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Secret Keeper

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3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  442 Ratings  ·  125 Reviews
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 fo ...more
ebook, 240 pages
Published January 13th 2009 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (first published December 24th 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,159)
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Kirby
Mar 10, 2009 Kirby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 understoo ...more
Arminzerella
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Janessa
Jan 03, 2010 Janessa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
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 India ...more
Alicia
Oct 05, 2009 Alicia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Deanna
Aug 04, 2009 Deanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Anne Broyles
Jul 23, 2009 Anne Broyles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Sandra
Jan 07, 2010 Sandra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

Fina
...more
Ally Irwin
Apr 26, 2015 Ally Irwin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Madison Walden
Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins is a story of a young girl named Asha and her families move from India to America because the father lost his job. When times get tough, Asha’s only escape is to write out her feelings in her diary while the boy next door, Jay, watches her and gives her attention. Asha has many decisions to make throughout the book that change her life. The book provides cultural details about the Indian culture in the 70’s and what society was like being a girl. You get to watch ...more
Cynnea Schreibman
Apr 23, 2015 Cynnea Schreibman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Ba
...more
Leesa Savage
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 r ...more
Lauren Richards
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 re ...more
David Korsak
This book is about two sisters who live in India and they are different in every way possible. The sister called Reet is beautiful, feminine, curvy, sweet and patient (everything that was expected from a teenage girl in 1974 India).The other sister called Asha is everything a girl is not supposed to be in that time and place – a skinny tomboy, athletic, argumentative, and competitive. The lives of these girls’ changes drastically when their father is fired from his job and can’t find any work in ...more
Sara Shelton
The book “Secret Keeper” by Mitali Perkins is about two sisters named Reet and Asha who face many challenges while living with their uncle in Calcutta when their father leaves for America to find a steady job. This story shows the relationships between the two sisters who are anything but similar to one another and helping their depressed mother. Other very important events that we see throughout the story are the unacceptable friendship Asha has with the boy next door and keeping her sister fro ...more
Keani Meier
In the mid 1970s a engineer father lost his job and leaves India to find work in America, The rest of the family (Reet-17, Asha-16 and Ma) move in to their uncles house with holds more traditional Indian value and feminist ideals. Within weeks Reet was attracting a lot of men, having the uncle looking for marriage proposal. Asha who made a promise to her father to keep the family safe found anyway she could to break the proposal even if that is that means embarrassing the entire family. Asha hop ...more
Loryn
Asha, her mother, and older sister Reet are experiencing huge changes in their lives. Asha's father has lost his job and has gone to New York to try and find work. While he is away, Asha and her family move from their hometown of Delhi to Calcutta to live with her Baba's brother. Life has been changing for Asha for quite a while now; moving, becoming a woman and everything that comes along with that.

Struggling with wanting to live a life she wants, and living up to the expectations of her famil
...more
Kaity
Apr 29, 2015 Kaity rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins
Secret Keeper is the story of a young girl named Asha, her life, and the struggle she goes through. Her life in India is going very well until her father loses his job and is forced to go to America so in turn Asha her mother and sister are forced to move as well. Asha writes about how much she misses India and the hard times her family is going through in her journal alone or so she thinks alone but she soon find out that a boy has been watching her all along as she writer in her diary. Then R
...more
Sarah Erikson
Feb 18, 2014 Sarah Erikson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One book I definitely enjoyed reading this trimester was Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins. I thought is was a little slow in the beginning and I actually didn't want to finish it the book, but I'm glad I read it in the end. This story is all about family struggles, social status, and love, but also helps to raise awareness about girls rights and arranged marriages. When she was younger child, one of the main characters, Asha Gupta, was able to pursue her own interests, but in a more traditional I ...more
Princess
Jun 26, 2014 Princess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i would have rated this amazing if ash had gotten HER happy ending. the ending of this novel was disappointing due to the fact that the author chose to ruin the romance between jay and ash, by pairing off reet with jay. Before i got to the end, i was hoping that after some years , jay would come back from america and finally take ash with him , while in america reet found someone of her own. all the time that jay and reet were married , they only saw each other as frieds and made a deal that the ...more
Heather
May 14, 2009 Heather rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teenfiction
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.
Sharon Jones
Jul 15, 2015 Sharon Jones rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a really eye awakening book, at least for me. I read it in 5 hours as I could not put it down. It is about a family in India whose father has to go to the States to find work during the 70's, a time of upheaval in India. His wife and two daughters go to live with his brother's family and the challenges begin there. It is a story about a family's devotion to one another and what one is willing to do in the name of love for their family. It also delves into the structure of Indian family l ...more
Megan Green
Apr 27, 2015 Megan Green rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: t-and-l-307
Secret Keeper is the story of a young girl named Asha. She lives a happy life with her family in India until her father looses his job, and is forced to go to America in order to find a job to provide for his family. Asha her mother and sister are forced to move to Calcutta. Asha’s on release is her diary, also known as her secret keeper. She thinks she is alone when she writes in her diary, but she soon finds a boy always watches her when she is writing in her diary. Soon things go from bad to ...more
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
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.
Randy
Sep 20, 2014 Randy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful story of family, sacrifice, and hope. Ms. Perkins came to our Book Club meeting and gave a fascinating talk about how the story developed and some hard choices she had to make about her characters.

In the novel, two girls wait with their mother for word that their father is ready to bring them to the U.S. In the meantime, they've moved in with relatives in Calcutta--a temporary stay that grows longer and longer. The three women chafe under the rule of the grandmother, aunt, and uncle
...more
Maggie Desmond-O'Brien
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 he ...more
Raina
You think you know what to expect, and then you don't at all. I love how Asha's enlightenment is so realistic - there are traditional reasons for her feminism. I loved that it was set in such a rich time period and place, and the historical and geographical element is so fabulous and yet definitely did not overpower the story. I was totally shocked by the twist, and I loved the rich and realistic relationships. Perkins even fits in a realistic portrayal of depression before it was recognized! Th ...more
John Parker
Apr 16, 2009 John Parker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 th ...more
Rachel
Dec 24, 2011 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 be ...more
Amitha
This is a lovely book about a tomboy named Asha growing up in 1970s India. While Asha's father is traveling to the US to find a job, Asha, her mother, and older sister go to live with her father's very traditional relatives in Calcutta. Asha feels stifled by their old-fashioned view of propriety; all she wants to do is go outside and play cricket.

The story is an interesting and realistic glimpse into the lives of a normal Bengali family of this time period. At times, though, I wondered whether
...more
Maja711
It was a great book!!
Asha and her family went through a lot together. Asha, the main character, decided that most of the problems or conflicts were her responsibility to fix!
She worked hard and lied, and even cut of her hair in order to fix her familys problems. She gave up the person she loved, and asked him to marry her older sister, which must have hurt her so bad!!
I think that Asha cared too much about other people and not enough about herself. She would literally give up anything for one
...more
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Mitali Perkins was born in Kolkata, India, and immigrated to the States when she was seven years old. She's written several books for young readers, including BAMBOO PEOPLE, RICKSHAW GIRL, MONSOON SUMMER, and SECRET KEEPER. She is also the editor of an anthology: OPEN MIC: RIFFS BETWEEN CULTURES IN TEN VOICES. Mitali maintains a website (mitaliperkins.com) and blog (mitaliblog.com) where she chats ...more
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