adri's therapeutic play with her sister is almost too sophisticated, too professional for a person that age, as is the fact that she is the only one to pursue the problem. That Adri's parents are unwilling to see the seemingly obvious indications of child abuse at the preschool is not unbelievable, although the fact that it has gone unnoticed by many parents for at least a decade may be stretching it. The resolution is speedy and simplistic, either making the topic more palatable or impugning the novel's credibility. It is unclear who would be interested in or benefit from reading this bookabused children? their siblings? budding psychologists? This novel warns of the potential dangers of trusted adults from outside the home, but it's much more message than story. Maria B. Salvadore, District of Columbia Public Library

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Random House Children's Books
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