SEKRET by Lindsay Smith

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An empty mind is a safe mind.

Yulia has a gift: with just a touch she can see the history of an object or a person. It’s this gift that a secret branch of the KGB hopes to use to their advantage in 1963 USSR.

The country is in the midst of the Space Race and convinced that the Americans have spies within the Russian program. Yulia and her fellow comrades – other teens who share similar abilities – are tasked with various tests and ops to advance the country’s efforts. But Yulia has no desire to help the KGB, especially considering she’s basically a hostage with her mother and brother being used as bait to keep her in the program. The temptation to escape is overwhelming but the punishment linked to such an attempt may not be worth it.

Sekret is a fabulous debut. Smith incorporates real history into the tale, including the Space Race, the Kennedy assassination, and bits about Russia’s move into Communism (and the results). And of course there’s the psychic spy aspect as well. (I especially appreciated the author’s note in the end outlining much of the factual basis for the book.)

The characters and setting are built wonderfully and the paranormal aspects aren’t too overwhelming for readers who may not normally gravitate to that kind of subject.

Sekret is an intense and quick read with great cross over appeal for adults.

5/14 Becky Lejeune

SEKRET by Lindsay Smith. Roaring Brook Press (April 1, 2014). ISBN 978-1596438927. 352p.

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