Review: Sekret by Lindsay Smith

Format: ARC
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Pages: 345 pages
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
An empty mind is a safe mind. 
Yulia's father always taught her to hide her thoughts and control her emotions to survive the harsh realities of Soviet Russia. But when she's captured by the KGB and forced to work as a psychic spy with a mission to undermine the U.S. space program, she's thrust into a world of suspicion, deceit, and horrifying power. Yulia quickly realizes she can trust no one--not her KGB superiors or the other operatives vying for her attention--and must rely on her own wits and skills to survive in this world where no SEKRET can stay hidden for long.


As soon as I read the synopsis of Sekret, I immediately fell in love with the idea of a secret group of mind-bending teenagers living in and serving Soviet Russia during the Cold War. I couldn't wait to dive into all the history and fiction the novel promised, and so, I began reading Sekret with very high expectations. Fortunately, they were all well met.

I absolutely adored the characters of Sekret. I thought they were all very well-developed and very well portrayed. Each were their own person, all of them having their share of secrets and motivations for doing what they did, and those who were gifted with mind-controlling powers were especially fascinating and cool. Their interactions with each other and their missions for their Russian country thrilled and excited me to the very end of the story, so that, when I finally finished the novel, I was sad to have left them and their exciting world.

I particularly loved the heroine Yulia. Stubborn, resourceful, brave, and deeply loving, she is now one of my favorite YA heroines. I loved watching her grow stronger and braver with every passing, challenging moment in the novel, and even more interesting, that her unique power also grew and developed. I rooted for her all throughout the story as she desperately tried to protect her family, friends, and even herself from the many people who wanted to take advantage of her gift.

Debut author Lindsay Smith's passion for Russia and its culture truly shined in her novel Sekret. Going into the book, I didn't know much about the time period, let alone the Russian perspective of it, so I was really fascinated by all the historical references and the world-building in the novel. I thought Smith did a fantastic job mixing history and fiction through a plotline that was suspenseful and full of mystery. Her writing especially helped, for it flowed very nicely and smoothly.

Needless to say, Sekret was a refreshingly different read in more than one aspect: great, gifted characters; a mysterious and thrilling plotline; a fascinating and foreign setting; and a passionate, new voice. I highly recommend this book to anyone needing an exciting read and/or who enjoys learning about history as much as they enjoy reading, for I believe Sekret will not disappoint. I look forward to reading more from author Lindsay Smith.

2 comments

  1. I want to pick up this book and I'm so glad you enjoyed! I love the sound of Lindsay Smith's writing and the way she brings Russia and its culture into her novel. Wonderful review, Leslie :)

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  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! We haven't thought too much about this book one way or the other, but now you've got us curious.

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