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The Secret Keepers

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  5,464 ratings  ·  779 reviews
A magical watch.
A string of secrets.
A race against time.

When Reuben discovers an extraordinary antique watch, he soon learns it has a secret power and his life takes an intriguing turn. At first he is thrilled with his new treasure, but as one secret leads to another, Reuben finds himself torn between his innately honest nature and the lure to be a hero.

Now he is on a dang
ebook, 512 pages
Published September 27th 2016 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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J.D.Staton While the storyline is geared toward middle school aged readers, it requires the attention span of at least a teen to remain engaged with this very po…moreWhile the storyline is geared toward middle school aged readers, it requires the attention span of at least a teen to remain engaged with this very ponderous, slow, overly-descriptive, poorly-edited book.(less)

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Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,464 ratings  ·  779 reviews

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Dec 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
Trenton Lee Stewart had me charmed with The Mysterious Benedict Society. I fell in love with the quick moving, fluid and well-written story line that unfolded on the pages. To say I had high hopes for The Secret Keepers would be an understatement, which probably contributed to disappointment. This book isn't quite up to bar that I had set for it.

First off, this book is honestly much longer than it should be. It stretches the story out to the point where, quite often, there is nothing actually ha

how did I not know about this?!

Jul 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: loved-it, i-own
Seven years ago I started reading the "Mysterious Benedict Society" aloud with my kids. We had a ton of fun with the puzzles and adventures laid out in those books. So naturally when I found a new "middle grader" book from the same author I jumped at the chance to read it.

The Secret Keepers centers on the adventures of a young 11-year-old boy named Reuben. He lives in Lower Downs, one of the poorer areas of the city of New Umbra. His father died when he was a baby and his mother has to work 2 jo
Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls)
This was cute. It definitely wasn't The Mysterious Benedict Society, but it was cute in it's own way. It does have the MBS vibe going on, though, with the cover, fabulous illustrations and mostly descriptive plot with not a lot of dialogue. I think that was a bit of a problem for me, the lacking dialogue, since I love dialogue & talking (I'm sure you can find that so hard to believe. ;) ).
Reuben was a sweet/kind/smart kid & I loved seeing his relationship with his mom and his heart for "protect
May 01, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book feels like that one kid that shows up at every robot camp and only owns NASA t-shirts.
Munro's Kids
Honestly, this book was far too long. Even though The Mysterious Benedict Society was only about a hundred pages shorter than the Secret Keepers, the former managed to zip along without loosing momentum, while the latter plods from setpiece to setpiece. So much of the book is taken up with setup and waiting around, or with bending over backwards in order to explain its characters motivations.

There are elements of a good story here - as ever Stewart has a talent for zany, off the wall world build
The Mysterious Benedict Society is better, but only because that one is fantastic. This is a very enjoyable story. Fantasy elements, while central, are pretty light, and this really is more of an Adventure with a bit of Mystery. Set in an imaginary place that's not so different from our own.

As a long time reader of Children's Fantasy, and Sci Fi, I understand the common premise of kids going off adventuring under the noses of caring adults they keep in the dark, and for the most part I think it
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-hearts
Having read Stewart's excellent "Mysterious Benedict Society", I couldn't wait to read his newest book, especially after having seen the title and cover, replete with lighthouse, shimmering stars and frothy waves!

While exploring the Lower Downs in New Umbra, Reuben comes across a strange watch sticking out of the upper story of a building. He contemplates it's worth, dreaming of the money he could make to help his single Mom, who is having trouble making ends meet.

Careful to avoid the Directio
This is my favorite of the Trenton Lee Stewart books I've read — though I also thoroughly enjoyed his Mysterious Benedict Society. The protagonists, and the book as a whole, feels a little older and more mature that MBS, and the mystery itself — while more fantastical — felt a bit more realistic.

I really loved Ruben, our protagonist, an his relationship with his mother made me tear up a few times it was so refreshingly sweet and supportive. The rest of the supporting cast was equally vivid and
re-read January 2021: mkay, I liked it. This isn’t an enduring favorite, but it was fun!

previous review:

I . . . like it? Maybe even love it? One thing's for certain, though . . NO MORE TRENTON LEE STEWART FOR ME. He's impossible to put down, and at 500 pages a piece, that is not a good thing, especially since I now have six hours to finish my Archaeology paper.

