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SECRET KEEPER by Mitali Perkins

SECRET KEEPER

By Mitali Perkins

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Jan. 13th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-385-73340-3
Publisher: Delacorte

Asha would rather be burning bras, studying psychology and playing tennis like Chris Evert (she’s that good). Instead, the 16-year-old, her older sister and her mother are leaving Delhi and heading to her uncle’s house in Calcutta, where they will stay while her engineer father searches for work in New York. Only Asha’s diary, S.K. (Secret Keeper) 1974, and Jay, a young painter next door, know her true feelings when an unexpected tragedy strikes, leaving her at the mercy of a strapped uncle, her mother’s depression and rigid gender expectations. Perkins weaves descriptions of Indian food, clothing, government and customs into Asha’s quest for freedom. Although some references are forced, together they help explain the teen’s startling choices and the price she and her family must pay for a better life in this achingly realistic story. An author’s note adds more details about the time and the changes (e.g., women in the workplace) that have occurred in India since then. Asha’s struggles will enlighten and inspire young women, and encourage them to value their own freedom. (glossary, map) (Fiction. YA)