Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Sekret (Sekret, #1)” as Want to Read:
Sekret (Sekret, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


(Sekret #1)

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  2,068 ratings  ·  434 reviews
An empty mind is a safe mind.
Yulia knows she must hide her thoughts and control her emotions to survive in Communist Russia. But if she sometimes manipulates the black market traders by reading their thoughts when she touches their skin, so what? Anything to help her survive.

Russia's powerful spy agency, the KGB, is recruiting young people with mind-reading capabilities f
Hardcover, 341 pages
Published April 1st 2014 by Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan Children's
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund HodgeAlienated by Melissa LandersStolen Songbird by Danielle L. JensenThe Murder Complex by Lindsay CummingsSnow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
YA Debuts 2014
367 books — 1,504 voters
City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra ClareThe One by Kiera CassCress by Marissa MeyerIgnite Me by Tahereh MafiThe Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
YA Novels of 2014
1,544 books — 9,160 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,068 ratings  ·  434 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Sekret (Sekret, #1)
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
This is the story about a Yulia, a girl with psychic powers whose family is kidnapped and held hostage by the KGB in exchange for her participation in their a secret (Sekret?) program involving young psychic agents in the communist USSR (Russia, 1963). I really cannot tell you any more about the plot other than that, not because I do not want to spoil it, but because I can't remember anything about the book that is relevant regarding the missions. There's something about a spaceship launch, some ...more
Wendy Darling
I really liked the first third of this book, but strangely enough, after Yulia actually began going on missions (which is when things would typically start getting exciting), I somehow wasn't quite as engaged by what was going on.

I think this book would have been stronger with action sequences or espionage assignments that were choreographed in more detail, as well as if the characters were more complex. I also didn't really care one way or the next about the romance(s). Yes, (s.) I was pretty
Jan 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

Yulia has spent the past few years in hiding with her mom and brother. Formerly influential scientists for the Soviet Union, Yulia's parents were able to escape the party's control, though not without fracturing. Her father has been missing since they ran. Now Yulia and her remaining family members live a life of fugitives, always on the look out for the KGB or anyone willing (or desperate enough) to turn them in. So far Yulia's family has been successful at staying hidden, partially wi
Jenny (Reading Envy)
"We are an experiment... The second wave of what started under Stalin; young, untrained psychics... summoned forth to defeat the Nazi threat. But there is a component in the experiment that is eluding me...."

Yulia is forcably recruited into a youth psychic training facility for the KGB in the early 1960s, to aid in the efforts to beat the Americans in the Space Race. But it might also be for other reasons, and the most dangerous people are the other people with psychic powers surrounding her.

Lindsay Smith
Jul 02, 2013 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: i-wrote
Now with actual cover art!

Coming 04/15/2014!
”What do little children know of spy games, of the real power of the mind? They are too undisciplined. They are too free. Obedient minds, not rebellious teens, are needed to run the program, the Soviet Union.”

This book shows us not only why teenagers should never take part in government conspiracies, but quite possibly the real reason why the USSR crumbled to pieces (and that may not be an alternative fact).

Yulia Chernina is just your typical teenager living in Mother Russia. She lives with
Nov 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is damn near perfect. In the Cold War, the second generation of a secret sect of the KGB who have been bred to have psychic powers are in training to be the next wave of spies. Enter Yulia, the daughter of geneticists, who is being held against her will in this school of the New World Order.
Here's what really, really works: Smith sets the scene so well that this world comes to life in vibrant color. The fact that there are some people with psychic abilities doing spy work in this worl
Whitley Birks
Oct 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
For as much as I enjoyed various aspects of this novel, the whole thing simply…failed to come together for me. Which is a shame, because when broken down to its basic elements, I loved so much about this book. The premise is excellent; I love the idea of psychic KGB spies. I loved the idea of a Cold War USSR setting. I really loved the writing in this book; lyrical and smooth. I loved (most of) the characters and a lot of the details around their powers. But the plot that was supposed to tie all ...more
*I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

I absolutely loved this book- the intrigue, the twists, the characters, the plot, EVERYTHING.

The main character, Yulia, a girl with the ability to see other people's memories, is everything a strong female protagonist should be. She's strong on the outside, and will do anything to protect her family. However, her family seems to be hiding a secret from her too... When she's captured and taken to a boarding school for other teens
I'm sure this book is fantastic whether or not you're interested in Russian culture in history, but given that I am, and studied the language for three years, this was seriously EVERYTHING I could've asked for - crazy amounts of intrigue, suspense, history, beautiful setting descriptions, wonderful romance... I have to confess that I am not typically a fan of historical YA, but the second I finished SEKRET I literally yelled "More!" to my empty living room.

And now that I've exposed my insanity t
Sekret is full of intrigue, supernatural mind-reading, and even a little romance.