SyaSya Syed Nasir
It's interesting but didn't attract my attention enough to enjoy it. However, full review will be out soon. ...more
Christina Reid
This sounded like exactly my kind of book, but I put off reading it for ages due to the size. At over 500 pages, it seemed a bit intimidating as an adult reader and, unfortunately, I could see many of my pupils being similarly overwhelmed. The story itself has lots of good things about it - I adored how Reuben and his mother are portrayed so lovingly as a family who are struggling with money but full of love, I loved the Meyer family and their traditions passed down through the family line and t ...more
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book follows the kid named Reuben as he finds a watch that allows him to become invisible when he winds it up. This is a good, solid children's mystery full of many unexpected twists and turns that keep you turning the pages. It was really well written, and really well put together. I was absolutely fascinated with the characters. They were deep, funny and real. The only problem I had with this book was the fact that it was a bit long, but it did keep me engaged the whole way through. Overa ...more
Michael Fitzgerald
Attention all would-be audiobook narrators - If you cannot pronounce the following words, you are not eligible for work: familiar (not "fermiliar"), second (not "secont"), tumult (not "tummult"), and for God's sake, mischievous (not "mischievious"). There are more. Yes, Mr. Bowen, I am looking at you. You are dismissed.

I am finding that the author does not have a superior command of the language. So much of the writing is dull (and one does not get "only a glance" of something. It should be a g
Sep 17, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comic-con-2016
The Secret Keepers is a good book with good morals and good characters, it's just way too long . It's not like it's a difficult book to read; it's meant for ages 8 through 12, and that's obvious. Still, I realized after about a third of the way through the book that I could gloss over a great many of the descriptions and not miss anything essential to the plot. There were times when I skipped three pages just because it was pure description.

That being said, I did enjoy the plot itself. It ha
Ms. Yingling
Jan 13, 2016 rated it liked it
E ARC from

Reuben lives with his struggling single mother in the Lower Downs, where he likes to wander about and occasionally climb up walls in alleyways. When he does this once, he finds a very elaborate pocket watch. Thinking it might provided some financial stability for his family, he takes it to several shops in the nicer part of town. He feels uncomfortable with the answers he gets, so when he sees Mrs. Genevieve's run down shop, he feels that he can trust her. She indicates t
Amy Kannel
Delightful. My 10yo loved this and insisted I had to read it; I finally picked it up and didn't want to put it down. I enjoyed it every bit as much as The Mysterious Benedict Society. Will definitely look forward to more from this author! ...more
Nov 16, 2016 rated it liked it
My 10 yr old Loved this. I read it aloud to him. I thought it was too long and too wordy. The story is good but it needed a heavier hand in editing.
Kailey (Luminous Libro)
Reuben is a city explorer, poking his nose into deserted alleys, climbing rooftops, and discovered hidden places. He finds a mysterious hidden clockwatch that leads him into adventure and danger. Reuben is hunted by the criminal mastermind, The Smoke, who is searching for the clock. Reuben must find out the secrets of the clockwatch and its origins before The Smoke and his henchmen, The Directions, find him and steal the clock.

Such a wonderful plot! I was interested to see how the mystery of the
The city of New Umbra is controlled by a mysterious man known only as "The Smoke." Through his right-hand man "The Counselor" and his enforcers, known by various names including The Directions, he keeps New Umbra under his proverbial thumb, extracting payment from business owners and leaving the city's police force powerless.

Reuben is just a quiet, friendless boy, living in the poorest part of the city with his mother who works several jobs. Until one day, he finds a mysterious watch, a watch t
Janna Craig
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Trenton Lee Stewart is one of those authors I can’t wait to read with my kids when they get older. I loved The Mysterious Benedict Society and I loved this one. Different plot, obviously, but some similarity in that children do most of the heavy lifting with some help from supportive adults. My favorite part of The Secret Keepers is Reuben’s relationship with his mom. His mom is just wonderful, and he knows it.

