Read Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins Online

secret-keeper

When Asha travels with her mother and sister from Delhi to her father’s ancestral home in Calcutta, it is supposed to be a temporary measure only; as soon as her father finds work in distant America, they will join him. In the meantime, there’s plenty to keep her busy: overcoming the stultifying conservatism of the extended family; becoming friends with her cousins; keepinWhen Asha travels with her mother and sister from Delhi to her father’s ancestral home in Calcutta, it is supposed to be a temporary measure only; as soon as her father finds work in distant America, they will join him. In the meantime, there’s plenty to keep her busy: overcoming the stultifying conservatism of the extended family; becoming friends with her cousins; keeping her mother’s depression at bay; teaching a lesson to the neighbourhood boys who don’t think girls are ‘good enough’; fending off her sister Reet’s unsuitable would-be suitors; and so on. Overwhelmed by the things happening around her, Asha escapes to her rooftop hideaway every day and pours her heart out into her diary, her secret keeper. It is here that she encounters Jay, her reclusive neighbour – a brilliant artist who makes her heart beat faster.But soon, disaster strikes, putting at risk Reet’s future. And it is up to Asha to save her family and escape their prison, even if it means courting heartbreak for herself......

Title : Secret Keeper
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9789350290477
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 232 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Secret Keeper Reviews

  • Kirby
    2019-04-06 01:16

    Mitali Perkins is a wonderful writer and evokes India through smells, tastes and sounds, as well as through vivid visual descriptions. And Asha's (the teenage Benali girl who is the main character) fight to be less constricted in the 1970's brought back memories of my own teenage years and challenges during that time. The family relationships are wonderfully drawn, but this ended up being a hard book for me to review. This is no fault of the author but the reader: I don't think I fully understood the cultural mores and values of this time period in India, which made it difficult to accept Asha's ultimate decision.

  • Janessa
    2019-04-01 03:20

    The Secret Keeper is the story of sixteen-year old Asha, an Indian girl on the cusp of adulthood, who must move to her uncle’s home with her mother and her sister when her father leaves Calcutta to find work in New York. Asha feels acutely the injustice imposed on her by the cultural traditions that rule life in her Uncle‘s home. As a child she was given the freedom to pursue her own interests, whether they were viewed as masculine or feminine. Now she must accept her role as a traditional Indian woman. Her resistance makes her something of a feminist role model, and challenges the reader to consider complicated, but important, questions. How does one find an individual voice in a life defined by tradition? When does tradition empower the individual? When does it inhibit? What kind of sacrifices does it require? Is it worth those sacrifices?For Asha, those questions come into focus when she meets a young man named Jay. His bedroom window is situated across from Asha’s roof top, where she often escapes to think and write in solitude. Jay is an artist, and at the beginning of their friendship, he tells Asha that he has an offer to go to New York to study and teach. Asha is excited for him, but he tells her that he doesn’t want to go. She cannot understand why he wouldn’t want to escape the strict pressure of Indian life, but for Jay, the traditions that Asha sees as inhibiting enrich his perspective and make him who he is, both as a person and as an artist.Things get complicated after that, and soon everyone Asha loves is forced to make major sacrifices, out of loyalty to each other, and in honor of their traditions. For Jay, that means leaving India for the job in New York. Will he continue to find inspiration in the life and traditions he is leaving behind, or does his departure show a turning away from tradition in favor of greater freedom for individual expression and choice?And what about Asha, who must abadon her own hopes of going to New York some day? We see Asha lose so much in this book – so much that she loves. But she manages to gain something that, maybe, is worth more than all that she says goodbye to — a measure of independence. A chance to pursue her dreams. All this she does while upholding the traditions that are so important to her mother and her father’s family.In our modern American society, where tradition tends to be valued only inasmuch as it empowers the individual, Perkins story offers a valuable perspective about loyalty, family, and sacrifice. And also courage and hope. It opens the door to another culture, and a window into the lives of those who have made great sacrifices in order to have the choices that we take for granted every day.

