This is an outstanding story The writing is second to none, emotions are so raw they are palpable My biggest let down was the abrupt ending, hence four stars instead of five I guess this is one of those stories where the reader gets to decide what becomes of the characters. I have been reading a few lesbian romance novels lately and haven t written a review on them because I was kind of hoping they would just fly under the radar here on goodreads and not get noticed I m sure that anyone that knows me, and knows that I am a 29 year old straight man will probably think that I m just reading them because I m a dirty old pervert who wants to read about two women together If that s what you think then you are only about 5% right, the thing is I grew up on horror That s all I ever watched, listened to, our read, but I have always loved a good love story mixed into them I recently started reading romance and it only takes a handful to get the basic layout of a romance novel, two people meet, fall in love, face some kind of obstacle or something that gets between them and makes their relationship difficult and the harder they have to fight to be together thethey must love each other and the happier the ending is Well, who has to fight harder than a same sex couple Who hastrials and tribulations and has to makesacrifices It s all to easy for a boy and girl to meet and say they are in love and then a week later be in love with someone else and it don t matter because nothing really changes but read this novel here and see exactly how much her life had to change to admit her love for cece and you know that it is real true love because she is willing to risk everything for her and when she loses so much she never once regrets it I imagine a m m romance would appeal in the same way but I mcomfortable reading about two women so that s where the other 5% comes in but before you judge me to harshly just keep in mind that they are all ya romance that I have been reading lately and any sex in them is not explicit and only used the way it should be which is show the intimacy and love between two people. With A Steady Boyfriend, The Position Of Student Council President, And A Chance To Go To An Ivy League College, High School Life Is Just Fine For Holland JaegerAt Least, It Seems To Be But When Cece Goddard Comes To School, Everything Changes Cece And Holland Have Undeniable Feelings For Each Other, But How Will Others React To Their Developing Relationship Reviewed by Me for TeensReadToo.comThe second book I ve read by Julie Anne Peters, KEEPING YOU A SECRET is another sure fire winner about the highs and lows of first love, the terror and joy of coming out , and the good and the bad that is the thing called family Holland Jaeger is the It girl everyone envies she has great friends, she s President of the Student Body, she s the girlfriend of Seth, she s the popular girl who can be counted on to always get along with everyone That is, until Cece Goddard transfers in, and Holland s once perfect life no longer seems so great The first time she sees Cece, Holland feels something that she s never felt before Although sexually active with her boyfriend, Seth, having sex islike a chore she d much rather sit around talking, the way they used to do when they were friends rather than lovers As Cece flaunts her homosexuality, wearing shirts proclaiming herself out and proud, Holland wonders what it means when her attraction to Cece becomes almost an obsession College looms on the horizon and no one, especially her mother, will quit asking her where she s going They have big plans for her, you see, both her mother, who became a single parent way too young, Seth, and the career counselor at her school Forced into a role she doesn t want, Holland escapes into her art class, drawing away from her former friends as feelings and emotions she can t control rush to the surface As Holland realizes that she is, in fact, a lesbian, her perfect life is suddenly out of control She s shunned by her former friends at school, her mother kicks her out of the house, she s forced to live in a run down motel that s now a shelter, and she s not sure she ll be able to attend college at all Holland must learn what s really important in life, that it s not about being popular but about being true to yourself As she loses old friends she gains new ones in the gay and lesbian community, and forms a bond with Cece that is beyond her wildest expectations KEEPING YOU A SECRET is a great, emotional read, pefect for anyone questioning their sexuality or their place in the world A truly recommended read. i m on a semi professional kick of reading books with young protagonists dealing with sexual awakening it s semi professional because, while i m slated to teach a class about teens sexuality, teaching is never far from the soft nub of my life, and i tend to teach what my mind is working at figuring out at the time managing to do this requires a constant whirlwind of reading list changes and in between semesters reading my mind re adjusts its focus constantly, and even a tiny little adjustment is enough to throw into the shadows everything that s familiar and bring into sharpness unknown realities but it works for me i understand my life better by teaching books that deal with some raw pink aspects of it, and i understand things better when i discuss them with others the problem here is that i have intentionally avoided books focused on kids and especially kids sexuality like the plague, because i ve always found them profoundly uninteresting beware of the topics that cause a strong negative reaction in you so i m reading and thinking and exploring like crazy, and some of it is dizzying and exhilarating, and some of it is devastating i owe my realization that i do indeed like