Summer of Stolen Secrets

Viking. May 2021. 288p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593203644.
Gr 4-8–Catarina, who is white, always felt as though she missed out on getting to know half of her family because of her father’s estrangement from his mother. Cat’s father grew up Jewish, and when he decided to marry a Christian, he was no longer accepted in his family. Catarina has always wondered what her Safta (grandmother) is like, but she never had the opportunity to get to know her—until the summer following seventh grade, when she’s invited to Louisiana to stay with her aunt, uncle, and cousin Lexie, who live right across the street from Safta. Cat jumps at the chance for a three-week reprieve from having to attend summer camp with her two best pals, who have decided that they no longer want to be friends with her. Once in Louisiana, Cat gets to know her slightly older, rebellious cousin Lexie and meets Safta for the first time. Safta is far from the warm and friendly grandmotherly type; instead, she greets Cat with, “I must teach you about clothes. Your shorts ride too low and your top is the wrong color for you. It washes you out.” Safta owns an entire department store, where Cat begins working; she soon uncovers secrets about Safta’s Jewish past in Germany, which could change everything.
VERDICT An engaging realistic fiction novel about family trauma and healing that will have readers turning pages and wanting more. A solid purchase for libraries.

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