  • Arminzerella
    2019-04-18 19:29

    Asha and Reet have had to move in with their father’s family while he is looking for work in America. They aren’t happy about it, as they have to stay inside most of the time, and their grandmother and relatives aren’t very kind to them or their mother. When Reet acquires a persistent admirer, who goes so far as to make a marriage proposal, Asha does something drastic to humiliate him and force him to withdraw his suit. Her whole family is embarrassed and ashamed by her behavior (she dresses up as a boy and beats him in a tennis match), but it does allow Reet to express her true feelings about the marriage - that she is too young to marry. Soon after, however, they receive word that their father is dead, and the girls learn what “trapped” really feels like. Reet and her mother withdraw from the world as they grieve, and it’s up to Asha to find a way for them all to be happy. She has secretly made a friend of the young man next door, Jay, and they have fallen in love, but she asks him if he will marry her sister instead (the younger sister should never marry before the elder). This angers both Reet and Jay, but Jay agrees to it. His family is wealthy and can help support Asha and her mother, who have been invited to move back to Bangladesh to stay with Asha’s best friend’s family while Asha goes to university. The compromise allows them all to breathe a bit easier.I loved Asha’s spunky tomboy nature – she was irrepressible and bucked tradition whenever she could. It gave her a strength that the other women in her family seemed to lack. For those who are curious about other cultures and traditions, this has a wealth of information about the structure of Bengali families and society and the culture (especially as concerns the place and rights of girls/women/wives). I didn’t care as much for Asha’s diary entries (as secret keeper), or her mother’s character. I'm sort of torn, too, between accepting Asha's decision as the *best* under the circumstances. Jane Austen would have written it differently, but, then, she and Mitali Perkins are working with different cultural norms. I keep telling myself that Asha barely knew Jay - their meetings were brief, they never touched, they barely saw one another. Can a few words exchanged from a window and a rooftop be the basis for an enduring relationship? Maybe not. But I did want them to have their chance at happiness.

  • Alicia
    2019-04-03 20:11

    It wasn't one of my favorite Indian stories because I wasn't invested in Perkins' style of writing. Her characters fell flat and I wasn't left wanting to find out the secrets.

  • Megan Rogers
    2019-04-04 20:20

    Secret Keeper takes place in India between 1974 and 1975, a tumultuous time in the country's history. Sisters Asha and Reet and their mother move from Delhi to Calcutta to live with extended family while their father moves to NYC to look for an engineering job. Older sister Reet is everything a girl should be- beautiful, respectful, obedient. Asha is skinny, athletic and outspoken. While Reet has many admirers and hopeful suitors, Asha goes up to the roof for time alone to write in her diary and gets to know the odd neighbor boy. When the family gets news from America- it changes everything. I just adored this book. I love how it deals with gender stereotypes in the traditional culture and how Asha is affected by the expectations put on her. All of the relationships in this story are so well written in my opinion, they felt real- imperfect, difficult at times, easy at other times. The heart of this story is the relationship between the sisters. Their love is something amazing to behold. I think my only complaint is that the ending feels a little sudden and unbelievable. I can't really say more without spoiling but I guess you could say certain things seemed a little convenient. It didn't bother me or ruin the story for me at all though.

  • Louisa
    2019-03-24 01:20

    I read this book in one sitting. Well, technically two sittings, but only because it had gotten too dark outside to keep reading and I needed to turn on a light.It's short and the pacing is quick, but it sure does hammer home strong emotions. I lost track a bit of how time was passing -- sometimes it seemed like the narrative hopped ahead by weeks and sometimes by hours -- but overall a solid read that left me with a bit to think about. At first I was annoyed by how quickly Jay and Asha apparently developed feelings for each other despite the book showing very little in terms of their actual conversations, and then I was incredibly frustrated by everything about the last 30 or so pages...so make of that what you will. I'm a walking contradiction or something.