books about kids to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time , and my realization that i like books about kids sexuality to rigoberto gilb s lovely and brilliant The Flowers also about kids sexuality, i m now reading the astonishing i keep checking that this is indeed only this author s SECOND NOVEL Animal s People , as slowly as i can manage because such depth and intelligence deserve savoring and i just gobbled up the dark but fabulous graphic novel Skim.on the other hand, i read Keeping You a Secret in two goes and i d probably give it an it s okay two star rating if it weren t a pioneering book that caused its author to come out again in a way she hadn t anticipated or planned hence, one star for courage Secret is a formulaic book with a competent but rather pedestrian writing style and a series of predictable moves the characters are depthless and the only aspect of their lives and minds that gets addressed is their nuts and bolts desire mostly their sexual desire, or lack thereof the books i mention above deal with kids desire in the context of the immense complexity of their lives this is the time, after all, when we discover our capacity for independence and deviousness, our potential for originality, and our ability slash inability to mold our own place in the world, and negotiate these thrilling and terrifying realities with the need we still feel for protection and guidance sexuality and sexual desire and all the issues related to sexual expectations and conformity are only one facet of all this, or, maybe, its most visible, compelling, driving representative.that julie anne peters focuses on sexuality without much attention to what it represents and is linked to makes her book pornographic which, by the way, Secret most definitely isn t, because all sexual scenes are only guessing objects, and, if i m correct, the only explicit description we get of any sexual act at all is contained in the adjective soft in connection to the protagonist holland s and her paramour cece s first kiss SPOILER this is the one book in the list i offered that devastated instead of exhilarated me part of it is what i just said the barren pornographic nature of it another part of it is the drab writing the occasion, though, that made the desolation real and stark and material for me was the moment when holland s mother, upon discovering that holland is sleeping with cece, goes completely berserk and gives her exactly two minutes to pack her stuff and get out of the house this is a tremendously shocking moment because, until then, nothing in the novel had given us the impression that holland s mother might even be capable of such irrational inhumanity holland s household is blandly normal the step father is a benign if colorless figure, the mother is portrayed as wanting to get her daughter s life right because she couldn t do it with her own, but this is represented in terms of wanting her to go to a good college, something holland is resisting because she is not sure of and no one is interested in what she really wants true, holland s mother got pregnant with holland and had to drop out of afulfilling life to raise her when she was a teen, and if this makes holland feel less than, you know, wanted, it also impacts her external life minimally she is free to come and go as she pleases, to spend the night with her boyfriend, and lead her own life with basically no interference from her mother except for the college thing, which is an object of constant nagging MORE SPOILING so i saw the cruel homophobia of holland s mother as coming out of left field it s evenastounding that there is no reconciliation at all before the novel s end in one swift stroke she excises her daughter from her life she changes the locks of the house, doesn t know where she s staying, throws away her stuff , takes her money , and doesn t want her back unless she leaves cece really, out of control.parental homophobia is a fabulously interesting topic, but peters does nothing to help us understand it she just hits us in the gut with it, and it hurts something awful you wonder, was this girl ever loved and have no way to answer because the novel s bi dimensional characters give you nowhere to go yet holland seems remarkably well adjusted she deals with her life well she s an excellent student, a tireless swimmer, deals with breaking up with her boyfriend really well, deals with her discovery of her gayness really well, loves selflessly, is kind to her family given what happens, and the obvious roots of it, you have to ask where is this girl s rage but peters doesn t give you rage she gives you a nice kid with a crazy mother and no explanation for it the pornography of Secret is in all the emotions the book evokes in you without giving you any lead in how to interpret them and put them to good use in your life which, in a YA novel, seems particularly shameful.okay, i ve just talked myself out of teaching it. Reading through the YA fiction available for GLBTQ readers has been a somewhat disappointing experience I would really give book this book 2.5 stars because there are some things the book does right, but really I can only classify it as okay While the topic in this book is really important, I would love to see it handled by a truly skilled writer such as Laurie Halse Anderson The writing in Keeping You a Secret is just not that great and I m sorry that GLBTQ YA lit often seems to fall into this category I imagine readers are so desperate to see themselves reflected in the literature, that books like this are given a lotcredit than they deserve What the book does wrong unrealistic flat characterizations, a jerky start that left me a bit confused and questioning whether I wanted to read on and terribly corny slang I actually wrote down a list