My second Fourteenery read was Lindsay Smith’s Sekret, which I was so looking forward to after seeing fellow Fourteener Emily Kate Johnston read it and love it during the retreat. Needless to say, it totally lived up to expectations. So here are a few reasons why you should read Sekret.
1. Back in the USSR
This is one book with a stand-out setting. Yulia is growing up in Communist Russia, under Khruschev’s rule in the mid-1960s, and the setting almost becomes another character as Yulia deals with ration lines, the black market, politics, and the space race. Lindsay’s done her research and it shows.
2. Tinker, Tailor, Psychic, Spy
How does the phrase “psychic spy” not hook you? Add the fact that this is kind of based in reality is even cooler.
3. Trust No One
I spent most of the book not having any idea who Yulia/I should trust. Valentin and Sergei, fellow psychic spies? Her mother? The KGB operative in charge of the program? Lindsay works in lots of twists and turns that kept me guessing.
A kickass main character who’s had to risk danger even before she was “chosen” for the special KBG operation, I liked how Yulia always tried to stay a step ahead of her enemies–whomever that may be.
5. It’s in Your Genes
A theme in Sekret is genetics and how we’re programed to be the kind of people we are. I loved seeing Yulia try to figure out who she is and what her place in the world is, considering her powers.
6. What’s My Name Again?
In Russian culture, people go by first names, patronymic names, last names, and middle names. Lindsay doesn’t make this complicated for the reader who (like me) doesn’t know much about Russian. But I loved seeing this cultural norm pop up in the plot in really cool ways.
7. Music Major
Music plays a big role in Sekret and I love how so many different kinds–classical, jazz, rock, traditional folk songs–come together in such an interesting way. It connects so well to the blending of the old and new and formal and informal in Communist Russia.
8. That Jaw-Drop Moment I Had
No, I’m not going to tell you what it is. But I will say that I loved the plot’s twists and turns, especially one big moment.
9. Lindsay Smith: Most Likely in the Fourteenery to Be a Badass Secret Agent
Lindsay writes about the Cold War and spies and Communist Russia so well because she knows these subjects really well. She works in foreign affairs, has studied Russian, and has walked the streets of Moscow.
10. But Wait, There’s More
Did I mention it’s a series? That’s right–you don’t have to feel too sad once you finish this one because we get to read more.
Sekret is being released on April 15, 2014, but you can look into the future by preordering it now. (I had to get at least one psychic joke in there, right?) Happy reading!