  • Deanna
    2019-04-13 00:16

    Historical fiction 1970s, relationships between sisters and daughters/mothers, identity, marriage, Indian culture, friendship.This is one of the best books I have read this year. I didn't want the book to end. This book reminded me of Keeping Corner that came out a couple of years ago.Once Asha (who is 16) becomes a woman she must stop playing tennis and cricket, grow her hair out and wear sari's. This is difficult for her because her parents have treated her like a boy and then in one day they expect her to let go of her freedom. At this same time her father is unable to find a job in India and moves to the USA in hopes of finding an engineering position. Asha, Reet (sister), and mother go to stay with their uncle until father can send for them. Uncle's family isn't that welcoming to this threesome. Asha uses writing to help her survive. Her solace is the rooftop where she pours her heart out in her journal. She also reads-aloud to her 2 neices and tells them many stories to pass the time. On page 55 there is a wonderful paragraph where she talks about books, "She'd already demolished the few books she'd brought along. They were dead, at least for a while. Certain stories could come back to life on the second, third, and even tenth reading if you gave them enough time between encounters...."Asha dreams of becoming a psychologist so that she can become a "mender of the mind" and help people release their secrets so that they can be free. While at their uncle's house, Reet and Asha learn many of their mom's secrets that she has been holding for years. Asha also has a secret--she begins a friendship with the boy next door. Everyone should read this book. You will not be able to put it down. There are many new secrets revealed and story lines that you don't expect.

  • Ann
    2019-04-06 01:24

    Perkins gives another beautifully-written book with characters readers care about. The rich details of place and culture underscore the deep emotions Asha, Reet and their mother feel at dislocation and grief. I loved the images of depression as "The Jailer"and a psychologist as "a mender of minds."I did not find the ending to be satisfying, but given the theme of fairy tales and how Asha emphasizes that real life doesn't have a happy ending, I think this author choice was true to the story, the time and the possible choices for these young women's lives. I'm ready for a sequel to show how each sister's life changed and how she might have been able to carve out her own identity despite difficult choices. How about a book with alternating chapters in each sister's voice, from their respective countries?

  • Flowery Books
    2019-03-26 00:27

    Mitali Perkins’s “Secret Keeper” is one of the deepest narratives I have ever read!  This tale is set in India, about a girl named Asha Gupta, her older sister, Shona, and their hard-working mother.  As the three travel to Calcutta to stay with relatives, her father searches for a job in America.  In the middle of the story, terrible news returns to the family and relatives about their beloved father.  Perkin’s includes the struggles and decisions one girl must face in order to make herself and her sister happy.  I found myself rereading this book multiple times because of its beautiful, descriptive storyline and values of individuality, loyalty and resilience. I highly recommend this book and only wish it had a sequel.

  • Sandra
    2019-04-03 19:30

    Asha and her mother and sister move in with their father's brother and family while Baba is away in America forging a life before he sends for them. A classic coming of age story in a not so classic setting of India in the 1970's. Asha is not only a girl growing up to adult hood, but she is also an India girl growing up under strict cultural mores and tradition.Told in a lyrical slow-paced fashion, Perkins is able to impart lessons of sacrifice and survival without getting tedious or boring.Finally, a multi-cultural young adult novel.

  • Heather
    2019-04-21 19:13

    A beautiful story of family, love between sisters and of promises kept. The only reason I didn't give it four stars was because it reminded me so much of the book "Climbing the Stairs" that I sometimes felt I had read it before.

  • Brigid ✩ Cool Ninja Sharpshooter ✩
    2019-04-21 21:39

    I liked it! :) It was sad, and I thought it could have had a tighter ending. But it was a compelling story with a great protagonist. It was good.