of offending phrases that I doubt have ever been uttered by the lips of a high school senior except perhaps in an ironic way including wastoid, goon, shudder city, no way way , shiver city, and hangdog I checked the copyright date, preparing to excuse Peters for the silly expressions However, it was published in 2003 so there really is no good explanation. I really didn t like this book It was given to me by a friend who figured I d like it because I like girls, too How wrong they were Cece doesn t seem like any person I know or would encounyer, as I doubt anyone is quite that out there about being, well, out That didn t bother me so much as just how manipulative Cece was as the story progressed She seemed to not even care about Holland, just so long as she had her own place that she could crash at The big reveal about a previous girlfriend who had broken Cece s heart was predictable and childish, despite how grown she tries to present herself Cece skeeved me out, with her constant talk about needing Holland and vice versa , and the two expressing how they couldn t live without each other I read this in a day, and it just didn t sit well with me, and I hope I m not the only one who picked up on the abusive manipulative undertones and realised how unhealthy and dangerous their relationship was I can appreciate the book helping some people come out to their parents, but it is not a healthy thing for young queer kiddos to read, as far as learning about healthy relationships go. when i first bought this book from the store i didnt read the back cover or the first page I just thought the title was interesting and decided to give it a chance To be honest, looking at it during first glance i thought the cover was of a boy and a girl and didn t even realize it was a gay couple Reading the first few pages i was alittle skeptic on weither i d like it or not because id never read anything like it before It turned out to be one of the most beautiful and amazing stories i have ever read, i found myself laughing, crying, gasping, yelling, and finishing the book within an hour or two I really felt for the main character as she strugled with trying to discover her sexuality and eventually come out to her friends and family Her story was really amazing and inspiring and quite sad as she struggled to deal with the feelings of her mother and her thoughts of what was right and what was wrong I d totally recommend this to anyone and id have to say it is one of the best books ever. I can t stand the main character My worst nightmare would literally be to get stuck in an elevator with her Please don t let me hear her voice any. i know all of you are off writing your damn novels this month, but don t forget to support me in my own writing project NaReWriMo, where i write reviews for teen fiction and you all applaud my brave attempts to keep up despite finding it harder and harder to be charming as every book underwhelms me and i am forced to resort to gimmickry like adding soundtracks a different song to each paragraph.this is my last gay teen novel for class, so i wish i could be all flamboyant and anthemic and proud about reviewing it, but this book, like all others on this syllabus, was just all right i just have no frame of reference for this not the gay part i m not picky about gender when it comes to the grown up game, but i just find it mind boggling that kids still take shit for being gay in high school when i was in high school a billion years ago, no one cared about it at all we had the requisite number of gay field hockey and softball players, but the cheerleading squad had at least one,too, and maybe i just work too close to the harvey milk high school so i am just seeing a sea of gay or gay tolerant kids, but these kids seem pretty confident and open and are making out all over my store, without seeming too shy about self identification out and proud, yes classy, no.but i know it s not the way the whole country is i do hear the news stories so i suppose books like this books in which a popular, pretty, femmy girl with a great boyfriend and a bright future meets a girl and sparks fly and the rest of the school recedes in horror, along with her family the mother character in this is so grotesque i m sure there are women like this out there, i just haven t met them, and i do not want to but i know, i know there are women who only want their daughters to be husbanded and white dressed and breeding all the time and for them, this disappointment must be shattering and justifies banishment but wow she s really a terrible mother.but here s the thing i hate cece the young lesbian who moves into town and takes this girl on a magic carpet ride of same sex escapades hate her if i went to high school with her, i would totally be in the group tagging her locker i wouldn t slash her tires, because that s just wrong, but she really annoyed me not because she was gay, but because she was so one dimensional about it really, every day you have to wear a different lesbian t shirt or hat or license plate holder you have no other facet to your personality i know you re young, but get a hobby, play a sport, don t just be a walking billboard for your sex life this would piss me off no matter the t shirt monotony broadway musical, animal rights activists, norwegian death metal bands i get it, you fuck girls, now move along before i yawn myself to deathi don t know, i guess for people who don t have a support system, this book is awesome it gives advice for where to go for help if you lose your home, and gives strength for girls just coming out into potentially difficult situations, but for me, it was pretty boring except when they fool around in the back of the donut shop and they are all cinnamon smelling and sticky but i may have just been hungry.