“ Author: Jacqueline Wilson / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 01 March 2007 / Genre: Children's General Fiction / Publisher: Random House Children's Publishers UK / Title: Secrets / ISBN 13: 9780440867616 / ISBN 10: 0440867616 „
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"Secrects"... Is a children's book (although, it thoroughly appealed to me), about neglect in the home, abusive step-parents, seeing past stereotypes and most importantly, the consequences and hardships of keeping secrets.
The story is basically personal accounts from two teenagers. Working out as one chapter per teenager, writing their own view of the story. One, is Treasure. Treasure is a cool, laid-back, tomboy with the "I really don't care what people think of me" attitude, who lives with her glamorous, young, and fun grandmother who is a line-dancing teacher. Treasure, her grandmother, and her Aunty Patsy who (who is younger than her), live in the rough and tough Latmier Estate, known to be the home of the lower-classes drug abusers and gangs. Treasure was made to live here by her Grandmother, after her drink-abusing stepfather aggressively slashed her across the face with a belt, after Treasures mean step-sister showed Treasure's step-dad her private book, where she had drawn "Terry torture machines", (Terry being her step-father). However, Treasure settled in well with her Grandmother and her school, although she struggled to make friends. Treasure wasn't the type to really be bothered about not having friends, but to her luck, she befriended with an usually posh-looking girl walking through her dirty and rotten estate.
This girl was India, the second girl in the story. Living in a posh luxury complex and attending the areas best school with pupils of the highest ability, did not make India a happy child. Being a large girl, with frizzy ginger hair, hardly made India an attractive and popular girl. India, was having a lot of problems in school, as she was the "smartest" in her class, and was having hassle with her former friend, who was pretty, and popular. India's problems continued at home, too. India's mother was a top clothes designer, and was forever pressuring India to become interested her her product's clothes and designs, and was having an on-going battle with India as she was overweight. India felt neglected and unloved by her mother, but even more so by her alcoholic father. India really loved her father, but her father had no time for her, and was always very aggressive towards her because of this alcohol problems. Worst of all, India suspected her father to be having an affair with the family's au pair from Australia. Her father was known to be attracted to their au pairs, so Indias mother purposely hired a less attractive girl to do the job. However, as one day their au pair forgets to pick India up from school, she is forced to walk home, and takes a sneaky short-cut through the forbidden Latmier Estate, where she bumps into Treasure.
The two girls become friends. Treasure's grandmother welcomes India into the home with open arms, and India loves the family's lifestyle and strangely, their estate! Although, Treasure doesn't get a chance to meet India's family, as India is afraid of how they will judge Treasure.
Everything is going great for the two girls, until Treasure's mother and step-father turn up at the door demanding Treasure back! Treasure gets scared by both of them, so she runs away. Having no-where to go, she runs to India. India is fascinated by the Anne Frank story, as Anne Frank is her heroine. And a sneaky Idea comes to India. India sneaks Treasure into her house and lets her hide in the attic, neither her Grandmother, or parents knowing where she is. As a little secret turns into a huge police investigation, things get a bit more serious than planned.
I really enjoyed this book as the plot was great, and it also included some things about the story of Anne Frank. To be quite honest, I think the story is a bit to old for children, and would recommend it for 13+, Jaqueline Wilson has three types of book, books for younger children (Corgi Pup), older children (Corgi yearling), and teenagers (Corgi), I think this book would be more appropriate in Corgi, rather than Corgi Yearling as the book contains some violence and some things which include adult relationships, which can be quite hard for younger readers to understand. The thing that makes Wilson so talented, is her ability to create realistic characters, whom young readers can relate to. The story lines are also focused on real dilemmas faced by children today, such as, making friends, keeping secrets, bullying, bad relationships with parents. But the thing I liked most about the book, was that both girls overcame stereotyping. We all judge people by stereotype, nowadays. We just fail to notice it. India and Treasure's friendship had a touch of sweetness, as both of the characters became friends even though both characters lived different lifestyles.
Other's Views and opinons.
"A superbly moving novel for the older readers from the prize-winning author of The Illustrated Mum and The Story of Tracy Beaker"
"Jaqueline Wilson is an expert interpreter of the typical child victim of our times. Reading her best novels is to go on a journey of discovery about characters written off by others..The Diary of Anne Frank is woven into this story... this could have been a dangerous device for lesser novelists; Wilson carries it off triumphantly. This brilliant writer still provides her fans with reality at it's unvarnished"
"Wilson's skilful way with dialogue and plot makes this a moving, funny and uplifting story about friendship"
"This is a compelling account of abuse and parental neglect, but above all it is a deeply affecting story of the power of friendship between two otherwise desperate girls"
~ Good Book Guide
"Wilson weaves skilful patterns linking the Anne Frank story and the modern day children's difficult relationships with their mothers"
~ The times
"Children and young teenagers will love this story, as an author speaks to them with a voice with which they wholly identify"
~ Financial Times
"As ever, Wilson pinpoints with surgical precision the dilemma faced by adolescents caught in the crossfire between selfish, childish adults"
~ Glasgow Herald