  • Nicole (Reading Books With Coffee)
    2019-04-08 20:31

    I've wanted to read this book for a while, and after reading You Bring The Distant Near last year, I finally decided to read Secret Keeper.  I didn't like it as much as I thought I would, and I didn't like it as much as You Bring The Distant Near.  I did feel for Asha and Reet, and I can't begin to imagine what it's like to have a marriage arranged for you, or to know that your decisions are not your own to make.  Asha has her own path, and while it differed from the traditional path her family wanted her to take, she knew what she wanted.  It's very different than the path that her sister took.I found it hard to wrap my mind around the fact that their uncle could make decisions- such as their future spouse- for them since their father was trying to find a job in the U.S.  It's a very different life than the one I know, and it's not bad.  It's just very different and hard for me to picture.  I did like Asha, and how much she wanted to help people.  Wanting to be a psychologist really opened doors for her, and it really seemed like a way for her to take care of her mom and her sister, especially after her dad died.  I also liked that she considered her diaries from her father her secret keeper, but I didn't particularly care for actually reading the diary entries.  I also liked how Reet wanted to take care of her mother and sister as well, and how getting married allowed her to help them.  It's strange how one event can change everything, and how we all need to make sacrifices.My Rating: 2 stars.  Even though there were things I liked about Secret Keeper, it was just okay for me.  I had a hard time getting into it, and I wish I liked it more than I actually did.

  • Celia
    2019-04-19 02:32

    It's funny, but when you use reading as a form of procrastination, you're usually expecting it to be easy enough to put down, and definitely not a page turner (or at least I am, because I know I should be studying--just two finals left and then I'm a high school junior, guys!). Anyway, life is funny that way, because it's almost never true.As was the case with this novel. It was so incredibly good, and it kept you guessing until the last second. There were ups and downs, and some parts brought intense feelings, but this book was very needed, and I couldn't have thought of a better way to spend my time (except, you know, studying, but books! There is immense character development through all the characters, and even more so as friendships between the teenagers in the story. Definitely putting this on my "reread" shelf.

  • Rania T
    2019-03-24 00:33

    Set in the mid-1970's during the initial pangs of Indira Gandhi's Emergency, this bittersweet novel of cloistered Calcuttan life is an easy read, and one does wonder whether the younger sister in the novel Asha, gets her happy ending.

  • Kelly Barry
    2019-04-04 00:12

    4 stars. I'm really surprised on how it ended! It's a bit of a bummer read, but a good one at that

  • Erin
    2019-03-27 21:23

    3.5 stars

  • Emily
    2019-04-02 19:33

    i want all my kids to read this book

  • Ainsley Marr
    2019-04-20 21:21

    The ending was super sad, but this book is amazing!!! The first few pages are a bit confusing, but keep reading: it's totally worth it!!

  • Shalini
    2019-04-20 21:15

    The Secret Remains - A nicely written and captivating drama...

  • Maggie Desmond-O'Brien
    2019-04-10 02:10

    I really hate it when people tell me a book is going to break my heart. Not that I'm not guilty of saying it, but it seems like so much weight to put on a little ARC (or paperback, or even hardcover) of a book. It stops me from making real connections to the characters, because all readers may be self-flagellants, but nobody really wants to punish themselves. (If you do, I've got a job rec for you in the kitchens of Hogwarts. A good house elf is so hard to find.) So as many good things as I'd heard about this book, even after Mitali Perkins was kind enough to send me a copy after I'd said I wanted to read it, I was still just the tiniest bit apprehensive to turn the first page.I shouldn't have been. While the beginning was not at all what I expected, Asha's powerful voice grabbed me right away, and Mitali Perkins made a country and culture that seems to have exploded in popularity post-Slumdog Millionaire an exciting and fresh backdrop for the novel. I adore reading about India. I usually end up sitting on the kitchen counter with my very battered copies of Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier, or The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni; trying to read and stir my favorite lentil curry recipe at the same time. It always feels voyeuristic, though, almost exploitative; because I know that that's not anywhere near my life and, unless I win the lottery and can hop on a plane tomorrow, probably never will be. Secret Keeper, however, avoids the Mumbai slums and "American-Born-Confused-Desi" identity crises, focusing instead on making the vibrant and tumultuous world of Calcutta in the '70s relevant to a primarily American audience today.And, to my surprise, the ending really was heartbreaking. As I've mentioned before, I can usually read YA and even "literary" foreshadowing...well, like a book. There are few surprises, and too few books that I can really say have grabbed me, roughed me up a bit, and made my tear ducts run. This book is one of them. I won't spoil it, but the ending is very surprising, and not at all the run-of-the-mill heartbreaker you might be expecting. This is one of those books that I want to recommend to absolutely everybody I meet, and of course, to the rest of the book blogosphere!The reason it dazzles is not only the setting, but the characters. There wasn't a single one that I didn't identify with on some level, and none more so than Asha and Jay. Their romance-but-not-quite-a-romance was one of my favorite parts of the book - What can I say? Sometimes I'm a sucker too, believe it or not - and Asha's fierce love of her family even when she's frustrated with them is a feeling I'm sure every teen can identify with, even though their circumstances will probably be far from Asha's. The monster-in-laws idea is never overdone, as I had very much feared it would be, and every character has believable motives for doing what they do. It's beautiful, sometimes messy, and very real, just like life. In short, if you'd like to write YA fiction, take a leaf out of Mitali Perkins's book! (Or perhaps it would be better to just take the whole thing?)In short, I loved it. So, to all of you bloggers and authors out there who recommended this book, I'm sorry I still had that tiniest seed of doubt in my mind. It's gone now!

