‘Jemma knows who did the murder. She knows because he told her. And she can’t tell anyone. Fourteen-year-old Jemma has severe cerebral palsy. Unable to communicate or move, she relies on her family and carer for everything. She has a sharp brain and inquisitive nature, and knows all sorts of things about everyone. But when she is confronted with this terrible secret, she is utterly powerless to do anything. Though that might be about to change…’
I Have No Secrets by Penny Joelson (Electric Monkey) is about the importance of having a voice. Jemma’s cerebral palsy means she can’t communicate but Joelson has written her character beautifully. The focus is on her thoughts, wishes and personality, making her a rounded character, rather than focusing on her cerebral palsy or using it as a plot device. She feels real and believable and we want her to succeed.
This is a fast-paced, easy to read book filled with fab supporting characters. Jemma’s foster family were particularly intriguing and I’d love to get to know them more. It was refreshing to see the foster parents – who were coping with children with autism and a wide-range of emotional and physical difficulties – show their flaws and their own emotional ups and downs. They were immensely believable and I applaud Joelson’s decision to not sugar coat and to show them making mistakes and struggling.
Although this is billed as a YA read, I would suggest it’s more suited to a younger teen audience.
You can get your copy here.
Source – review e-book kindly sent by publisher.