By Lindsay Smith
Published on April 1st 2014
Published by Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan Children's
Source: ARC from publisher
An empty mind is a safe mind.

Yulia's father always taught her to hide her thoughts and control her emotions to survive the harsh realities of Soviet Russia. But when she's captured by the KGB and forced to work as a psychic spy with a mission to undermine the U.S. space program, she's thrust into a world of suspicion, deceit, and horrifying power. Yulia quickly realizes she can trust no one--not her KGB superiors or the other operatives vying for her attention--and must rely on her own wits and skills to survive in this world where no SEKRET can stay hidden for long.
I was excited for this book as soon as I first read the blurb from the publisher, because if there's anything I'm into, it is superpowers, spy stories, and Cold War era-Russia.  The fact that this book had all of those things made it a must-read for me.

Yulia is an interesting main character, a street-wise girl plucked away from the life she knows in order to basically become a weapon for the KGB. We follow her as she is put into a special program for other psychics and learns about how to use her powers, which she had always seen as somewhat of a coincidence before.  I felt like the setting and time period were written very well; it never felt like the characters were too modern or anything, which is something I see sometimes in historical fiction.  There's a whole crew of fellow psychics at the school, and Yulia doesn't get off to a very good start with any of them.  I loved to see her devotion to her family, and how determined Yulia was to get back to her life -- no matter how frustrating that was as a reader.  (Me for most of the book: But everyone is psychic! Stop thinking about escaping!!)

The book started and ended strongly, but I felt like the middle lagged a bit.  In some ways, I feel like parts of it lagged or felt disjointed because things had been cut out.  The romance and possible love triangle, though hinted at early on, seemed to come on abruptly, for example, and I couldn't help but wonder if there were some scenes that would develop that better that were cut.

Some of the plot twists were telegraphed a mile away, but there was at least one that caught me by surprise, which is always good, in my mind.  The ending is plenty open for the story to continue,   Sekret wasn't a perfect book but I will definitely be keeping an eye out for the inevitable sequel.

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