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.
It’s rare in the U.S. to hear a story about the Cold War told from anyone’s perspective but our own. And perhaps that is the first ingredient that makes Sekret such a success — Smith tells the story from the USSR’s perspective. At least, from someone within the USSR. It’s a different perspective on history that most of us in the States don’t consider — and Smith does so without imparting any strong political beliefs or debating who was right and who was wrong in the Cold War. It’s just: this is what happened, and here is this girl caught in the middle.
But beyond presenting a different perspective on this time in history, Smith writes a captivating premise that sucks readers in. Psychic teens helping the KGB win the Space Race? It’s insane and unique and I loved it. Loved. It.
Sekret also introduces readers to a curious group of characters, each with their own talents, their own desires, and their own challenges. Yulia, who just wants to find her family and be left alone. Valentin, with dark secrets of his own. Masha and Misha, the twins eager to please the KGB and the Socialist Party. Sergei, who is happy just to play hockey in between secret KGB missions. Larissa, who goes along to get along, but isn’t afraid to fight back when she can get away with it.
Sekret is easily one of my favorite books of the year, and I can’t wait to see what happens next in this stunning and intriguing new series that is unlike anything else I’ve read in the YA market. Sekret is in stores April 1st.
(On a side note … I particularly enjoyed reading Sekret soon after finishing Tsarina by J. Nelle Patrick. Though the two books are unrelated, they follow each other chronologically. Many of the historical events that take place during Tsarina lay important ground work for the political situation during Sekret. Plus, both books combine Russian history with the supernatural, and that’s just awesome.)