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I Have No Secrets

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  2,020 ratings  ·  381 reviews
Jemma knows who did the murder. She knows because he told her. And she can't tell anyone.

Fourteen-year-old Jemma has severe cerebral palsy. Unable to communicate or move, she relies on her family and carer for everything. She has a sharp brain and inquisitive nature, and knows all sorts of things about everyone. But when she is confronted with this terrible secret, she is
Paperback, 323 pages
Published May 4th 2017 by Electric Monkey (first published May 2017)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,020 ratings  ·  381 reviews

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Liz Barnsley
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a really terrific read that encompassed many things - but the best thing about it was Jemma who's character voice shone through the entirety of the story and kept you on her side from the very opening pages.

So she has cerebral palsy - she cannot communicate but has an active and intelligent brain, misses nothing going on around her and is also somewhat of a deep thinker. Living in a family of fostered children, all with their own issues, one day somebody tells her a secret. A murderer.
Alice (Married To Books)
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
This book was recommended to me by one of my bookish friends Megan, so thanks so much for the reading rec because I was most definitely not disappointed with this standalone thriller! I Have No Secrets follows fourteen year old Jemma who has cerebral palsy and cannot communicate. We as a reader can hear what she is thinking but no words are spoken by her out loud. Down the road she lives on, a local guy has been murdered but the case remains unsolved. Until the murderer himself realises that Jem ...more
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
I loved, I Have No Secrets! I read this book aloud to my six year old daughter after reading a review strongly recommending it for children six and up if there was an adult to explain any questions that may arise. My daughter and I had so many great conversations while reading and the days since we finished. My daughter was so empathetic towards the main character and really put herself in Jemma’s shoes thinking about how difficult it would be to not be able to communicate.

We were both absolute
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
‘I Have No Secrets’ by Penny Joelson (2017) is a contemporary thriller aimed squarely at the YA demographic. ‘Secrets’ tells the story of Jemma, an intelligent young teenager, who has severe cerebral palsy, is quadriplegic, for the most part confined to her wheelchair and unable to communicate.

Jemma lives with her foster family – parents, a brother who is severely autistic and a sister with significant behavioural issues and her carer Sarah. The key to ‘Secrets’ essentially that Jemma is unable
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I Have No Secrets is a page turning debut thriller by Penny Joelson. The paperback is a must buy - must read. I appreciate Penny Joelson's writing with the quality of each character that really impressed me making me want to read on and know more about each one.

This remarkable tale is about fourteen year old Jemma who is disabled she has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair. Jemma is unable to move, speak or communicate in any way. Her foster family and carer do everything for her.

Caidyn (he/him/his)
CW: death, murder, kidnapping, ableism, foster system, cerebral palsy, and threats of assisted suicide/murder

When I started hearing about this book, I wasn't sure how it would be. A character with cerebral palsy who has information about a murder? But the illness is so severe that she can't communicate what she knows? Then more shit starts happening?

My main worry was that the disability wouldn't be handled well in the first place, but it really was. I loved how Joelson took the topic and has bee
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
**Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free e-copy of I HAVE NO SECRETS in exchange for my honest review**


Jemma, confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak due to Cerebral Palsy, is used to listening. People tell her everything, even dark secrets, because they know she'll never know. Her carer's boyfriend even tells her he murdered someone. When he finds out she may be able to communicate through a new technology, she may not be safe.

I HAVE NO SECRETS is one of the most delig
Katie Gallagher
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For more bookish stuff, check out my blog!

Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for sending me a free advanced reader copy of this book for an honest review. A quick note that I’m a bit confused about the publication date of this book. As far as I can tell it was originally published in 2017 and is being re-released. NetGalley says the new edition came out September 1st, while Goodreads says it comes out November 15th. So basically you can buy a copy of this book right now, but I’m not exa
Chelsea Hazlehurst
As someone who lives Cerebral Plasy, it is lovely to read a book where the main character has the condition, though I'm not as severe as the character in the book I found it very relatable. The story itself is unique and different. The main character Jemma is absolutely brilliant I couldn't put it down it was a fantastic read. ...more
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Very surprising. I have never read a book like this one before, but it was totally brilliant. It is books like this that restore me out of my reading slump. Let's hope it keeps going on like this! ...more
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for an advanced copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own

I Have No Secrets
By: Penny Joelson

Imagine someone casually telling you they committed murder because they know you won't tell anyone else. This is Jemma's situation in I Have No Secrets. Jemma is 16 with severe cerebral palsy. Although at a normal intelligence level, she cannot move or speak. This makes her the perfect sounding board for any and all confess
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
“I’ve been this way all my life. I can see, though, and I can hear, and sometimes people forget that; they don’t realise that I have a functioning brain. Sometimes people talk about me as if I’m not even there. I hate that.”

This book was a great read and a real eye opener.

Jemma has severe cerebral palsy and as a result she cannot move, only involuntarily, and she cannot talk, but her mind is very much alive. This is a very important YA crime novel addressing disability and yet in no way focusing
Becky Boudreau
Rating 2 stars.

This was a book I was hoping to love more than I did. I didn't find this one particularly thrilling or compelling. I almost DNFed this one multiple times and wasn't really hooked until over halfway through.

I think one of the detriments to this book is that everything was overexplained to an annoying degree. If this was a middle-grade book, I wouldn't mind it as much, but as a book for the older YA demographic this book just talked down to the reader.

