Friday, July 9, 2010
A loose retelling of the Book of Esther, there are plenty of secrets and deceptions in Meyerhoff's novel: Essie's grandparents don't talk about her parents at all (she grew up without even knowing what their professions were), and it is obvious once her extended family moves back to Michigan that something besides her parents' deaths tore her family apart, though no one will say what it is. Essie has her own fair share of secrets as she bites her lip at her new friends' mocking of Micah and his customs, and attempts to deceive everyone around her to become cool in their eyes. Throughout it all, she is confronted with her family's devotion to Judaism, and must attempt to find a medium between her grandfather's disgust with her heritage and her uncle's obsession with it. When it all culminates in a night that Essie bitterly regrets, she is tested to her limit, and the book wraps up rather hurriedly. Despite a quick ending though, Queen of Secrets is an interesting book about faith and loyalty, and what it means to grow up.
Cover Comments: I think this cover is rather bland, and it doesn't really depict a girl that is anything like Essie--who has curly hair and would never have a belly button piercing!
Review copy received from publisher.
One thing I really liked about this book (besides the fact that it talks a lot about my school and hometown) is that Essie is forced to deal with her own religion, a topic that is really absent in mainstream YA literature (the only book I can think of that focuses mainly on religion as a central plot line is Pure by Tera Elan McVoy, a book I love). I think this is interesting as a LOT more teens are religious than I think many author believe, yet still YA books hardly ever mention it.
What do you think--should religion be more relevant in YA lit? Would you be open to reading YA books that deal with that may conflict with your own beliefs? Would you find it interesting, or would it cause you to not pick up that book?
Let me know your thoughts!