⇝Ratings Breakdown⇜

Plot: 4.5/5
Main Characters: 3.5/5
Secondary Characters: 3.5/5
The Feels: 3.8/5
Pacing: 3.8/5
Addictiveness: 3.5/5
Theme or Tone: 4.2/5
Flow (Writing Style): 3/5
Backdrop (World Building): 4/5
Book Cover: 5/5
Ending: 4/5 Cliffhanger: Yes.
Steam Factor 0-5: 1
Setting: Russia
Source: Kindle eBook (Library)

Total: 3.8/5 STARS - GRADE=B

⇝My Thoughts⇜

A completely different kind of read for me.
Jenny Boyce

This book is a really fantastic young-adult novel.

The plot in this book is absolutely fantastic. The action starts right at the beginning of the book and doesn't stop until the very end. There's one strong plot in this book, that of Yulia trying to survive, but there are also smaller sub-plots that deal with the Russian government and the race amongst countries to be the first into space.

There are some fantasy elements present in this book. When the mind-
Oct 08, 2013 rated it really liked it

I am a huge fan of books that take place in Russia or use Russian history as a backdrop. I also love spy and espionage story, so Sekret won me over with its premise alone. Turns out, there was also an excellent novel hidden in this book!

Although this is Smith's debut, this is one of those books where you can't tell it's in fact, a debut. The writing is tight, tension filled, and memorizing. I found I had a hard time putting Sekret down every time I started it, because I had to know what was h
Sep 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Oh my y'all. You know those books where you start reading them and you just know you are going to love what is inside? Sekret was one of those books. I started reading and I fell absolutely in love with the magic of Lindsay Smith's prose and the intensity of the story.

The stakes are high in Sekret from the get go. I mean, the first line of the book is, " My rules for the black market are simple." From that moment on, things just escalate to an ultimate high.

I loved the setting! Loved. It offere
Steph Sinclair
Want to win an ARC of Sekret? Head on over to Cuddlebuggery for a chance to win! ...more
Oct 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Let me fan girl for a moment because I really love this novel! It has so many factors that I adore in a story and I just can't believe how flawlessly it comes together. I love the paranormal aspect and the historical aspect that I adore. It brings to life two of my favorite genres into one story. It's amazing.

The story of Sekret is one of complex interweaving of many different concepts that somehow flow together in a very beautiful way. Yulia, the main character, is the type of main character t
Susan (susayq ~)
I'm trying to clean up my TBR and Netgalley and get reviews posted ;)

So, I read this a while back and from what I remember I enjoyed it. Loved the premise of KGB Russia, action abounded, and the physic aspect was really cool.
Lyd's Archive (7/'15 to 6/'18)
I was initially excited to start this one. I had read it last summer but remembered just about nothing of the story line, save the main spoiler. I did not mean to dislike it so much. However, it was more of a boilerplate dystopian than a historical fiction with supernatural elements

Trope Check
*Mary-Sue learns she is special
*mind-reading powers
*brooding bad boy
*supposedly strong heroine who is about as badass as a banana

Full Rant
I really did like the concept, especially Valentin. It was interesti
Sep 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Imagine living in a country where you had to watch your every move, making sure you kept your thoughts hidden and your actions as inconspicuous as possible. Now add psychic abilities where certain people can read your every thought, see your every memory and exactly where you are at any time, see your future and the decisions you'll make, completely erase your mind by taking all of your memories, and make you do whatever they want. Sounds frightening doesn't it?

This is Yulia's reality. She has b
Dec 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2013
It doesn't happen very often when I fall madly in love with a story, its characters, and absolutely everything about it. This is the case for Lindsay Smith's Sekret. How could you not love a story with KGB spies, political conspiracies, and powers beyond your imagination?(view spoiler) ...more
Oct 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Russia, espionage and psychics? I'm in! Needless to say, I had high hopes going into this book and thankfully, it lived up to them!

Yulia is a tough girl. She has to be! Her family has fallen out of favour with the Party and now barely scrape by, living hand-to-mouth off of the black market. But Yulia has a trick that's helping her family survive: she's psychic. Unfortunately, this gift becomes her curse once she is forcibly recruited to a special KGB centre for young psychics. It's kind of like
Oct 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sekret, by Lindsay Smith, is a terrifying and thrilling mind trip. Smith brings the Soviet Union in the early 1960s to chilling life with KGB thugs, ration rats and black market bartering. Amidst the Cold War and space race between the U.S. and Russia, our protagonist Yulia becomes a pawn in a deadly intelligence game between the CIA and KGB. Against her will, she participates in covert missions with other young psychics, like herself. Yulia’s struggle for freedom and to discover the truth about ...more
Grace P
Feb 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, signed, arc, reviewed

The main character is recruited/abducted by the KGB as part of the psychic mission they have going on to try to beat the USA during the Cold War. It is set in 1963-ish in Soviet Russia. The fact that it is fiction set in an era that actually happened is fascinating.

