I Have No Secrets brings a diverse new voice to the YA genre

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United By Pop received a free copy of ‘I Have No Secrets’ in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are our own.

Title: I Have No Secrets

Author: Penny Joelson

Purchase: Available in the UK and the US

Overall rating: 4/5

Great for: Fans of Leah Thomas, Sara Barnard and R.J. Palacio



Themes: Yyoung adult, coming-of-age, contemporary, thriller

Reading the most gripping release of 2017 release in the most aesthetically pleasing tea shop I have ever had the pleasure of discovering! . . I Have No Secrets is a contemporary thriller told from the perspective of a witness to a murder. The problem? Jemma ia a teen suffering from severe cerebral palsy. Despite not being able to voice her discovery, the reader is given an insight into the sharply witty, inquisitive and intelligent brain that she is unable to share with those closest to her. Equal parts thrilling as poignant, and a fantastically diverse read that is not to be missed! . . #bibliophile #bookstagram #bookstagramfeature #bookishfeatures #igbooks #igreads #instabook #instareads #bookdragon #booknerd #booknerdigan #bookworm #bookgeek #bookgram #booklove #booklover #booklion #booklife #bookish #currentlyreading #currentread #amreading #bookpic #bookporn #bookphoto #bookphotography #booksbooksbooks #ireadya #bookandtea #ihavenosecrets

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Review: How do you catch a killer when you can’t move and you have no voice?

This is the reality faced by fourteen-year-old Jemma who suffers from severe cerebral palsy. She is unable to move by herself, she is unable to feed and clothe herself and she is unable to communicate for herself.

Jemma relies on the help of her carer and family for her very existence, but the tables may soon be turned when a local murderer makes himself, and his heinous crimes, known to the defenceless girl, and she is the only one who can stop him.

I appreciated that ‘I Have No Secrets’ was told from Jemma’s perspective. Rather than overlooking her, as many others unwittingly do in Jemma’s life, Joelson gave a voice to the voiceless and allowed Jemma’s thoughts to narrate this troubling and thrilling tale. And the book truly shone for it.

Jemma is witty and intelligent. She might not have the power to voice her observations to those closest to her, but the reader becomes privy to her quick insightful mind and her honest appraisal of those in her surroundings. She gathers and collects subtle nuances in body language and tone of voice to provide a deeper understanding of the other characters, and this skill proves ultimately useful to both herself and the reader in gaining knowledge on who to trust and who to fear.

Reading from more diverse perspectives has become something I have been continually challenging myself to do in 2017, which was why this book initially interested me so much. Its unique narrator gave an alternative perspective to both the thriller detailed and a wider understanding of those dealing with Jemma’s predicament in reality.

Many individuals and not just those of a villainous nature, overlook Jemma due to her mute state. They speak their darkest secrets aloud in her presence and forget the guard they normally present the world with when they are alone with her. This dually allows her a deeper understanding of human nature and shines a light on the way we approach those with a disability that differs them from ourselves.

This book does not admonish those who act in this way, but it does make their segragatory actions known to the reader in the hopes, I believe, of affecting real-world change. This book does so much to illuminate some of the stigmas regarding the treatment of, and towards, marginalised characters living with any form of disability.

‘I Have No Secrets’ defines the page-turning thriller, which is only heightened through the unique perspective we view it from. Equal parts thrilling as poignant, and a fantastically diverse read that is not to be missed!

Fab book launch at Waterstones Tottenham Court Road!

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