Author Julie Anne Peters is best known for writing young adult books about gender queer youth, and Keeping You a Secret is penned in the same vein. In this audiobook, popular Holland Jaeger's life (and sexuality) is thrown into question by the arrival of a new girl in the corridors of her high school.
Rebekah Levin performs this coming-out story in the authentic voice of a conflicted teenager. She is able to capture the exaggerated theatricality of high school students, as well as the shrill, authoritarian tones of teachers and parents. The overt drama of the performance complements the action-packed storyline in a way that deepens the listener's understanding of the obstacles facing queer youth.
First time I saw her was in the mirror on my locker door. I'd kicked my swim gear onto the bottom shelf and was reaching to the top for my calc book when she opened her locker across the hall. She had a streaked blonde ponytail dangling out the back of her baseball cap.... We slammed our lockers in unison and turned. Her eyes met mine. "Hi," she said, smiling. My stomach fluttered. "Hi," I answered automatically. She was new. Had to be. I would've noticed her. She sauntered away, but not before I caught a glimpse of her T-shirt. It said: IMRU? Am I what?
©2003 Julie Anne Peters (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
Yes for the perspective of what love isn't. The relationship between the two girls is abusive. Cece is abusive of Holland and when you love someone you just aren't. As an attorney who has helped many women in such relationships with men the fact the other person is a woman doesn't change the situation.
Obsessive love is not love. It is possession and selfish. As an example of this yes.
Yes to write this review. I had not written any before reading this book. It took me six months to get around to it and I even wrote other reviews prior to this one but reading this boom left me with a desire to say what happened in the book was not true love.
Inspirational, Motivating, Factual.
When Cece finally told Holland the real reason she did not want her to meet her friends or come out of the closet. The fact that she was afraid to lose Holland is the real reason she lied to her. Though lying to your partner is still wrong. I absolutely love how Cece stuck with Holland through her being kicked out of the house as well. True love.
No, I have not, but I will definitely be checking some more out.
Yes, there were parts that made me tear up. And there were parts that made me mad. Like the part where Hollands mom was hitting her for being inlove and being who she is.
This book is great for LGBT's who are going through the coming out phase. It'll be a great listen so they will know how to approach accepting who they are, and making the world know they are proud of who they are as an individual, a person and as a group.
I haven’t read much experience with audiobooks, but this was the first one that I truly enjoyed. It was a lot easier to focus on than the previous audiobooks that I’ve read, which could be because I’m better at focusing on them but it probably is because it’s a contemporary. The writing style feels more conversational, like Holland is just your friend telling you her story, which a type of style that I enjoy because I can fly through easily and it keeps me entertained and happy.
I don't really have any comparisons.
This book is so important for LGBTQ teenagers, but also enjoyable if you’re not. I’m guilty of not reading a lot of books with gay main characters, but I wonder why not. A lot of the same subjects of romance, personal life struggles, finding love and acceptance - anyone can relate to that. I have to say, though, for someone struggling to come out, this book would be specially important. Coming out is a tough choice and a tough journey for most people, and it is so for Holland. I think someone could identify with this and thus find the strength to face their own struggle. This branch of literature needs to exist so that gay teens are able to see themselves, realize that they are okay, that there’s nothing wrong with them, that other people are experiencing this same thing. It is also important for heterosexuals, so they can see that being gay isn’t so completely off the norm.
Maybe. Some of the narrators acting choices just felt a little off for me. Yes, this was the audiobook I’ve enjoyed the most so far, but I have to mention this. Some of the voices she used for the secondary characters were just so weird. It really annoyed me. The story was enjoyable enough that I could get past it though.
Some things hurt. There were some tough parts in this book, some bad things that happened with our main character that really made me physically hurt and rage. I consider this a good point in favor of the book, because it was capable of making me feel strong emotions.
I related to the main character so much. Holland is going through more than just coming out and accepting that she is a lesbian. The way she feels about planning for her future, the pressure from her mum and her teachers, her opinion on other people’s behaviors - I really related to that. When I was a teen, I completely had some of the reactions that she has to things, and even now as I face some difficult “planning for the future” times this struggle resonated with me. I don’t always have to identify with a character to enjoy them or a book, but what I’m trying to say is that Holland felt especially real to me because of all that.
Not so good things:
Insta love. Yes, the romance is sweet, but I just couldn’t help but feel it was rushed. Holland and Cece have literally just met, and they go from being weird acquaintances to friends, but not really friends to “oh, my god you are completely the love of my life” in a spam of what feels like days. I might be wrong with the timeline, because I’m not sure how much time has actually passed from when they met to when they get together, but to me it felt rushed. Sometimes they would gush about how much they loved each other and I would roll my eyes. I just feel like their relationship could have taken more time to develop, that’s all.
Who is Cece? I don’t feel like we really got to truly know aspects of her life other than being a lesbian and dealing and being proud. I wished we could have seen more about her - which also would have helped with the rushed aspect of the romance. I understand why the author made these choices though. This book wasn’t about the romance, it was about coming out and discovering yourself. Cede and the romantic aspects worked as a vehicle for this story to work.
