From debut author Lindsay Smith comes an espionage thriller with a dash of both history and dystopia.
Yulia’s father always taught her that an empty mind is a safe mind. She has to hide her thoughts and control her emotions to survive in Communist Russia, especially because she seems to be able to read the minds of the people she touches. When she’s captured by the KGB and forced to work as a psychic spy with a mission to undermine the U.S. space program, she’s thrust into a world of suspicion, deceit, and horrifying power where she can trust no one.
She certainly can’t trust Rostov, the cruel KGB operative running the psychic program. Or handsome Sergei who encourages her to cooperate with the KGB. Or brooding Valentin who tells her to rebel against them. And not the CIA, who have a psychic so powerful he can erase a person’s mind with his own thoughts. Yulia quickly learns she must rely on her own wits and power to survive in this world where no SEKRET can stay hidden for long.
Let me fan girl for a moment because I really love this novel! It has so many factors that I adore in a story and I just can't believe how flawlessly it comes together. I love the paranormal aspect and the historical aspect that I adore. It brings to life two of my favorite genres into one story. It's amazing.
The story of Sekret is one of complex interweaving of many different concepts that somehow flow together in a very beautiful way. Yulia, the main character, is the type of main character that the reader will either want to hold as her world crumbles or shake as she makes decisions that you don't like. Her world has been one of secrets and lies, which quickly becomes very evident as the KGB kidnap her and force her to become something that she never wanted to be - a spy. A soldier simply because she has powers beyond what a normal person has. She can touch an object - a person - and pull memories and emotions from it, creating an idea of what occurred in the past and that makes it easier to guess what is going to happen in the future. The other people she is working with all have their own secrets and their own motives. So she must ask herself the question, who can she trust - if she can trust anyone? Lindsay's novel is written so beautiful that I was immediately pulled in to the world of Yulia and I never wanted to leave. It fit all of my desires for an awesome young adult novel, which is why I am fangirling so much about this!
Yulia actually surprised me. I wasn't sure I would like her when I first began to read the novel because she came off a little different than the average novel heroine. As she continued to grow throughout the first chapter, I found myself attached to this rough around the edges girl who has a great amount of loyalty to her family. She would literally do anything for her family and I admire her greatly for that. She became such an amazing young woman that it honestly held my attention for such a long time afterwards. I now find her as a strong, confident, a ration rat that had everything taken for her and yet she managed to prove she was more than just a girl that defined herself by her situation. No, she defined herself by her family. She may keep to herself and perhaps she doesn't trust easily but she is so much more beneath her facade and after the midway point through the book, she truly becomes a character to admire. I love her. By far one of my favorite main characters I have read.
Her family is certainly a complex unit of people that have more secrets than perhaps any government in existence. But you know what, they can have these secrets because they know about the special powers that apparently have appeared in Russia during the Cold War. They worked on this intense project in regards to that and quickly became disenchanted with the government they were working for, I believe. All of secrets I am sure will eventually cause some form of chaos and eventually it will explode in the worse sort of way. Yet they are loyal to each other despite each person's ulterior motives. Her brother is amazing and he has a disability that makes him more different than anyone else. His world is different than what everyone else sees. He hears music, he finds comfort in repetition, and he sees in brilliant colors. I loved him almost as much as I loved Yulia.
There, I suppose, are two love interest for my lovely Yulia. First is Sergei who is the typical manly boy that loves hockey and is very outgoing. He is comfortable with the idea of being a spy because he knows that they are being taken care of by the government and that eventually if he obeys, he can live the life he wants and occasionally compromise what he should believe is right or wrong. However, from the moment he meets Yulia, you can see that he likes her and that he will do anything to protect her. So that is love interest number one. Love interest number to is my personal favorite, Valentin. He is the brooding musician type that prefers to stick to his thoughts and to himself. The way he carries himself shows that he feels a great deal of guilt, sadness, and self hatred but escape is impossible when it comes to the KGB program. They will find him if he attempts to escape and most of the occupants in the program learn that first hand. He slowly warms up to Yulia and the whole time I was just dying for him to make a move or prove that he was romantically interested in her. Trust me when I say I wasn't disappointed in the romantic aspect for this novel. But I won't tell you who wins the girl or... kisses the girl. You'll have to read and see!
Larissa is perhaps the one female character outside of Yulia that I actually grew to like and perhaps adore. Little by little she moved from the girl that appeared on random pages to the girl that I knew would be the type of friend the main character needed. Even though she had her secrets and her motives for her actions, there was a certain purity about her that I found admirable. That even though she was trapped in this situation she somehow manages to leave some parts of her untouched. Her power is amazing, which I won't reveal, and if I had it, I would totally use it to my advantage but she maintains the stance that she will not or perhaps cannot change the inevitable outcome of what her power provides her.
I love, love, love this novel and I feel horrible posting this review so early before the release but I felt you needed to know how awesome this book truly is.
** This book was received from the publisher via NetGalley. None of the review was influenced by the author or the publisher. This is a completely original review. The thoughts and feelings of the reviewer are entirely her own and have no ties to the publisher.**