Title: Keeping You a Secret
Author: Julie Anne Peters
Release Date: May 4, 2004
Publisher: Little, Brown
Cover Designer: Alison Impey
Age Audience: YA
Summary: Expectations. A girl meets a guy, falls in love, gets married, has sex. Not necessarily in that order. Holland Jaeger is living up to the expectations. But when she meets Cece, the course of her life is changed forever. She falls in love with this girl—this out-and-proud lesbian. Holland's awakening to her own sexuality is the key to setting her free. Can Holland trust that the people she counts on most in her life will accept and embrace her newfound identity? Keeping their relationship a secret may prove to be the worst mistake Holland and Cece could ever make.
Let’s start with some positives.
I loved the writing. It was simple, yet so captivating. I read this book in only two hours. Peters also really gets you to care about the characters. In most books, sure I like a certain character, but I wouldn’t be sad if they suddenly vanished. But I very much would have cared if any of the characters in Keeping You a Secret had vanished. (Actually, there was one character I didn’t like—but we’ll get to her later.) Holland especially had a very real personality. I could identify with her a lot. In fact, I think just about anyone who has ever questioned their sexuality can identify with Holland.
This book was pretty memorable too. It’s been almost six months since I read it, and I still remember everything well enough to write a review without going back to skim through. There aren't many books I can say that for.
Now on to the negatives.
There actually wasn’t anything unique about the story. Boil everything down, and the plotline is:
Girl is popular, has great boyfriend, good grades, good relationship with parents. New Girl comes. Girl feels attracted to New Girl, and begins to question her sexuality. Girl discovers she is gay. Girl starts relationship with New Girl. Girl comes out. World falls apart.
That story has been done a hundred times before. I know that there are people who love this kind of story and don’t mind reading the same thing over and over again. But I am not one of those people. I like originality.
Remember when I said that there was just one character that I didn’t like? That one character was Cece Goddard. She seemed so...fake. Wearing a different gay T-shirt every day, and plastering your car with gay bumper stickers? Come on! It was almost like Cece’s sole purpose in life was to let the world know that she was gay. By the way, 2QT2BSTR8 is more than six characters, so how could it have been her license plate?
Despite my criticisms, I really did like this book. If you want a quick (but not forgettable) read and you like generic LGBT stories, then you will enjoy Keeping You a Secret.