I read and enjoyed Frankie and Joely by Nova Weetman, which was aimed at older teenagers. The Secrets We Keep and The Secrets We Share are aimed at a younger age bracket. I didn’t read the first book, but this didn’t matter. The second does follow on, but it can be read as a stand-alone.
Told in the first person by Clem, she is living in an apartment with her father after their house burned down and her mother ran away. It is being rebuilt and her mother returns after being in hospital and treated for depression, causing major readjustment for Clem, along with all of the other changes she is dealing with – new home, new school, then high school and the complication of shifting friendships.
Then she meets the boy who has moved in with his aunt, Clem’s neighbour and they share their respective problems, and sharing the feeling of being in the way.
It sensitively discusses issues around mental health for those experiencing them and those trying to care for someone dealing with it.
Clem realises that ‘Pretending I’m always okay hasn’t been the best choice lately, so I decide to tell them the truth’, a good message for young people in this authentic read.