  • Shivani
    2019-04-21 02:31

    Set in the 1970’s, The Secret Keeper revolves around Asha Gupta tough life she lives at her father’s ancestral Bengali home which shows discrimination towards women. Even at the young age of sixteen, she has a dozen problematic issues eating away at her daily.When her father loses his job in Delhi, he moves to New York in search of better opportunities. But he leaves his wife Sumitra and his two daughters back in India to live in his ancestral home until he finds a good job in America. This is a decision that doesn’t go down well with either of them. Asha’s mother falls into a heavy cloud of depression when she is away from her husband, and it is up to her two daughters Asha and Reet to deal with her. And their extended family members’ orthodox ideas and injustice towards Sumitra and her daughters only make things harder for them.Amidst all the troubles that Asha is being bogged down by, she vents out her frustration by writing in a diary. As it holds her most intimate thoughts and varied emotions, she calls it the Secret Keeper. To get some privacy away from the hustle-bustle around her in the house, Asha goes up to the terrace daily and writes in her diary. Here she meets Jay, a lonely young man who takes an unusual interest in her, and with time she realizes that she reciprocates his feelings.Asha risks her family’s wrath by playing sports like cricket and tennis with boys – and crushing the belief that girls shouldn’t tread into the competitive world of sports by beating each and every one of them. Simultaneously, she also deals with unwanted attention that the house garners with young men staring through windows in order to catch a glimpse at her beautiful sister Reet. She also brainstorms plots to fend off unsuitable proposals for her sister. But through this all, she has to face her family’s distaste for the fact that she is dark and thus not beautiful, which is the harsh reality in some part of the Indian society.As Asha waits for her father to call her, Reet and her mother to New York, they receive terrible news that shatters their lives. Their already bad life becomes worse, with the three of them drowned in gloom. Asha decides it is up to her to save her mother and sister from the harsh turn of events. It is during this period that she learns the significance of sacrifice and that it is only if you truly love someone will you able to make a tremendous one.Will Asha’s life ever get back to the ‘happily ever after’ that she had often written in her Secret Keeper about?

  • Leesa Savage
    2019-04-17 23:14

    Secret Keeper is a story about two sisters that could not be more different. Reet is the pretty, curvy, and sweet sister, and Asha is the complete opposite. She is a rough tomboy, very athletic and likes to argue with everyone. With these two different sister work perfectly well together somehow. Their dad ends up losing his job and can't find work as an engineer in India. Baba ( the father) makes the dreadful move to America and their lies change forever. The girls and mom end up staying with relatives in a cramped living quarters. Now Asha the tomboy was not allowed to play her sports or even take a walk by herself. Reet is getting all the attention that she wants from the boys. Mom becomes depressed and the girls call her the Jailor. Asha refuge is a flat roof where she can disappear for hours with her diary, the secret keeper. She notices she is not alone, the boy next door watches her when she is up there. The two of them become friends which is unacceptably in the family eyes. Asha has her hands full through the book with the new friendship that is escalating to something more, helping her mother with her depression, and trying to keep her sister for being married off to some stranger by her aunt and uncle. Asha checks the mail often in hopes to get that one post card saying her dad found a job in America and he will be sending for them. Matial Perkins does a wonderful job with her descriptions of sounds, smells and visual descriptions for the scenes. She gives great detail when talking about the mothers depression snd how she was dealing and not dealing with it. I could feel the pain that the girls felt when their dad lost his job and they had to move to a small area with many people. I could relate to this book with the crazy life style and the closeness living with one another. Perkins offers a valuable perspective about family, the sacrifices, and the loyalty it takes to stay strong and survive a horrible situation. India has different culture values than here in America and I think Perkins could have elaborated more on the cultural in India. This book was written well and had it sad moments and its happy moments. In the class room this book would be good for a non- fiction lesson on India. Perkins, M. (2009). Secret keeper. New York: Delacorte Press.

