Seven for a Secret

Overview

Fifteen-year-old Melinda is looking forward to spending another summer with her cousins Rebecca and Kate in the small outport village of Cook’s Cove on Newfoundland’s west coast. Rebecca is a goody-goody who is under the thumb of her stern mother. Kate, the city dweller, is determined not to let a boyfriend block her future. Melinda, for her part, has a tendency to act out. The cousins act like sisters, watching out for one another. When a stranger comes to the village and invites Rebecca to Boston to develop her...
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Overview

Fifteen-year-old Melinda is looking forward to spending another summer with her cousins Rebecca and Kate in the small outport village of Cook’s Cove on Newfoundland’s west coast. Rebecca is a goody-goody who is under the thumb of her stern mother. Kate, the city dweller, is determined not to let a boyfriend block her future. Melinda, for her part, has a tendency to act out. The cousins act like sisters, watching out for one another. When a stranger comes to the village and invites Rebecca to Boston to develop her artistic talent, the girls are suddenly exposed to the possibilities of the outside world. Melinda finds herself not only responsible for keeping family secrets but also faced with deciding just how far family loyalty should go. Displaying the authenticity of one who grew up in an outport community, Mary Sheppard has written an uncompromising and riveting novel set in a time and place when the fishing industry was still strong and the deeply rooted sense of community was both comforting and stifling.
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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
This is a year of big changes for Rebecca, Melinda and Kate. Every summer their big city cousin, Kate, visits the small Newfoundland Island known as Cook's Cove. This summer, as they all approach their 16th and 17th birthdays, life gets complicated and almost out of control. Between the usual teenage banter about boys, lipstick and school, a stranger appears on the island and upsets the easy flow of their lives. He notices Rebecca's outstanding artistic talent and is willing to give her the opportunity to study in a fine Boston school. The complications from this offer are far reaching as secrets begin to surface from the past. Told in Melinda's quaint island voice, all the characters, most especially the women, are vividly drawn. Mothers and aunts, through the generations, have been strong and enduring. They are women who have put up with drunken abuse and sacrifices that have no words. When Rebecca's birth certificate reveals a different birth date and a man's name that is not her father's, it is time to confront some of these secrets. Melinda's mother, at 34, is old beyond her years and has had her reasons for not letting Melinda know that her father was abusive. Aunt Grace, Rebecca's mother, lets Melinda know, after a great tragedy, the truth behind the birth certificate. Melinda, at 16, is pregnant and preparing for marriage to her long-time boyfriend, Matt. On Cook's Cove in 1960, it is not unusual for girls to marry while in their teens. Still, she will strive to finish high school. In the end all the girls come to the conclusion, even Kate, that there's really no place like home. This is an excellent and fast-moving story, but there are some sexual situations here that might alarmsome younger YA readers. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2001, Groundwood, dist. by Publishers Group West, 189p., Tibbetts
VOYA
Fifteen-year-old cousins Melinda, Kate, and Rebecca have been looking forward to another summer of garden parties and gossip in the coastal town of Cook's Cove, Newfoundland. They are about to discover, however, just how little they actually have to look forward to in life as residents of this isolated fishing village. In the late 1950s, girls in Cook's Cove seldom escape an early marriage, rarely finish high school, and often suffer from their husband's abuse and alcoholism. Leaving for good is not so easy either, as an unfolding family story reveals. Summer's end finds all three girls falling prey to the small town's tradition in varying degrees, but as the story concludes, the first road connecting Cook's Cove to the outside world opens, metaphorically offering escape. Sheppard has written an engaging and accurate description of the difficult existence many women live by default. Despite the dust jacket's cheerful artwork and upbeat synopsis, this novel is not an innocuous mystery for preteens. Events are sometimes disturbing, and the ending is bittersweet at best. Melinda's grandmother, aunt, and mother have made the best of lives filled with tragedy, heartache, and disappointment, and readers are led to believe that Melinda will also. Her only consolation resides in the hope that her own daughter will escape Cook's Cove. This book might serve as an eye-opener for young women unwittingly on the verge of life-determining decisions. VOYA CODES:4Q 4P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses;Broad general YA appeal;Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9;Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2001, Groundwood/Douglas & McIntyre, 189p, $15.95. Ages 12 to 18.Reviewer:James Blasingame—VOYA, December 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 5)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-A small coastal village in Newfoundland is the setting for this story of three cousins. It is 1960, but it seems infinitely earlier in this isolated place that still lacks electricity. Melinda, Rebecca, and Kate are separated by only seven months in age. The summer proves to be pivotal for each of them; they begin to make decisions about their futures as they near their last year of high school. When a road connecting Cook's Cove to the outside world is begun, it also marks the end of an era in the village. Life is at once harsh and joyful. Fishing and working in the fish plant are the main occupations. Many families have lost their men to the sea. One form of entertainment is socializing, church activities, and parties; gossip is another; and romances, too-early pregnancies, and even failure to have your laundry on the line by 9:00 a.m. are fair topics for consideration. Early in the summer a stranger arrives at a garden party and observes Rebecca's talent for drawing. His subsequent invitation to her to come to Boston for an art course becomes the catalyst for the changes that take place. This descriptive story details the love and sense of community that make life in the village less difficult. However, it may need a booktalk to get readers past the dialect.-Sylvia V. Meisner, Greensboro Montessori School, NC Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780888994370
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books
  • Publication date: 7/10/2001
  • Pages: 192
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.82 (w) x 8.84 (h) x 0.75 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2002

    It's no secret that this book is great!

    This book is a great book. Whether you are 10 and just enjoy their fun times or 17 and realize the deeper meaning... you will enjoy this book. I highly reccomend this book to buy, the whatever $20 that you spend doesn't hold a candle to the life lessons you will learn.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2002

    It's a very sweet and touching book!

    This was a supurb book. I couldn't stop reading once I started. The characters made their own choices and the story turned out well. Good for light reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2002

    It Really Touches Your Heart!!

    When I first got this book,it didn't look to great. I read it, and it turned out to be a great book! The secrets that are kept hidden from one family member to another kept me guessing. Melinda and her Matt surprised me too, by doing what they did 'behind the fish shack'. You should read Seven for a Secret. The ending really surprised me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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