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Shakespeare's Secret

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  7,105 Ratings  ·  669 Reviews
A missing diamond, a mysterious neighbor, a link to Shakespeare-can Hero uncover the connections?

When Hero starts sixth grade at a new school, she's less concerned about the literary origins of her Shakespearean name than about the teasing she's sure to suffer because of it. So she has the same name as a girl in a book by a dusty old author. Hero is simply not interested i
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 1st 2005 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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Caitlyn Cusack I would not recommend this book because of the horrible ending.
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Jan 19, 2008 Nova rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shakespeare’s Secret’s main character is Hero Netherfield, a 6th grade girl who is trying to adjust to a new school. She is an outcast that contrasts greatly to her outgoing, pretty sister Beatrice. Both girls get their names from the Shakespearian play Much Ado About Nothing, which is a favorite of their Shakespearian scholar father. Hero is miserable because of the teasing of classmates, but the friendship of an elderly neighbor and a neighborhood boy who confides the details of a famous missi ...more
May 25, 2008 Jolie rated it really liked it
This was a fun and quick read that I was previewing as a possibility for Sarah to read. I think I've decided to let it wait another year or so--mostly because I just think she'll enjoy it more then. She's going into third grade next year, and the main characters are in sixth and eighth grades, so the context is just a little bit older for her.

Anyway, this is the story of Hero (named after the character in Much Ado about Nothing) and her family who move into a new town and a house with a mystery
Oct 19, 2013 Audrey rated it really liked it

I actually bought this book, and have read it cover to cover so, so many times. So, you can figure out that after I moved into my new house, I would want to reread this book again, right? Well, you are correct. But, always remember this. Moving does some things to your stuff. Bad things.

There was a freaking DEAD SPIDER flattened on one of the pages in the book! Dead! With its... stuff in its body all splattered out! Can you imagine my horror? My freaking horror? It scared the HECK
There was so many different aspects of this book that appeal to different people. If you like mysteries then there's that aspect of the book. If you like history, then there's the Shakespeare angle. If you like realistic fiction about middle school angst, then there's that angle too. My only criticism of the book is that sometime Broach used her description to excess and she also made it appear as if the mystery that was solved at the end of the story was historically accurate. Of course, that p ...more
Sep 21, 2007 Caroline rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened-to
I listened to this book while doing my tri-state pre-Christmas driving tour. That is to say, I listened to the whole thing while driving from Williamsburg to Leesburg, then to College Park, MD, then to Alexandria, then back to Richmond where I shuttled between my parents' house and Judson's parents' house. Lots of driving, lots of time to follow along with the mystery.

I liked the main character - something that rarely happens - and I liked the premise. This is a story about a lonely, slightly g
This book has such a great plot that it deserves 6 stars. Thanks Les for recommending it.
Jan 04, 2009 Drebbles rated it it was amazing
Named after a character in William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing”, Hero has been teased about her name her whole life and expects more of the same when she starts sixth grade at a new school in a new city. She does indeed get teased, but things aren’t quite as bad as she expected as she starts to make friends both young and old. Not only that but she finds herself in the middle of a mystery – there may be a diamond hidden somewhere in her house – a diamond that may hold the key to Shakes ...more
Hero's family has moved. Again. That means another new school where older sister Beatrice will fit right in while Hero will be, at best, ignored. It's bad enough that Hero has a funny name, thanks to her parents' interest in Shakespeare, but Hero doesn't have the personality to quickly make friends either. Things are different in this town though - Hero makes friends with her elderly next door neighbor (good), gets teased for having a dog's name (bad), catches the attention of the cutest boy in ...more
Abby Johnson
May 31, 2007 Abby Johnson rated it really liked it
Hero dreads starting at a new school again. She's never been popular like her sister Beatrice and she knows that the first day will be the worst. This first day is the worst she's ever had. When introduced to her new class, a girl in the class blurts out that her dog's name is Hero. Henceforth, Hero is known as the girl named after a dog. With no friends at school, Hero begins spending time with her neighbor Mrs. Roth who is telling her about the mystery of the large diamond that is suspected to ...more
Jan 18, 2008 Jackie rated it really liked it
Hero Netherfield, a sixth grader, has enrolled in yet another new school. At this school, just as other schools, all the kids tease her about her unusual name. Everyone, that is except Danny Cordova, the coolest boy in the eighth grade. Hero is also befriended by her next door neighbor, Mrs. Roth. Danny and Mrs. Roth are already great friends. Danny and Mrs. Roth tell Hero about the beautiful Murphy diamond, a 13 carat treasure that is supposedly hidden in Hero’s new house. The diamond may have ...more
Joanna.  (:
Feb 25, 2009 Joanna. (: rated it liked it
Recommends it for: ages 10-14, boys +girls.
Recommended to Joanna. (: by: MsThomas
This book is quite intresting. So far, this girls called Hero has moved house, yet again, and is setteling into a new school, but with a name like Hero - she was named after a person out of one of shakespear's plays because her dad has some job that involves Shakespears's plays - and a sister who is perfect in every single way, starting a new school isnt the easiest thing to do. She has just found out from an old lady that lives ner them that the house she lives in once was very famous because t ...more
Sep 03, 2007 Barb rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Shakespeare fans, mystery lovers
Shakespeare’s Secret
By Elise Broach
2007-2008 Mark Twain Award Nominee
September 3, 2007

