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Guarding Secrets

Locked Out
Series: Locked Out Series, Book 3
Length: 1 hr and 32 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

Everyone has secrets in high school. But no one has a secret quite like Camila Hernandez's. 

For as long as Camila can remember, her mother has been in prison. And Camila has tried to make sure no one finds out. She avoids all friendships. She keeps to herself. Because if people get too close to her, they might find out the truth. And once they know, they will see her only as a criminal's daughter. 

Sure, some of Camila's classmates also have parents doing time. But her mother isn't any ordinary criminal. Her mother is on death row.

©2015 Patrick Jones (P)2018 Lerner Digital ™

Critic Reviews

"Jones tackles the challenges of children with incarcerated parents in his high/low series Locked Out. Camila's mother is on death row for murdering a police officer. The 17-year-old, who has lived in a series of relatives' homes, keeps her mother a secret. No one knows who she is in her current school until a boy from middle school moves to her area, recognizes her, and threatens to expose her. She doesn't know what to do; should she share her secrets and risk losing everything or give in to the extortionist? Happily for Camila, she chooses to trust herself and some others and finds that she has every right to feel safe and happy. While some elements of the plot are formulaic, Jones offers an unusual and appealing story, especially in his protagonist. Camila is a sympathetic character, and her transformation is convincing. The content is appropriately presented for readers as young as junior high, but it can also sustain the interest of high/low high-school readers." (Booklist)

"Jones's new urban lit series, Locked Out, focuses on teens whose parents' crimes and incarceration have sent their children's lives into a downward spiral. Guarding Secrets, set in Anaheim, California, focuses on high school junior Camila Hernandez, who has spent the past ten years bouncing among relatives and trying to keep her family secret from classmates - her mother, once involved in a Latino gang, is on death row for the fatal shooting of a police officer. Appeals have been abandoned, the execution date is set, and Camila is torn between the fear that she may have inherited her mother's propensity to crime and the impulse to find her way toward forgiveness before the opportunity is gone forever. The slight page count isn't robust enough to fully support additional problems and themes, ranging from adoring her model citizen boyfriend, dodging the blackmailing attempts of a gang-banger classmate, shoplifting a new dress for her mother's funeral, and seeking guidance from a parish priest.... [C]onstructed with plenty of dialogue, controlled vocabulary, and a chronological trajectory that allows less skilled readers to concentrate on content rather than structure. The riveting plots, however, will have appeal well beyond the reluctant reader set." (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books)

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