Tuesday, 23 October 2018

5* BOOK REVIEW | 'I Have No Secrets' by Penny Joelson

Hey guys, and happy Tuesday! Today I am so excited to be reviewing a fantastic book I read recently: I Have No Secrets by Penny Joelson. I was sent this book aaaagggeeesss ago but somehow it got misplaced with moving from a new uni house to back home to London, and then when I was sorting out books to bring to Oxford with me, I discovered it and had the realisation why haven't I read this before? This sounds brilliant!

I featured Penny Joelson on my blog a while ago, with a brilliant guest post where me and Penny shared secrets about our childhood and early writing! Check that post out here

I Have No Secrets follows fourteen-year-old Jemma, who lives with her foster parents and foster siblings Finn and Olivia. Jemma has cerebal palsy, but she doesn't let that hold her back from enjoying everyday things; she loves watching quiz shows, reading books and listening to her favourite band, Glowlight. Then a boy Jemma used to know is murdered. And Jemma finds out who did it. But how can she make sure justice is done when she has no voice?

I was kindly sent I Have No Secrets by Nina Douglas on behalf of Electric Monkey in exchange for an honest review :)

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

Jemma knows who did the murder. She knows because he told her. And she can't tell anyone.

Fourteen-year-old Jemma has severe cerebral palsy. Unable to communicate or move, she relies on her family and carer for everything. She has a sharp brain and inquisitive nature, and knows all sorts of things about everyone. But when she is confronted with this terrible secret, she is utterly powerless to do anything. Though that might be about to change... 

This book was unlike any that I've read before. I have never read a book when the protagonist has no voice, but has so much to say. It was so interesting to hear Jemma's thought process and how she navigated life. I think her character was developed so well and I loved her relationship with Finn, her carer, Sarah, and also another character I can't mention for *spoiler reasons*. I think that Joelson gave Jemma so much agency, which I was so pleased about, and I think this book could go a long way towards changing people's perceptions about those who live with conditions such as cerebal palsy. 

When I first started reading I had no idea where the story was going to go, and it did feel a lot like being on a rollercoaster, with lots of twists and turns I was not expecting. As soon as I got halfway through the book I just could not put it down until the end, which did not disappoint. Joelson's writing is just so sharp and she is a fantastic storyteller. It's very rare to find a YA book that is just so equally strong in terms of plot, characters and the writing. If you're stuck in the middle of a reading slump, or need a book to keep you company these long autumn nights, then I Have No Secrets is definitely the book you need!

Check out Penny Joelson here: http://www.pennyjoelson.co.uk

Until next time :)

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