This story is always making you think, and has mystery elements on every page. There is a wide range of character from sweet to downright scary. The affects of the psychic powers the characters possess can be a little hard
Yulia doesn't know how she came by her gift, she only knows she can use it to her advantage when selling goods on the black market in the USSR. She's a fantastic protagonist, telling us of her troubles and how she tries to fix them.

This is a colorful cast of characters, ranging from a wanna-be dictator with rage issues, to the hot Russian boy with the ability to see places remotely and a dream to play professional hockey, to the girl who can see all the possible futures and help or hinder ever
Dark Faerie Tales
Feb 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: A slow start, but overall a very unique read full of suspense, romance and a wonderful setting.

Opening Sentence: My rules for the black market are simple.

The Review:

It is the year 1963 in the communist country of Russia. Yulia has been in hiding for the last three years with her mother and handicap brother. Her parents were once very prominent members of the government, but now they are considered traitors. They have been successful in staying
May 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"You'll be here longer than you like, you know. But not so long that you'll lose yourself. I'm confident you'll find your way."

4.75 stars!

A psychic espionage novel set in Cold War era Russia? Consider me intrigued. Sekret perfectly blends history with paranormal elements to create a fictitious story that feels as if it could have actually happened in the Soviet Union in 1963.

It has been a while since the first book in a debut series has gotten me this excited. I am enamored by Lindsey Smith's st
Carrie Mansfield
Oct 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Note: I received an ARC from Net Galley in exchange for a fair review.

Teens with abilities in boarding school. It's a fairly popular sub-genre for Young Adult lit (Harry Potter, Hex Hall, Vampire Academy, etc.) and it makes sense: it's automatically exotic because most of us never go to a true boarding school. And by setting them in a boarding school, you can set the story outside the world that we all know. And because it's outside the world we know, it's an easy way to get in your witches, you
Aneta Bak
Oct 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, arc
"An empty mind is a safe mind."

Yulia and her family are on the run! Hiding from the KGB forces in Russia, and treating poor injured people with smuggled drugs. Its not long before Yulia and her family are captured. Their father is on the run, her mother is brainwashed and forced to work, and her brother is put in a mental home. Yulia is stuck in an old building running the Psychic Program. Yulia and the rest of the household poses the power to read others minds, whether by touch, seeing into t
Aug 12, 2014 rated it liked it
1960's Russia. The KGB, a spy agency is recruiting kids with rare mind powers. Yulia is one who gets selected. She has to cooperate to in order to keep her loved ones save.

When I read the plot I knew I was going to love this book and I think I would've if it wasn't for the writing style of this book. I was extremely confused when I read the last page of this book and it wasn't because of all the historical information and setting. I felt like everything that happened was very abrupt and I didn'
Sep 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Psychic KGB spies in 1960s Russia... what's not to love?

Brief Summary: Yulia is captured by the KGB and forced to use her newly-discovered psychic powers to work as KGB spy. That is, if she ever wants to see her family again.

The premise of this novel intrigued me from the beginning, and the actual novel did not disappoint. I enjoyed the way that the world (alternate universe?) was set up and how we as readers were introduced to it as the storyline developed. The little atmospheric touches that
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Jumper (Jumper, #1)
  • Broken Wish (The Mirror, #1)
  • Illusive (Illusive, #1)
  • The Forgotten Girl
  • La langue et le nombril
  • Parachutes
  • Orders of Battle (Frontlines #7)
  • The Project
  • Do I Really Have to Teach Reading?: Content Comprehension, Grades 6-12
  • The Shortest Day
  • Death Rights and Rites: A Practical Guide to a Meaningful Death
  • The Midwife Murders
  • Subjects Matter: Exceeding Standards Through Powerful Content-Area Reading
  • Tiger Lily
  • Vitro (Corpus, #2)
  • The Bollywood Bride (Bollywood, #2)
  • A Bollywood Affair (Bollywood, #1)
  • The Skin I'm In
See similar books…
Lindsay is the author of multiple novels for young adults, including Sekret and A Darkly Beating Heart, as well as the comic series Black Swan. She is the showrunner and lead writer for Serial Box's The Witch Who Came In From the Cold, a Publisher's Weekly Best Book of 2017. Her short stories and comics have appeared in the anthologies A Tyranny of Petticoats, Strange Romance Vol. 3, and Toil & Tr ...more

Other books in the series

Sekret (3 books)
  • Doppel
  • Skandal (Sekret, #2)

News & Interviews

Sally Thorne, author of The Hating Game and 99 Percent Mine, explores what it means to take risks for love, and for yourself, in her newest...
105 likes · 11 comments