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Keeping You a Secret (2003)

by Julie Anne Peters

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1,0143014,062 (3.87)16
As she begins a very tough last semester of high school, Holland finds herself puzzled about her future and intrigued by a transfer student who wants to start a Lesbigay club at school.

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» See also 16 mentions

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One of those books that was pretty groundbreaking in its time, one of a handful of titles that came up when I looked for stories for teens with a f/f relationship at its centre. And this is a solid story that holds up well enough in comparison with those that followed, but from this distance it no longer seems like anything particularly out of the ordinary: another romance, another coming out story, another account of homophobia both institutional and personal. I'd love to have read it a decade ago, or more.
  KathleenJowitt | May 2, 2020 |
I think this is the first LGBTQ book I read and it is still one of the best. I'ver reread the Price of Salt and will soon go back to Annie on My Mind. Hitting the classics. Also, robin Talley's Pulp is a new classic. I think these are the best of the bunch. ( )
  EdGoldberg | Mar 12, 2020 |
Author: Julie Anne Peters
Published: 2003
Format: paperback
Pages: 250

Possible spoilers.

I finished this early this morning and have been trying all day to figure out what to say about it. It was... all right. I didn't hate it, but definitely didn't love it.

The protagonist Holland Jaeger...she got kind of a raw deal. She was the product of a teen pregnancy. Her mother was kicked out of her home, forced to quit school and raise a child on her own. I think Holland was made to suffer some of her mother's bitterness. She practically ran Holland's life, planning her future, going through her personal belongings, the whole nine yards. Later in life when Holland's mother meets a nice man, marries and has a baby, she let's slip that she wished she had waited to have Holland. She thought she would have been a better mother. She thought she would have wanted her. For realsies?! How do you tell your child you didn't want her and think it's just causal conversation?

Holland is in her senior year of high school and is completely over extending between classes, extracurriculars, work, and trying to live her life for her mother instead of herself. She's struggling to even spend time with her friends and boyfriend of a year, Seth.

It's obvious from almost the beginning of the book that the shiney-newness of Seth had worn off, but Holland was too clueless to see things for what the were. And she was busy applying to colleges she knew she couldn't get into (and got rejected from) to please her mother's need to live vicariously through her.

Enter CeCe, a transfer student who is gay, out, and immediately caught Holland's attention. Holland was drawn to her. After several encounters she finally realized that she's attracted to CeCe and that it wasn't the first girl she'd crushed on. She never thought about it meaning she was gay until she was faced with out and proud CeCe. After breaking up with Seth and crushing his fragile boy heart, she and CeCe started seeing one another, but CeCe insisted that they keep it secret, claiming to want to protect Holland from the hate and bigotry she faced daily.

But of course, as it always does, it came out that Holland was gay and dating CeCe. Seth was angry, one of her best friends, Kristen, turned out to be a total bigot, and her other best friend was just hurt that Holland had ditched her with no explanation. And of course her mother lost the plot and did exactly what her parents had done to her, she kicked her daughter out. Holland's life fell into a shambles, all because she fell for CeCe. But not really.

CeCe confessed to betraying Holland by suppressing her right to out herself--which was seven kinds of effed up--all because she was being selfish. CeCe had previously helped her first love come out and once she did the girl became a whole new person. She became confident and vibrant and bold and eventually fell for someone else and effectively cheated on CeCe. This was what CeCe didn't want to happen with Holland, so she suppressed her. Holland agreed that it was a betrayal, but at the same time, Holland agreed to the secret. So it's just as much her fault, and honestly, nothing would have changed her mother's reaction.

I didn't like CeCe. I didn't like Seth, or Kristen even before we found out she was a bigot. I hated Holland's mother and CeCe's mother. And I hated the choices Holland made, and the choices she allowed to be made on her behalf. If she was old enough to purchase her own vehicle and have car payment and work, she was old enough to make her own decisions about college, especially since was was either relying on scholarships or paying for it herself. Her mother had no right, and while I know it's hard to go against your parents when you're dependent on them for everything (leaglly and financially) at some point you have to say this is my life not yours. The best thing Holland did was walk out on her mother when she attempted a half-assed, bull-crap reconciliation. Her mother hadn't planned to change, understand or accept Holland for anything other than what she wanted her to be. And just as her mother never forgave or reconciled with her parents, I believe the same was true for Holland.

This book just wasn't it for me. ( )
  Virago77 | Jun 7, 2019 |
A young adult novel about discovering one’s own sexuality and coming out. This is realistic romance, so the struggles with self-discovery and homophobia are integral elements. This is an excellent book, second only to Nancy Garden’s masterpiece, Annie On My Mind.

Read full review @https://www.bestlesficreviews.com/2019/01/keeping-you-secret-by-julie-ann-peters.html ( )
  LesficReviews | Feb 6, 2019 |
My paperback copy is falling apart, I've read it so many times. I remember first reading this book when I was in middle school, under the covers with a flashlight, absolutely terrified that my parents would catch me reading a book about lesbians. Since then, I've moved the book from its sorry home stuffed under my bed in my box of Beanie Babies, to a proper resting place on my bookshelf, next to other favorites.

I've given this book to two other girls. It's so raw. So beautiful. So real. I want to share it with the people most special to me. ( )
1 vote bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
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To Sherri for always

And to those who are living out and proud. You are a beacon for others to find their way home.
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First time I saw her was in the mirror on my locker door.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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It was a wobbles-worth book... but I didn't understand the ending. =]
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