  • Lauren Richards
    2019-03-25 23:27

    Secret Keeper is a story about two sister that could not be more different. Reet is the pretty, curvy, and sweet sister, and Asha is the complete opposite. She is a rough tomboy, very athletic and likes to argue with everyone. With these two different sister work perfectly well together somehow. Their dad ends up losing his job and can't find work as an engineer in India. Baba ( the father) makes the dreadful move to America and their lies change forever. The girls and mom end up staying with relatives in a cramped living quarters. Now Asha the tomboy was not allowed to play her sports or even take a walk by herself. Reet is getting all the attention that she wants from the boys. Mom becomes depressed and the girls call her the Jailor. Asha refuge is a flat roof where she can disappear for hours with her diary, the secret keeper. She notices she is not alone, the boy next door watches her when she is up there. The two of them become friends which is unacceptably in the family eyes. Asha has her hands full through the book with the new friendship that is escalating to something more, helping her mother with her depression, and trying to keep her sister for being married off to some stranger by her aunt and uncle. Asha checks the mail often in hopes to get that one post card saying her dad found a job in America and he will be sending for them. Matial Perkins does a wonderful job with her descriptions of sounds, smells and visual descriptions for the scenes. She gives great detail when talking about the mothers depression snd how she was dealing and not dealing with it. I could feel the pain that the girls felt when their dad lost his job and they had to move to a small area with many people. I could relate to this book with the crazy life style and the closeness living with one another. Perkins offers a valuable perspective about family, the sacrifices, and the loyalty it takes to stay strong and survive a horrible situation. India has different culture values than here in America and I think Perkins could have elaborated more on the cultural in India. This book was written well and had it sad moments and its happy moments. This book can be used to discuss different cultures in a classroom. Perkins, M. (2009). Secret keeper. New York: Delacorte Press.

  • T.V and Book Addict
    2019-03-26 19:30

    One of my favorite books! Loved it!I am in love with this book. I would make out with it if it were a person. Seriously. I love it that much even though it broke my heart then stomped on it! hehe It really did do that though. I still loved it, I can't help myself. I love sad stories, I love great stories, I love really well-written stories and this book was just that. :)You will find yourself liking Asha and feeling extremely sad for the situation she and her family are in. You will also be all giggly on the inside for her because of her relationship with Jay. I wish there was more development on that but I understand there couldn't be. Asha is not allowed to be talking to boys, especially a stranger who lives next door. What will people think?! If she were found out, she would be forbidden from ever speaking to Jay again so of course she doesn't want that.I adored reading all about Asha and her strong self. She is living in 1974 India and things are really tough, especially for women since it's a male dominated society. Women in her day have no say and there's just no way they can do and act like males. That's completely frowned upon and so are many things in Asha's nature. As I read this book I learned quite a lot about Indian society and culture. I didn't know like certain words (there's a glossary on the back of the book that is very dandy) and how bad some women had it in 1974 India. I had also learned a lot about India from Vikas Swarup's Q&A so it was very interesting to read another Indian book. I just love reading about all kinds of cultures and this book did not disappoint. :DI highly recommend you guys read this book, you will love it. Be prepared to be broken hearted, in a good way, if that makes sense. ;)Quote/s:Someone talking to Asha:"You don't have to. Your feet are beautiful..."But why were her cheeks so hot? Was it because this was the first time anybody had used the word "beautiful" when talking about her?About a certain event:It's like a fairy tale without a happy ending for any of the characters, she thought as she read "Cinderella" to her cousins.Across the table, Ma's expression flickered and then faded, reminding Asha of how the small television screen at Kavita's house sometimes lost reception.