To Sum Up:
I really liked this book, I was entertained all the way through and I enjoyed and related to the main character. It was an important book to read, it had a strong message and it made me feel things. It wasn’t an all time favorite or a perfect book, but it was really well worth the read.
The story itself is a pretty good one. It's not stellar or complicated and the characters aren't totally developed but it is a good LGBT young adult book (and with the absence of any descriptive sex scenes beyond kissing and some suggestive hand placements, it isn't necessarily a "mature young adult" novel) and there aren't tons of really good ones available, especially with a lesbian protagonist.
The story got a little narrow at times--like the setting and side stories that the author had spent lots of time in early chapters developing suddenly disappeared and it felt a bit out of place almost. I kept wondering about the things that were created early in the book but there were little to no mentions of them.
The story of realizing one's sexuality and then coming out read as having moments of true authenticity and moments of, "well, that probably wouldn't have happened" or "wouldn't someone notice this and asked or done something?". The emotions were often on the mark and the potential for total disaster was all too true, but other aspects were just felt a little off.
I really wished the book had been a bit longer and had a bit more meat. Some better character development for the supporting cast, maybe a little more into potential teacher relationship (it bugged me that a student like Holland could suddenly have grades plummet without at least one teacher checking in... and a few other strange moments that just didn't seem plausible) and even a little bit more to the ending. Although I have hankering for some resolution, this is not a book that has me desperate for finding out more or wanting a sequel or sad that the story is over.
It was good, but not so amazing that I'm hooked to the story or the characters (though this may be in part due to the narration that I struggled to deal with). In the immediate aftermath, I am curious, but I suspect that by tomorrow I will have moved on. But, that isn't to say the book isn't worth the read... it tells an important story and is better than some on this topic.
I'd probably recommend the book over the audio book, but that's just me.
I really struggled with handling the narrator's voices that she used. I nearly quit listening a few times because of how she read the story but I was invested enough in the story (and my local library didn't have the book copy that I could just go and read) that I wanted to know what happened.
You don't really hear it on the audio sample, but she voices one of the characters with this obnoxiously annoying nasely voice, there is valley-girl twang in there at times, and the male voices were over-exaggerated and just pleasant to me.
I'm sure to some people it was lovely, for me the voices really detracted from the book and it gave me a really hard time.
For the story, yes, absolutely. It was a pretty quick listen (finished in a few days because I got invested in the story and wanted to know what would happen).
For the narration, no! It felt like forever until I could finally stop listening (i finished in a few days because I wanted to be done listening to the narration asap).
Ugh. The voiceover artist has a fantastic voice. I love it. But during parts of dialogue, she begins using these very over-acted, almost bumbling voices for the other characters. This performance made it difficult for me to finish. Even the love interest's "voice" is so annoying, I couldn't get into the relationship. Reading the book was superior because these silly voices did not exist in my head (praise the Lordt).
The annoying voices she used during dialogue. She was speaking in such a way that it seems like she is making fun of the person talking (teachers, mom, Cece, Seth, friends, etc.)... which, in my opinion, changes the author's intent.
Graphic designer and University professor. I love comics and to be always learning something new!
too outdated and lost so much time on the beginning...
the narrator did a decent job
has no ending whatsoever... too naif for me
Story was good, it touched on the real life issues of coming out in high school, and the pain that accompanies it.
The romance was weak, no passion or build up, then once the girls kissed, let went from attraction straight to love.
So it was a poor romance story, but a great story about the issues with finding out your gay..... in high school
It's a nice book, and based on all the good reviews, I decided to give it a go.
I'm a bit disappointed though. I feel like there is something missing - that 'it' which makes the entire story.
Kudos to the narrator for having a pleasant voice :)
I would like to think I've read my share of coming of out stories, but this one was a real home run. Holland's story, and most especially the chapter when her mother learns her about her orientation were tear-jerking intense. This book was a true eye opener, it has changed my whole perception and approach about this topic overnight. I'm really, really glad I found it. To start listening to a story with a set of expectations and ideas, and six hours later end up with a completely different set of ideas, that's what writing is all about. Bravo.
I put a four stars performance for the sole reason that Levin's interpretation of Holland's mother was a bit underpowered. Especially during that scene at the house which left me in tears (you know which one). Should have Levin practiced or perhaps intoned differently that character it would have made a world of difference. Nonetheless, its a minor complain which doesn't undermines the experience.
Excellent book, great listening, couldn't recommend it more.
"teen story about comming out"
its a well written, easy story about coming out and the difficulties with parents, school, and meeting a gf. Its based at high school. More of a teen novel then adult I kinda felt that it could have been longer there was a lot of things which could have been developed more around which would have added to the novel. But its a nice read and easy listen.
"I was crying. Beautiful"
Beautiful story about love, confusion, knowing and not knowing. This happens. I was in tears with the argument with Holland's mother.
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