Honestly, the synopsis was j
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this so much. Considering how much I relate to Jemma with her Cerebral Palsy, I almost cried at certain parts in the book. It’s amazing how much she grows throughout the story. The entire time I felt like I was right there with her. Amazing!!!
Evan Lien
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Jemma can't talk. She can't walk, move, sing, dance, or eat. She can't go to the bathroom by herself. But she can think. And she can see. And sometimes, people forget that. They do things they shouldn't do in front of her. It's no big deal. Who is she going to tell, anyway?

Jemma doesn't feel the need to communicate, either. She was taught to blink "yes" and "no" when she was little, but then she got an infection, and woke up unable to control her eye movements. She never told anyone that she was
Jemma is 14 and suffers from cerebral palsy; her family know she is smart, but she is completely unable to communicate with anyone. People often confide in her because they know she can never reveal their secrets; this becomes dangerous when Dan, her carer's boyfriend, taunts her with the knowledge of a violent crime he claims he has committed...

A gripping thriller and a sensitive, empathic look at life from a different perspective, this is a page-turner that makes you think.

Perfect for fans of
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was such a fast paced read. I read it in one sitting. Jemma overcomes so much throughout this book. Watching her grow as a character touched my heart. Such a wonderful and thrilling journey.
This book was such a great book!!
I read it in one day and couldn't fly through it quickly enough.

I was first afraid to read this story because of its emotional impact on me, but it actually turned out to be a quite satisfying read justifying read for me.

It's a YA book and I think because of its genre it didn't go to its full potential. And what I mean by that is, that this book could have gone deeper. I wanted SO much more from the development of Jemma and Jodi's newfound sisterhood, all the way
Oct 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book; however, the ending was a bit rushed. Wished there were mysteries to uncover, but I can see that it was meant to be character driven.

The last sentence killed me though; cringe!
What I liked: I thought the author did a great job of creating a smart, interesting protagonist with a severe disability and really getting the reader inside her life, her body and her mind. I loved that the parents were so compassionate and yet real in their emotions regarding the difficulty of foster parenting three special needs children. I liked that children with disabilities were portrayed with so much dignity and actually, at the very center of the story, when so often they are relegated ...more
Ellie Clayton
5 stars!! I don’t read many YA books, but this is definitely one of my favorites that I’ve ever read. This is more of a character-driven suspense novel than plot-driven. While I usually prefer the latter, I found Jemma’s character to be so compelling. I learned so much about what it’s like for those suffering from extreme disability, as well as what it’s like to be a foster child. Since Jemma could not speak, it was interesting to read all of her thoughts. She was such an incredible and inspirin ...more
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this. Jemma is a well-written character. I found myself getting frustrated with her. The mystery aspect was good but I actually found that I was more interested in reading about Jemma's everyday life with her carer and foster siblings. I really felt for Olivia ad I like to think that everything will work out for her, too. ...more
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book all in one sitting and it has so many great qualities. I love the representation in this book of foster families and individuals with disabilities whose perspectives are rarely represented (let alone represented well) in books.

Jemma’s perspective draws you in and feels authentic. She is smart and observant and has a strong inner voice, with family members who fiercely stand up for her and her intelligence when she is belittled or babied by others. She has cerebral palsy and it’
Jan 28, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! I think that It was such a unique twist on a murder mystery and multiple times I found myself wanting to scream at the other characters and wished they would just understand Jemma!

Jemma cannot move or speak due to the fact that she has cerebral palsy but because it was told from her perspective, the whole book carried a large sense of dramatic irony. Which I liked! It was a really unique perspective.

I felt as I really connected with all of the characters, which is rare for me
Ashley Briggs
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everyone thinks Dan is a wonderful guy. Everyone that is, except Jemma. She knows the truth. Her family is blind to his true character, as well as her home aide and his girlfriend, Sarah. Wheelchair bound from cerebral palsy and unable to speak, Dan confides in her that he murdered someone and treats her poorly when no one is looking.
When Sarah goes missing, Jemma desperately wants to tell someone what she knows. Then a new technology presents itself, that may help her communicate, and help the
Jan 17, 2020 marked it as abandoned-books  ·  review of another edition
Adding this to my abandoned books shelf. I really do appreciate what the author tried to accomplish. The perspective is unique and intriguing. Unfortunately, after 94 pages, I can’t seem to bring myself to pick this back up. Since I am under no obligation to finish it, it’s time to DNF it.
Holly McKie
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was such a refreshingly different read, quite unlike anything I have ever read before most of which is down to the narrator. Jemma has severe cerebral palsy - she can’t speak, move or do anything for herself. She lives with her foster parents, her two foster siblings, and her full-time carer, Sarah. It has so many ups and downs with her family life and people telling her secrets because they know she can’t tell, and then Sarah goes missing and Jemma is the only one who knows what could have ...more
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant book.
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Haven't felt this emotional reading something in a very long time. The whole plot is truly brilliant and so eye opening, I was unable to stop reading. ...more
May 17, 2019 added it
This is a very moving and inspirational book. Jemma unable to speak or control her body lives in a foster home. She gets stared at and made fun of by people she meets but she's not stupid and she can see and hear everything. People tell her all sorts of things because they know she can't say anything. Her carer, Sarah, has a horrible boyfriend but everyone seems to really like him. He charms everyone but when he's left alone with Jemma he shows his true colours. He tells her that he has murdered ...more
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