  • Janani
    2019-04-06 03:18

    Do not, please do not, think that life for girls in India goes as is portrayed in this book.Edit: 17/3/17I reread this book, which I bought for my 17th birthday at 22. I came back from college in Calcutta, which is coincidentally the city in which the story takes place. I wanted to see if I could relate to the story better, having spent 9 months in Calcutta. It didn't help.And I take back what I wrote in 2013. While we have moved on from the blatant oppression of women portrayed in the books, a year of liberal arts education in graduate school has taught me - not everyone is as fortunate as I am, and some Indian girls are still living under the yoke of patriarchy. So, to the book. Asha Gupta, a fiercely independent, intelligent and sporty girl moves from Delhi to Calcutta along with her quiet, beautiful older sister, Reet, and their traditional appearance obsessed mother. Their dad is moving to America in search of a job so the women of the house are sent to live with his mother, older brother and his wife, and their son and two daughters. Asha's family has very little say in Calcutta but she carves a space for herself in the house and pours her thoughts into the titular Secret Keeper, her diary. Or maybe she is the Secret Keeper - she starts to fall in love with her neighbour Jay, or Reet for hiding the relationship. Maybe it's her cousin Raj who lets her play her favourite sports. There are many ways the title can be understood. At the heart of the story is a strong feminist overtone. The storyline itself is full of twists, and my heart grieved and cheered for Asha as she so strongly played games and plotted and dealt with her hostile extended family like a girl. A brilliant girl, who did the best with the cards life dealt her - and that's all I ask for in a good story. I didn't feel that Calcutta added much to the story - it could be set in any state with the requisite jingoism. In fact, a few of the obvious references to Bengali superiority made me balk, but I suppose it is a reflection of the time, one that sadly rings true even today, for the different cultures of India. Overall, a good job by Mitali Perkins. I am raising my rating to four stars.

  • Della
    2019-04-11 21:18

    Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins. Wow, just wow this one makes you think, and be appreciative for what we have here in the United States. The language is beautiful and the story is heartbreaking. The Secret Keeper is about a family in India around 1970. The father of the family loses his job and goes to America to try to find another one, leaving behind his wife and two daughters. The younger of the two, Asha is a very strong willed girl. While their father is in America, Asha her sister Reet, and their mother go to live with their paternal grandmother, uncle and their family.Immediately when they get to the house Asha is told she is too skinny, unattractive, boy like, too dark skinned, and so on; Great for self-esteem right? This family is very traditional, the sisters can not leave the house without an escort, they may never be seen talking to boys, they may not play sports, they have to keep themselves covered at all times, and the worst thing is that they are no longer allowed to go to school because they can't afford it. Asha has a very hard time coping. She has always written in a journal and now it seems like her only respite from her overbearing family. She calls her journal her secret keeper, and secrets it does keep!Reet receives a proposal for marriage and Asha is shocked to hear her that her Uncle is considering marrying her off! She comes up with a scheme to fix the problem but I'll make you read the book to find out what it is. Just when Asha thinks things can't get worse a telegram comes and unfortunately it's bad news. Asha's father has died in an accident. Now the three of them are alone with no way to make their own money and dependent on people who seem backwards and overbearing to Asha. Lots more goes on in this great book, including a forbidden romance, sneaking out of the house and an arranged marriage. I whole-heartedly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in women's studies, a great story, a historical novel, a coming of age book, and well Anyone!

