By: Susan Meissner
Published by: Waterbrook
358 Pages

Back Cover: When the storybook-perfect Janvier family temporarily "adopts" their teenaged niece, Tally, they assume they'll be helping her. But when Tally befriends her cousin, Chase, she soon realizes that he badly needs encouragement, too. When the troubled teens interview two holocaust survivors for a sociology project, will they trigger the healing process that everybody needs?

REVIEW: Secrets! When is it ok to keep a secret? This is what Amanda; Tally’s aunt says about them, “My grandmother had her secrets. My father had his. You have yours. And I… What do they really accomplish anyway? I mean, think about it. What secret did anyone any good? Can you think of one?”

Tally does think of a good secret. Josef and Eliasz told of their secret operation to save babies from the horrific conditions of the ghetto. It had to be kept a secret so that lives could be saved. Tally knew that her Aunt was hinting around that she should tell her the reason her father was off on a sudden trip to Europe. Her father has asked her not to tell and she wasn’t sure why but she wanted to keep the secret.

Tally’s father Bart is a drifter. Tally has lived more places than she could count. Bart left her at her grandmother’s house so that he could head to Warsaw to uncover a family secret. He would come for Tally after he found what he was looking for. But something neither of them planned on happened at her grandmother’s house.

After that unfortunate event Tally goes to temporally stay with Aunt Amanda and Uncle Neil, with their two children Chase and Delcey. Tally observes this two parented family. This is the first time for her to stay with them. Delcey isn’t crazy about sharing her room or having anything to do with her. Chase is in the same grade and they team up to do a project for school. Chase included his best friend in the mix as well. The three of them head out to learn about the Holocaust and its survivors. Chase just so happens to know two men in a nursing home they can talk to.

When Josef and Eliasz start sharing their story something is stirred in Chase and he can’t shake it. He starts to have nightmares and soon realizes that what he’s haunted by in his sleep is real. He searches for the missing pieces of his families past that will help him uncover some family secrets that have to be exposed. He could not be tortured by them anymore.

Susan once again pens a remarkable story I hadn’t expected. Her characters are believable, and talk about things you only think of, but don’t say. I truly liked how she discussed the horrific subject matter of the Holocaust, the survivors and the matter of family secrets. Which do you keep and which ones need telling no matter how painful you might think it will be to expose them. This is one very compelling story, of fighting for what is right, loving till it hurts and developing relationships that are loving and matter. I received a review copy of this book and I’m very glad I did.

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Nora St.Laurent
ACFW Book Club Coordinator


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