I wanted to read this book, because 1, I am a big fan of Brigid Kemmerer and her ELEMENTAL series and 2, it is not everyday that a popular YA series not only has an lgbt character, but also gives them their own novel. And since I have always liked Nick Merrick, I consider him to be a popular character and it makes his story a big deal for me. I wanted to support the author and publisher for throwing a wrench in where we thought this series was going and giving us a gay love story in a paranormal world.
Nick Merrick always does what’s expected. He excels in school, spends his free time working for the family company and does his best to make sure everyone is OK. But, Nick has a secret. He isn’t really a player like his twin brother Gabriel. In fact, Nick isn’t even into girls. No, Nick’s taste is a slightly older dance instructor named Adam who kissed him a few weeks earlier and turned his life upside down. Unfortunately, Nick is supposed to be straight and he is supposed to be dating Adam’s dance partner Quinn.
And so begins the story of SECRET. This is a very different book from earlier installments of the ELEMENTAL series. There’s less fighting for their lives, although that’s in there. And there’s less family squabbling, although that’s in there too. It’s just a lot more about internal enemies. The ones within us and pain. Boy is there pain. This book reminded me what it’s like to be a teenager. How uncertain and filled with turmoil being in your teens can be.
SECRET focuses on just that, secrets. Nick has one and it’s a doozy, but Quinn has one too and it’s equally as important. Her family is a mess. As in, Quinn hides in the woods dancing, waiting for her mom to pass out and her druggy brother to go away. It’s tough and scary and difficult, it’s also a burden she carries alone. Quinn has a couple of run ins with a Merrick enemy from past installments who has a pretty explosive secret of his own.
This is an intense book. It’s about the struggles that many teens have. With their identities, with their families, etc. What do you do when who you truly are goes against the person your family expects you to be? What do you do when the people who are supposed to protect you are the very people you need protection from? Heavy stuff and really real despite the powers and the constant conflict between the pure elementals and those weaker than them.
I really enjoyed this book. As in stayed up until 4 am reading, because I couldn’t look away until it was done. It’s packed with emotion, romance, self discovery, action and family dynamics that are usually missing in YA books. At its heart this series is about brotherhood and when Nick feels he cannot tell his brothers who he really is and what he wants your heart breaks.
Literally, I am sure I heard a cracking in my chest as I read this book!
There’s a moment, a moment where Nick opens his mouth and reveals his secret and I cried. Right there, in my bed, hot tears. And I realized that I cried, because I was carrying his secret with him. I’d been holding it all in, his emotions, his fear, his anger and his heartbreak, all there in my chest, for Nick. So, when he finally let it out, shared his secret, I cried. I was relieved, I was happy, and I was proud.
Of a character in a book. That is how you know that a writer has managed to get you invested.
I highly recommend Secret for fans of the elemental series, anyone looking for a good lgbt book and fans of paranormal YA.