I Have No Secrets

Sourcebooks/Fire. Nov. 2019. 304p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781492693369.
Gr 7 Up–Jemma has cerebral palsy and can’t communicate, despite previous attempts with augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) technology. Otherwise, she is a typical teenager. She loves Agatha Christie novels, the popular band Glowlight, and gossiping with her aide Sarah about boys. Because she’s immobile and can’t speak, people consider her a confidante and tell her more than what they otherwise might indulge. Recently Ryan, a neighborhood boy, was murdered, and Sarah mysteriously never made it home from a Glowlight concert. Jemma, while overlooked by everyone for her lack of ability to communicate, may have the information needed to solve Ryan’s murder and Sarah’s disappearance, but no one ever questions her. Doctors and researchers are hopeful that a forthcoming technology may be that one that works, but will it be available in time? The time line of events feels too quick to be realistic. And while the story is predictable at the beginning, readers will find themselves caught up in the suspense by the end. Jemma is easy to empathize with—her anxiety and frustration is palpable as tension builds.
VERDICT The story feels stilted and simplistic at times, but Joelson offers a unique story line that some readers may enjoy. A secondary purchase for collections where murder mysteries circulate well.

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