Author: Lindsay Smith
Series: Sekret, #1
Expected publication: April 1, 2014
From debut author Lindsay Smith comes an espionage thriller with a dash of both history and dystopia.
Yulia’s father always taught her that an empty mind is a safe mind. She has to hide her thoughts and control her emotions to survive in Communist Russia, especially because she seems to be able to read the minds of the people she touches. 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 where she can trust no one.
She certainly can’t trust Rostov, the cruel KGB operative running the psychic program. Or handsome Sergei who encourages her to cooperate with the KGB. Or brooding Valentin who tells her to rebel against them. And not the CIA, who have a psychic so powerful he can erase a person’s mind with his own thoughts. Yulia quickly learns she must rely on her own wits and power to survive in this world where no SEKRET can stay hidden for long.
*a copy was provided through NetGalley for review purposes*
Imagine living in a country where you had to watch your every move, making sure you kept your thoughts hidden and your actions as inconspicuous as possible. Now add psychic abilities where certain people can read your every thought, see your every memory and exactly where you are at any time, see your future and the decisions you'll make, completely erase your mind by taking all of your memories, and make you do whatever they want. Sounds frightening doesn't it?
This is Yulia's reality. She has been captured by the KGB to live with these psychic people and train her own ability to use it against the U.S. The worst part of the whole situation is that they also have her mother and brother and the only way to keep them safe is to comply with the KGBs orders. Only she can't get the images of running away and freedom out of her head, and her captors as well as the other psychics in training know it. They can read her mind like an open book. Even so, this doesn't stop her from trying.
I cannot even begin to describe how much I enjoyed this book. I could not stop reading it. In fact, I almost burnt my pizza because I was so absorbed in the story. There's mystery, espionage, murder, betrayals... it's a complete thrill ride and I loved every minute of it. It was a little chaotic because you had no idea who among them was actually trustworthy, if any of them. She is continuously putting her faith in people only to be let down but something they've done whether past or present. I really have to commend Lindsay Smith for her vast knowledge of this time period in Russia and the paranoia that ran rampant throughout the country. I was genius to add another layer to that paranoia by adding psychological abilities as another threat.
I really liked Yulia, our main character. She fought the system even when it was pretty much impossible. She refused to give up hope that freedom could be obtained and she certainly couldn't be happy living a life following the rules of the KGB, even if that meant getting everything she could want. It was a false freedom and that wasn't what Yulia wanted. Her ability allowed her to read the minds of other people by a simple touch, delving into their memories and learning anything she could possibly want to know. This also worked with objects. She could touch any object in the world and learn anything she could possibly want to know surrounding that object: who had touched it, how they were feeling, what was happening at that time.. the list goes on and on.
As far as the plot goes, it went at a steady pace, often taking you on a wild goose chase making you feel a little chaotic. It was difficult to see just what the KGB was going to ask Yulia to do next. Even though I figured out the direction the book was heading from the very beginning it wasn't easy to know what was going to happen leading up to it. I also had a pretty good guess about another major plot point but I wasn't entirely certain and I'm glad that I turned out to be correct in my assumption. I'm also thrilled with some of the characters and their actions but that's all I'll say about that. I don't want to delve too much into the events that transpire.
If you're a lover of historical fiction and you also enjoy a good paranormal I urge you to pick up Sekret. You've got history, suspense, paranormal abilities, even a little romance. So many amazing elements all in one book. I can't wait to read the next installment and this one hasn't even been released yet!
I rate this book:
Author of the forthcoming YA historical thriller, SEKRET (Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan Children's, Winter 2014). I'm an ex-Oklahoman and an unapologetic Washingtonian. I'm a Russophile, analyst, nerd, devourer of books (and worlds), impractical shoe hoarder, and Sheltie mommy.
*The following quotes were taken from the uncorrected digital galley. They may or may not appear in the finished copy.*
I sidle up alongside him, on guard, questioning my sudden craving for this gorgeous, dark mystery whose eyes hold mine gingerly like he's afraid they'll break. Through our thick coats, I feel an electric crackle in the quickly vanishing space between us.