Wow! I am not a Shakespeare fan, but thought I would try this book because others told me it was good. It is historical fiction. The facts about the famous people in the story are (as far as we can tell) true facts. Hmm, now I may need to read some Shakespeare.
Hero is a new girl in town, and has some tension about the first day of school. Hmm, it probably could have been worse, but not much. The story continu
Jun 23, 2008 Erica rated it liked it
This is a fun read about Hero Netherfield, a young girl saddled with an improbable name because her father is a Shakespeare scholar.
When Hero moves to a new town, she dreads starting a new school, and the constant ribbing she'll get about her name. Her worst fears are confirmed when a fellow student blurts out that she has a dog named Hero, and the torment at school begins.

Fortunately for Hero, she has a kindly next door neighbor who alerts her to a mystery she must solve -- a mystery involving
Aug 12, 2007 Bonnie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of ya mysteries and Shakespeare authorship stories
This was an okay book.
It's about a girl named Hero, named after a character from Much Ado About Nothing, who has moved to a new town again, and has to go through the ordeal of starting at a new school. Because of her name, she finds it hard to make friends and fit in. Sure enough, the same thing happens again, but this time she doesn't mind as much, because the old lady who lives next door tells her about a diamond that might be hidden in the house Hero is living in. Suddenly there is more adven
Eleven year old Hero Netherfield (named after a character in "Much Ado about Nothing") just moved into a house whose previous owner was involved in a possible insurance scam concerning a missing diamond with links to Anne Boleyn, Queen Elizabeth 1st, and William Shakespeare. Interesting twist on one of the mysteries of history. I really liked this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes Elizabethan fiction, Shakespeare, or mysteries. Some good guidelines for group discussions are include ...more
Eileen W
Nov 03, 2015 Eileen W rated it liked it
I read this book with my 10 year old son, taking turns. That, in and of itself, always makes the book more enjoyable for me. This book had an element of mystery, and the Shakespeare theme was a great one! We both learned something new about Shakespeare - always a plus. There was the hint of infidelity in the book, but my son didn't seem to pick up on it. Given that, I would suggest middle school or even older for this book.
Christian Wallace
Personal Reaction- I absolutely loved reading this book. I actually read it in a little over two hours and the time seemed to pass by very quickly because I was absorbed into the content. What I loved most about the book was the use of diverse and dynamic characters. They were anything but "flat" and it made the book much more enjoyable than it would have been otherwise. Also, the plot moved forward at a great pace and the mystery of the book kept me guessing all of the way until the very end.

Travis Kesinger
Apr 13, 2015 Travis Kesinger rated it really liked it
Personal Reaction: This book was extremely intriguing on a variety of levels. The basic plot itself was very engaging, but on top of that it stimulated a variety of great conversations within our group. The progression of Hero, the main character, throughout the book was extremely relatable to what many students experience throughout their school career. The challenges of school bullying, sibling dynamics, conflict with friends, among many other things were appealing to me. Hero and Danny are fa ...more
Jan 05, 2015 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s
Shakespeare's Secret is basically a book centered around a giant conspiracy theory about Shakespeare, so that’s pretty interesting to read about.

This is your average MG book: okay plot, okay characters, everything wrapped up all neatly with a happy ending, tiny mysteries that aren’t very complex but enough to get the characters where the author wants them to go, etc. The cover art is actually what intrigued me the most, and it’s actually cooler than the book itself, in my opinion. The cover art
Kristy Feltenberger
Nov 09, 2014 Kristy Feltenberger rated it really liked it
I'm a middle school counselor and we recently started a book club at our school. "Shakespeare's Secret" was our first read.