And the sheer cleverness that permeates this book makes my nerdy little brain rej
Valerie Cotnoir
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Susy  *MotherLambReads*
Aug 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Littles gave it 5 stars!

They liked the story and the bad guy.

It was a LONG book. 501 pages! We alternated with reading and listening (on double speed).

For fans of The Benedict Society. It reminded me alot of that series. Fast action packed plot. Loveable characters. Mystery they kept you guessing.
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was very well written. It all starts when the protagonist, Reuben, discovers a watch hidden inside of a wall. Reuben didn't know it at that time, but that watch would change his life forever. Reuben discover that the watch has a certain power. When he winds the key to it, the watch gives Reuben the power to become invisible. However, before Reuben found out about the watch's power, he asked watch owners how much it was worth. Many lied and said it was worth nothing, so they could keep ...more
Megan McCullough
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was like coming home... :)

It wasn't quite as good as The Mysterious Benedict Society, but it was still fabulous!
zane deann
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
When this book finally appeared at our local library, I snapped it up. I've been wanting to read it for ages, but... wow. I wasn't expecting it to even come close to the glory of the Mysterious Benedict Society, but I was very pleasantly surprised.
 Things I loved:
 The plot! Trenton Lee Stewart is so good at plot twists. Generally I can predict every twist in the book that I'm reading - but with this one, it actually caught me off guard a couple of times. Fantastic!
 The cast of characters was gre
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: families or siblings to read together, fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society
My Rating: 4 stars
Age Suggestion: 8+

Such a fun read!

-the plot-
Trenton Lee Stewart is the master of details. He did it in The Mysterious Benedict Society, and he did it again here. Everything is so intricately woven together, the backstory and the action and the motivations and then smaller things like Reuben's plan. No detail is forgotten. The plot is simple enough for this to be 'light' reading, but complex enough that it isn't 'fluff', perfect for both children and adults.

There were a few t
Jun 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Secrets, traps, puzzles, a watch, and a story passed down through generations of a family. Crafting a tale from these elements, Trenton Lee Stewart's The Secret Keepers follows the story of an adventurous boy as he attempts to figure out the mystery behind the curious watch he found.

To read this, and other book reviews, visit my website:

Eleven year old Ruben is good at climbing things and staying out of sight. The latter is aided from something he found t
S.G. Willoughby
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
By his own admission, Reuben (the MC) though "not exactly the most shining example of behavior, Reuben had no interest in becoming a real criminal." But that isn't to say he's got a clean slate. He lies, he disobeys, and he's sneaky and tricky. Armed with a ring-of-Sauron type of object, he faces many a battle and danger... and secret.

Penny, coming in about half-way through the book is the opposite. She's honest to a fault, cheerful and discerning. They balance each other out well. Though the bo
Miquel Reina
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: adventure, children
I have to say that I didn´t connect from the beginning to this book. When I first read its synopsis I thought it would be a much mature and profound story, but then I realized that it was more a kid´s story. The characters are very typical and I think the plot wasn´t as original as the title of the book appears to be. So sadly I can´t approve this book and I couldn´t recommend...

Spanish version:
Tengo que decir que tuve un problema con este libro desde el principio. Cuando leí su sinopsis pensé q
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #5 The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart 1 3 Feb 20, 2017 09:31AM  

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Trenton Lee Stewart is the author of the award-winning, bestselling Mysterious Benedict Society series for young readers; The Secret Keepers, also for young readers; and the adult novel Flood Summer. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Letters to the author may be sent to:

Trenton Lee Stewart
PO Box 251358
Little Rock, AR 72205

News & Interviews

Believe it or not, we're halfway through 2021! As is our tradition, this is the time when the Goodreads editorial team burrows into our data to...
110 likes · 80 comments
“It was occurring to Reuben that people, especially adults, are rather quick to dismiss small mysteries, to assume that they have simply misunderstood or failed to observe something, and to go on about their business.” 5 likes
“And when I do crave privacy, I have only to flip the "Closed" sign on my shop door until I'm feeling sociable again. Everyone should have such signs on their doors, don't you think?” 4 likes
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