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Sekret (Sekret, #1)
From debut author Lindsay Smith comes an espionage thriller with a dash of both history and dystopia.

Yulia’s father always taught her that an empty mind is a safe mind. She has to hide her thoughts and control her emotions to survive in Communist Russia, especially because she seems to be able to read the minds of the people she touches. 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 where she can trust no one. 

She certainly can’t trust Rostov, the cruel KGB operative running the psychic program. Or handsome Sergei who encourages her to cooperate with the KGB. Or brooding Valentin who tells her to rebel against them. And not the CIA, who have a psychic so powerful he can erase a person’s mind with his own thoughts. Yulia quickly learns she must rely on her own wits and power to survive in this world where no SEKRET can stay hidden for long.

Lindsay  Smith
Author of the forthcoming YA historical thriller, SEKRET (Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan Children's, Winter 2014). I'm an ex-Oklahoman and an unapologetic Washingtonian. I'm a Russophile, analyst, nerd, devourer of books (and worlds), impractical shoe hoarder, and Sheltie mommy.

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My Review:

*I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

I absolutely loved this book- the intrigue, the twists, the characters, the plot, EVERYTHING. 
The main character, Yulia, a girl with the ability to see other people's memories, is everything a strong female protagonist should be. She's strong on the outside, and will do anything to protect her family. However, her family seems to be hiding a secret from her too... When she's captured and taken to a boarding school for other teens, or psychics like her, she is unwilling to cooperate at first. She dreams of escape, but feels oppressed with so many mind-readers around her; there's no place for thoughts of escaping. Now obviously, there's a bit of a love triangle, but nothing too bad. Yulia meets two very different boys: the warm and funny hockey player Sergei, and the mysterious piano player Valentin, AKA Valya. (I hate to admit this, but I had trouble discerning the gender of the characters through their names in the beginning- I'm obviously no Russian fanatic). However, as time passes, Yulia begins to trust one of them; but in a place surrounded by lies, she can't trust anyone. Betrayals come at her from all times throughout the book, but she stays strong. Although both Sergei and Valentin sometimes treat her like a helpless lamb, Yulia makes it clear that she doesn't need to be coddled. I personally loved this characteristic of Yulia- she will accept help, but she's strong enough to survive alone. The secondary characters were amazing too. Everyone had their own story- how they got there, their own backstory. I personally loved reading about Larissa and Ivan, they're such a cute couple! 

The plot simply amazed me. At first, I was a bit skeptical of the overused "teens with special powers" theme, but Smith pulled it off really well. Yulia is constantly surrounded by deceit, and it keeps the readers guessing- Who can she trust? Who's the real enemy? The twist about the scrubber surprised me- it was completely unexpected. Of course, the antagonists are perfectly evil and despicable, and just seeing their names mentioned on the page made me want to shoot them right then and there. Personally, I loved the Russian setting; and Smith's writing really pulled me into the time of Khrushchev- the suspicion and fear that constantly enveloped the people's daily lives. 

A little tidbit about the romance- THE FEELS! I loved Yulia and her love interest's (no spoilers!) little moments, they were all wonderful. I'm looking forward to seeing more developments on their relationship in the sequel, the first book had a lot going on so they didn't get too many scenes with each other. But every moment counted!

Only one thing bothered me- I felt that there should have been a bit more about the setting; how life was outside in the streets, ect. There was just so much going on that I felt that Smith didn't have enough room 
to fit in the smaller details. 

Overall, I absolutely loved this book, and I will definitely go out and buy it when it's released. April 1, you are on the top of my "must go visit local bookstore" list. Trust me, you will definitely want to read this.

"*I received a copy of this book for free to review, this in no way influenced my review, all opinions are 100% honest and my own."
Disclaimer: Thanks to Goodreads and Amazon for the book cover, about the book, and author information.
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