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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Review: The Art of Secrets by James Klise

The Art of Secrets by James Klise.

The Art of Secrets by James Klise

Algonquin Young Readers
Publication Date: April 2014
List Price: $17.95
ISBN-13: 9781616201951

Review: James Klise's novel, The Art of Secrets, involves the main character, Saba Kahn, an ordinary sophomore in high school. James Klise summarizes his book with, "A fire destroysÉ A treasure appearsÉ A crime unfoldsÉ" Saba Kahn's life turns upside down when her apartment is burned to pieces in a mysterious hate crime. Suddenly, she's the most well known person ever. That's where the crime unfolds, although it is hidden. Everything changes from that point.

Saba Kahn experiences some big changes in her life, some better than others. The Kahn family comes home one day from a nice day at a local park only to find that their apartment building was burned into a huge pile of soot. Most people believe it was a hate crime. Saba suddenly becomes one of the most popular sophomores in school. She is dating the hottest senior ever, her teachers finally notice her, and her tennis team is more triumphant than they have ever been. During this time, she has to battle her protecting father. Her closest friend, Kendra Spoon, and her brother discover a Henry Darger piece of artwork in a dirty alley while wandering the streets of Chicago. This painting is worth an immeasurable amount of money. Unfortunately, about 4 days before setting up the decorations for the event, the priceless painting is stolen and the detectives find no trace of anything or anyone. In this story, everyone's guilty until proven innocent, but who is guilty and who is innocent?

James Klise's writing style was expressive and intriguing, making me feel like my hands were glued to the suspense in the storyline. In the beginning of the book, I thought it was very suspenseful and exhilarating yet grounded. I think this book would be meant for an older age group (preferably the high school crowd) because of some of the mature content that might be inappropriate for younger kids. Most of the mature content involved cursing and profanity. I believe the author was mainly trying to express the characters' feelings, but it did make me feel slightly uncomfortable. As I headed towards the middle of the story, it was fast-paced and riveting. The author managed to fit in the development of each of the characters indirectly. I think that the way Klise formatted the book, where each chapter is one person's perspective of the crime, prevented me from losing interest. I thought that learning about each character's perspective would help me to connect the clues at the end of the novel. I also thought that I would find out who was proven guilty. When I reached the last 40 pages, I couldn't put it down. I kept reading, though I found myself very disappointed that all of the hints and clues that were given did not connect at all. Some people might enjoy cliffhangers, but I like a solid ending where everything is resolved. I learned to not trust everyone you know and regrettably, no one gets everything they want, nor will you always you figure everything out the first time. To conclude, at the beginning of the book, I was clueless; unfortunately, at the end, I was still clueless!

Review written by Anneliese (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Algonquin Young Readers for providing a copy of The Art of Secrets for this review.

Have you read The Art of Secrets? How would you rate it?

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