Hero and Beatrice Netherfield are named after the characters in Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing." Once again they've moved to a new town (not far from Washington D.C. where her father will work as an archivist). If Beatrice is day, then Hero is night. In fact, "Without meaning to, she wore a worried look much of the time. At the grocery store or the mall, complete stra
Sep 09, 2014 Val rated it really liked it
I picked up this book at a used book store and couldn’t resist. It’s a middle-grade mystery involving Shakespeare and 500-year-old British history. Some of it is factual. Other details were fabricated based on historical reality in order to construct the mystery.

The book follows a sixth grader named hero. Like her sister Beatrice, Hero has been named after a character in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. She is picked on for her name, but she also lacks the self-confidence to do anything abo
Mar 31, 2014 Leslie rated it it was amazing
This book is about a young girl who's had a hard time with her name , Nero Netherfields she finds an answer about who William Shakespeare really was and how that connects to her new mysterious house. Shakespeare's secret is such a great book and I recommend it to any middle school teens that enjoy a good mystery. When I first read it I couldn't put it down , I even stayed reading the book one night until 3:00am the next day. This book was assigned to me as an assignment but I was glad that I got ...more
Apr 13, 2016 Lizzie rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mr. Z
Jan 19, 2009 Mr. Z rated it liked it
One of 15 middle school Sunshine State books. A mystery story about a couple of teenagers trying to track down a family's lost jewel. An intriguing friendship develops and a mystery unravels. I thought there were some parts that were a little too slow but by the time I finished, I was glad that I read the story. Many girls in my classes have read the story and said they enjoyed it. I think it is more fitting for girls than boys.
Jul 22, 2015 Rich rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle-edition
Read this simultaneously with my 10-year-old. I thought of it as "Dan Brown for kids" in the sense that it takes some historical "mystery" and weaves a story around it. (Actually, if you've read Dan Brown's last couple books, Dan Brown has become "Dan Brown for kids" -- but that's another issue altogether...) Broach keeps the "mystery" element of the story interesting, often closing the chapter with a cliffhanger that makes the reader want to go on.

However, the stronger element of the story is i
Haley Hardwick
Personal Reaction: I personally loved this book! I enjoyed it due to the mystery that was involved as well as the theories and history that was incorporated into this story as well. The book keeps the reader intrigued through the whole story, which makes it difficult to put the book down.
Purpose/Classroom Use: I think this book would be great to use to introduce some history in regards to Henry the VII, Anne Boleyn, and Queen Elizabeth. Students could research these historical figures, and see
Madelyn Adams
Apr 14, 2015 Madelyn Adams rated it it was amazing
Personal Reaction:
I did not think I was going to like this book, but once I started reading it I could not stop. The author wrote the novel in a suspenseful way, and I had no idea there was going to be such a plot twist. I honestly think everyone can relate to this book in some way.

Shakespeare’s Secret is a perfect book for an independent reader in 6th grade. This novel can be connected to teaching about mysteries, conflict, or theme. There are many themes that students can relate with s
Shana Feltham
This book was one of my favorite books as a kid. It is a mix of mystery and fiction, with little pieces of historical facts sprinkled in. I remember this book as being a fun read, and an incredibly interesting topic. It is a story of a girl named Hero, after the main character in one of Shakespeare’s plays, who finds a mysterious diamond in her house which leads her on a journey to discover the facts behind Shakespeare true identity. I remember after reading this book that I was thoroughly intri ...more
Jul 08, 2016 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: kid-lit, read-in-2016
Shakespeare's Secret follows sixth-grade Hero who tries with each new school to just blend into rather than fit into the school and classroom culture. She discovers her house has a secret surrounding it because there just might be a five hundred year old diamond hidden somewhere in the house or yard. Hero teams up with eighth grader Danny to solve the mystery of the Murphy diamond and maybe even find proof to the identity of the real author behind the plays attributed to William Shakespeare.

Mar 02, 2012 Quinn rated it it was amazing
I loved this book!!! The mixture of history and the present day makes an interesting thing to read! Discovering who Shakespeare really is! With mysteries from not just the past but in present day!!!! There is mysteries all over!! It is a cool way of historical fiction!
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Did you like this? 6 30 Apr 13, 2015 02:43PM  
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Elise Broach is the New York Times bestselling author of children's books including Masterpiece, Shakespeare's Secret, Desert Crossing, Missing on Superstition Mountain (the first book in the Superstition Mountain Trilogy) as well as several picture books. Her books have been selected as ALA notable books, Junior Library Guild selections, a Publishers Weekly Best Children's Book, a New York Public ...more
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