  • Rachel
    2019-03-24 03:24

    I usually don't give plot summaries but I am including this one after my review because it gives a good idea about what the storyline is about and will hopefully hook you into reading this wonderful book. Perkins writes about India in the 1970's with all the political and societal complexities that comes with it. Her depection of India is lovely, the smells, the atmosphere, etc. translates very well into written words. This is a heartbreaking story, but it really does capture the essenence of being a female is this part of the world and how relationships are really universal. Ultimately, it is a story of hope set in a very unique country and unique culture. Worth the read!When her father loses his job and leaves India to look for work in America, Asha Gupta, her older sister, Reet, and their mother must wait with Baba’s brother and his family, as well as their grandmother, in Calcutta. Uncle is welcoming, but in a country steeped in tradition, the three women must abide by his decisions. Asha knows this is temporary—just until Baba sends for them. But with scant savings and time passing, the tension builds: Ma, prone to spells of sadness, finds it hard to submit to her mother- and sister-in-law; Reet’s beauty attracts unwanted marriage proposals; and Asha's promise to take care of Ma and Reet leads to impulsive behavior. What follows is a firestorm of rebuke—and secrets revealed! Asha’s only solace is her rooftop hideaway, where she pours her heart out in her diary, and where she begins a clandestine friendship with Jay Sen, the boy next door. Asha can hardly believe that she, and not Reet, is the object of Jay’s attention. Then news arrives about Baba . . . and Asha must make a choice that will change their lives forever

  • Cynnea Schreibman
    2019-04-12 21:24

    Secret Keeper: Perkins, M. (2009). Secret keeper. New York: Delacorte Press.Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins is a beautifully written love story. This book tells a story of a family from India trying to make it once their father losses his job. He then leaves to America in search of a new job and leaves his wife and daughters to live with their uncle. Baba’s brother is welcoming but he follows tradition and the women need to follow his rules. They think this is just a temporary lifestyle until Baba returns and until then they are waiting for him to send them money. The mother Ma is very sad, Reet the daughter attracts many marriage proposals due to her beauty, and Asha the youngest daughter try’s to take care of her Ma and sister, which leads to some bad behavior. Asha’s dad dies in New York one day going to work and then the family has to fend for themselves and live under their uncle. Asha loves to go on the roof and write in her journal because it is the best way to escape everything that is going on. Whenever she is on her roof she feels someone staring at her and it happens to be her neighbor Jay. She can’t believe that she has Jay’s attention and it is not on Reet. Jay has been sketching a picture of Asha the whole time and then gets it sent the photo off to a gallery in Delhi. At the end of the book Asha and her mom move back and live with Asha’s best friend Kavita. When they make it there she goes to the guest room and there are two packages, one from her sister Reet and then the beautiful painting from Jay. The painting had Asha in a moss-green dress and the girl had power, and strength that was obvious in the line of her jaw. The picture at the bottom was engraved saying “The Secret” and Asha would keep it forever.

  • John Parker
    2019-03-28 01:29

    The Secret Keeper is a nice introductory piece for those wanting to explore the mysteries of the land that lies between the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. The form of the story is not foreign, but some of the conflicts that arise might not be so familiar to all readers. The idea of the next living male relative taking responsibility for the family is not totally unfamiliar. The basic story could be lifted out of this setting and put into another culture. The results could be the same, but the journey would take a few different turns. The ability for a story to be able to cross cultural boundaries says a lot about the basic ideas behind the writing. Mitali Perkins is able to make makes that happen.One element that always hangs in the balance with books set in another culture is the decision to include or omit various concepts, traditions, and vocabulary. Their use adds color and brings a sense of authenticity that is often unachievable by any other means. What does not work well is to depend solely on a glossary or appendix to provide such details. Perkins uses both, but only as an additional resource at the end of the text. Although preferences vary, finding a way to embed this extra information in the text would have been sufficient. A decent story with some cultural information is what one should expect from this book. Creative teachers might develop the family issues and even find a way to share the book with an entire class. Other possible uses include an investigation into gender roles in sports and education.Add this book with confidence, but be prepared to talk it up among students to get them started.A Weak 4 out of 5John ParkerMedia CoordinatorAndrews High SchoolAndrews, NC 28901www.slamguy.wordpress.com