Tuesday, 29 March 2016

The Secrets We Keep by Nova Weetman

The Secrets We Keep by Nova Weetman
Published March 28, 2016 by University of Queensland Press
Source: the publisher
Rating: 5 stars

From the blurb: I don't know if you've ever seen a house burn, but it's not like anything else … Clem Timmins has lost it all - her house , possessions and clothes. Now living in a tiny flat with her dad, she has to go to a new school far from what she knows.On her first day, Clem meets Ellie. To fit in, Clem reveals a secret and immediately regrets sharing too much with her new friend. How can Clem face everything in her life when all she wants to do is run away?

The Secrets We Keep is Nova Weetman's fifth book, and it tells the story of eleven year old Clem Timmins. She and her dad have moved to a flat after their family home burnt down. There's a bit of mystery surrounding the whereabouts of Clem's mother and it's a subject that Clem doesn't want to discuss. Clem starts at a new school and immediately makes a new friend, but she's still lonely and missing her old life, her best friend, and all the possessions she lost in the fire.

From the moment I began reading I had such a clear sense of the sort of girl Clem is, she's thoughtful, loyal, clever, and it's clear she inherited these traits from her wonderful father. Their relationship was so sweet, he provided so much support for her at such a difficult time in her life. Often in YA parents are absent or just not part of the story, so it was lovely to see a positive relationship between a young girl and her dad.

Nova excels at writing about female friendships with all their glorious and tempestuous complications. Clem was lonely after moving schools but gaining a friend in Ellie wasn't something she was sure she wanted, especially as she seemed to disrupt Ellie's friendship with Tam. It was nice to see Clem put herself in Tam's shoes, knowing that she wouldn't want her bestie, Bridget, to abandon her for someone new.

The Secrets We Keep is a touching story of family and friendship that's honest, heartwarming, and filled with strong, lovable characters.

Thank you to UQP for my review copy.

Cover illustration: Sandra Eterovic
Cover design: Jo Hunt

I adore this cover, and love seeing Sandra's illustrations used on the cover of Aussie YA (another recent cover she illustrated is Iris and the Tiger).

I knew I was going to paint this but I'm not happy with Clem's face, I got the proportions all wrong but didn't want to start again, so don't look at her too long ;)

I used a sky blue polish for the base and acrylic paint for the rest.

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