Thursday, January 14, 2010

Queen of Secrets Review

Queen of Secrets by Jenny Meyerhoff
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Girroux
Release date: June 22, 2010
Source: Around the World Tours

Fifteen-year-old Essie Green cannot believe her luck when Austin King asks her out. He is the captain of the football team and the hottest guy at Pershing High School. Unfortunately, as their relationship heats up, so does a rivalry between Austin’s best friend Harrison and Essie’s estranged cousin Micah, an observant Jew. Essie is forced to decide where her loyalties lie. With a family member she barely knows, or the boy she’s beginning to love?


Queen of Secrets was an original, yet cliché read. Essie was a girl who wanted to be popular and date the most popular guy in school, Austin. I liked Essie but at times I felt she was taking things to an extreme and not really thinking them over. Micah, her cousin, was very religious and thus a lot of kids made fun of him, including Essie’s cheerleading and football team friends. I really wish Essie would have stood up for Micah more, it made me feel like she had so many different sides- the nice to Micah outside of school side and the mean to Micah in school side. She was constantly flip-flopping on her opinion of Micah and her family in general. I liked Essie’s family and although the characters were a little cliché, they had their own twists. I really liked Essie’s friends (not the cheerleading ones), but I think they got kind of lost in the shuffle, after the beginning I didn’t really hear much about them. In general the novel focused on Essie, Micah, and Austin, which is okay. Austin was not the typical jock-popular type guy you so often find in teen novels, which was a pleasant surprise and I was glad things worked out in the end.

Essie learned a lot about herself and Micah by the end of the novel and finally found herself. Meyerhoff dealt with religion in a unique and interesting way and I learned a lot of Judaism I’d never known or understood before. No one at my school wears a kippa so it was sad, but intriguing, to hear how Essie’s classmates reacted to Micah. Religion is a difficult topic to write about all in itself and Meyerhoff added a spin to it that really kept the novel moving. There were quite a few twists in the plot and towards the end things really began picking up, especially the jocks opinions of Micah, they started taking their dislike of him to extremes.

Overall, I think this was a well orchestrated and intriguing debut, and Meyerhoff added a twist to the un-original tale of the unpopular girl dating the popular jock. I would recommend reading this, if only from your library, because it explains religion well and shows how important it is to judge from the inside not the out.

Overall: 3.5 out of 5 stars


  1. You know, as much as I liked Essie, I felt like it took her FOREVER to realize that she needed to stand up for Micah. And Austin...what a sweetie! The jocks at my old high school were NEVER that nice, lol! Great review ;)

  2. While this doesn't really sound like my type of book, if I see it at my library I'll have to check it out. I always think that the topic of religion in YA stories is really interesting.

  3. Hmm, your review has me curious about this one now! I wasn't too sure when I read the synopsis, but your review makes it sound pretty good :)

  4. Well this one certainly sounds like it teaches you something and I definitely like that in a book. I like books to open my mind and I really know very little about any religion as my family never followed one. Great review that has got me thinking!


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