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Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins

Secret Keeper

by Mitali Perkins

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A story, which is not so much about keeping secrets, than about making sacrifices and accepting concessions when life deals a less-than-favorable hand. It also champions the resiliency and creativity of youth in the face of adversity and hardship.
  MomsterBookworm | Jul 14, 2014 |
Cross-posted from: http://yaromancereviews.blogspot.com/2009/02/secret-keeper-by-mitali-perkins.htm... Review:Romance Rating: 2/5Percentage of book focused on Romance: 25%Chemistry between characters: 3/5Love triangle: NoThe bases (hotness factor): In the dugout -- it is set in India in the late 70sI rarely cry when I read books. I cried at the ending of this book. I had read other reviews of this book that hinted at a choice/sacrifice that Asha would have to make for her family but I wasn't entirely prepared for it. It was quite painful to read. I was actually a little surprised by how affected I was by the ending given that I wasn't getting the feeling that Jay and Asha's relationship was all that romantic. Their scenes together are very short. The author says more about what is going on between them rather than showing us. For example, it says that they spoke for hours one afternoon, but what did they talk about? While Asha's character was well-developed, I don't think I got to know Jay all that well. We learn that he is a reclusive (maybe?), brilliant artist and cares deeply for Asha but little else -- until the end, when you learn that he is also self-sacrificing. But, despite what I perceived to be their lack of connection throughout the story, the ending was still powerful. ( )
  noahsmae | Aug 3, 2010 |
The best part about this book is the descriptive language that Perkins uses throughout. Everything is so lush and easy to feel or visualize. At the same time, she doesn't coddle her readers, most of whom aren't familiar with 1970s Indian dress and customs; she does not go to great lengths to spell everything out. Because she lets you kind of figure things out for yourself as you go along (with the help of a glossary of Indian words at the back of the book) there were no obtrusive info-dumps to pull you out of the story. Some people may want more description of the customs and traditions acted out in the book, but I was happy to get on with the story!

Asha is young and chafing in her girl-hood. She had a pretty free and open childhood, learning how to do things like play tennis and cricket, but all of that stopped when she got her period and she had to become a proper young lady. Further restrictions are placed on her and Reet when they move to Uncle's house. The contrast of their lives inside the house (always inside the house) to that of her male cousin Raj is pointed, both to the reader and to Asha. Watching Asha come in to her own and start to make decisions for her family in this environment is all the more amazing. Because the story centers around this aspect of Asha's life, as well as how her growing confidence can or cannot save her sister and mother, I think that this would make a great middle grade read as well.

I really enjoyed Secret Keeper and look forward to reading more of Mitali Perkins' books in the future!

Book source: Philly Free Library ( )
  lawral | Jun 8, 2010 |
Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins is a touching novel that will resonate with young adults who feel the need to protect their loved ones from pain and sorrow. This novel follows the lives of an Indian family whose dreams of prospering are cut short when the father loses his job. Seeking a better future for his family, he leaves his wife and two girls with relatives in Bengali, India while he looks for work in America. The story follows his children’s lives and steeps the reader in Indian culture and traditions.

Asha is the main character who has promised her father that she will take care of her mother and sister. As Asha struggles to keep her promise she embarks on a personal journey of growth through her beloved journal, S.K. Through her journey she discovers the strength she has within her. This novel will leave you wondering how much you would willingly sacrifice to keep a promise. ( )
  tjcolvin | May 18, 2009 |
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Asha and Reet held their father’s hands through the open window.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385733402, Hardcover)

When her father loses his job and leaves India to look for work in America, Asha Gupta, her older sister, Reet, and their mother must wait with Baba’s brother and his family, as well as their grandmother, in Calcutta. Uncle is welcoming, but in a country steeped in tradition, the three women must abide by his decisions. Asha knows this is temporary—just until Baba sends for them. But with scant savings and time passing, the tension builds: Ma, prone to spells of sadness, finds it hard to submit to her mother- and sister-in-law; Reet’s beauty attracts unwanted marriage proposals; and Asha's promise to take care of Ma and Reet leads to impulsive behavior. What follows is a firestorm of rebuke—and secrets revealed! Asha’s only solace is her rooftop hideaway, where she pours her heart out in her diary, and where she begins a clandestine friendship with Jay Sen, the boy next door. Asha can hardly believe that she, and not Reet, is the object of Jay’s attention. Then news arrives about Baba . . . and Asha must make a choice that will change their lives forever.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:45 -0400)

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In 1974 when her father leaves New Delhi, India, to seek a job in New York, Ashi, a tomboy at the advanced age of sixteen, feels thwarted in the home of her extended family in Calcutta where she, her mother, and sister must stay, and when her father dies before he can send for them, they must remain with their relatives and observe the old-fashioned traditions that Ashi hates.… (more)

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