She certainly can’t trust Rostov, the cruel KGB operative running the psychic program. Or handsome Sergei who encourages her to cooperate with the KGB. Or brooding Valentin who tells her to rebel against them. And not the CIA, who have a psychic so powerful he can erase a person’s mind with his own thoughts. Yulia quickly learns she must rely on her own wits and power to survive in this world where no SEKRET can stay hidden for long.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I love historical books and Sekret by Lindsay Smith was one of those books that I put on my to read list because I thought it sounded super interesting – I mean, “Espionage thriller with a dash of both history and dystopia.” Sounds fantastic and right up my alley! It was really good and Smith does a wonderful job of creating the make believe but also integrating the history of how the Soviet Union was during the 1960’s.
Yulia is able to read people through touch and for the last few years, Yulia, her mother, and her younger brother have been hiding from the government. See, Yulia’s father and mother used to work for the Communist Party as researchers and when they ran, the government began searching for them. By using other teenagers who have similar abilities, the KGB finds Yulia and her family and all of a sudden she is pulled into a world that is filled with secrets and danger.
The KGB has a psychic program that, as I mentioned, includes other teens like Yulia. It also happens to be run by a man named Rostov who doesn’t really care who he takes down or hurts as long as he gets what he wants. He uses Yulia’s family to coerce her to work with him and gain power. He also has a power that is referred to as “scrubbing” which means he can erase pieces of people’s memories. Because of this, he is very dangerous.
While diving into her life with this group of teens, Yulia has a hard time figuring out who to trust. She already knows from her interaction at the market with Misha and Masha that she can never trust them but she also meets Sergei, Valentin, Ivan, and Larissa. She has to figure out who she can rely on to help her escape her current situation and those that will turn on her. There are some missteps along the way but eventually she does find someone that she can trust and ultimately will come to rely on for more than just an escape plan.
I really enjoyed how Smith combined the historical aspect of this story with the paranormal. She gives the reader just enough history about Communist Russia while mixing in this idea that the government would use psychics to help them get what they needed to beat America in the space program as well as protect their own information. I don’t want to give away any of the story as there is quite a bit of mystery here and as a reader, you have to figure things out alongside Yulia. There are some unexpected twists that add to the overall story and made it something that I had a hard time putting down. Definitely check this one out when you can – I know I will be waiting for the next book to see what happens next!