Review of Keep It like a Secret

Keep It like a Secret Keep It like a Secret
by John David Anderson
Middle School    Walden Pond/HarperCollins    320 pp.
5/24    9780063279315    $19.99
e-book ed.  9780063279339    $9.99

Twelve-year-old narrator Morgan Turner and his older sister, Claire, used to be inseparable, even with their six-year age difference. They were a team: “She was my shoelace-knotter and jacket-zipper. She taught me how to pop my gum and Superman swing...She was always taller, faster, stronger, and smarter. Always better at everything.” They abided by the Sibling Code: always there for each other, never hurting each other. But recent conflicts between Claire and their mother are disrupting the whole family and unintentionally causing pain to Morgan. The siblings are memorable characters with realistic motivations—they aren’t just set pieces moving through a plot. There’s humor, too, when Claire takes her brother on a quest that includes spray painting an overpass, seeing a waterfall, and conducting a very funny driving lesson. Anderson (The Greatest Kid in the World, rev. 9/23) knows to let a big, complicated family story be complicated, to afford it the space it needs, and to allow a young boy to earn wisdom throughout the course of a powerful narrative.

From the May/June 2024 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Dean Schneider

Dean Schneider teaches eighth grade English at the Ensworth School in Nashville, Tennessee.

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