Book Discovery: Secrets by Kat Tauber
Moving and beautifully written.
— The BookWalker
Secrets is an illustration of a dysfunctional family from the perspective of an endlessly optimistic child named Lady.
Lady and her family are an interesting lot: Paw is a man of few words, but he gives surprising insights when he does talk. These insights resemble Lady’s crooked education, and they serve her well in life, although Paw, the incidental teacher, is a walking contradiction. One time, he sternly reprimands Lady for stealing a bottle of water, forgetting that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. In spite of himself, there is one thing he can never be faulted with—he adores Marilyn, his wife.
It soon becomes evident that Marilyn—Miss New Albany State Fair—does not possess any form of maternal instinct. She had just won her title when Paw whisked her off to a charmed, married life, with no real plans for their future but the places they dream of traveling to by way of their car. The road, however, gets bumpy from time to time, especially when the two kids come along. Still, without a home but their trusty Chevy and no real jobs, Marilyn plummets into depression, smoking, and alcoholism.
Being always on the road allows Lady plenty of time to mull over their situation. They certainly are unlike any other family, but she believes their living condition will improve soon and they will have a home. She does not understand her parents—the emotionless eyes of her mother who turns to them from her queenly front seat and the father who cannot deny her mother her addiction—but she sees the undeniable bond between them and hopes someday she will understand them. If there is any redeeming light in their family, Lady knows it is her sister, Scarlett O’Hara, with whom she shares love forged by their need for parental attention and care and forced upon them by the small enclosure of the car. This love, the only love they know in their young lives, is the strength that will carry them through when Marilyn passes on, and they come face-to-face with their family’s secret.
Kat Tauber’s Secrets is a story that will surely resonate with readers of all ages. Thanks to the perspective of the young protagonist, the story has wit, humor, and hope. Lady knows this is not the end of the world for them, but it’s impossible not to hear the sighs that must have escaped her resolve or imagine the longing replace the bravado in her eyes. After all, she is just twelve years old, and the world rests upon her tiny shoulders.
Reviews and What Readers Say
" An easy read novel that can be read quickly with entertaining adventure. The creativeness from KAT is poignant with deep emotions drawn into each character. Sisterly love that draws heart-felt sadness, but is always within each ofthem to feel deeply devoted brings a strong warmth. Each adventure of this family is described beautifully lendingthe reader to feel as though they were traveling in time with them. A must read regardless of age...just sayin'"
—P J BARKER, Amazon Reader's Review, Verified Purchase
" In the page-turning novel, "Secrets," author Kat Tauber has skillfully captured the challenging struggles of an adolescent named Lady and her younger sister as they try to negotiate their parents' unpredictable, confusing lives and the subsequent complicated lifestyle in which the girls find themselves. Sadly, many children find themselves in comparable situations in real life, and Ms. Tauber's understanding of the resilience, pain, and difficulties of living within such families, as well as the resultant confusion and the overriding love that binds such families together, is stellar. As is true for many children and teens, Lady and her sister find themselves called upon to rely on their own inner strengths, innate intelligence, and realistic appraisal of their situations in order to understand themselves, their family, and the world around them. For those who appreciate strong female characters, Lady is a teenager determined to improve her own life, as well as the life of her younger sister. This novel is written to appeal to adolescents, but is also certainly enjoyable and important reading for general readership."
—Carolyn Breckinridge, Amazon Reader's Review, Verified Purchase
" Kat Tauber’s debut novel hits all the right notes for the demanding young adult audience. Teen readers demand realistic characters; the young female protagonist, while clearly fictional, propels the reader through life experiences that ring true for all teens struggling with their identity and adapting to their changing world. Lady and her family travel a road of lies, deceit and disappointments. Tauber masterfully creates tension and momentum that will keep readers turning the pages. While not always the case in YA literature, Lady reaches a successful conclusion to her conflicts and readers will find that outcome satisfying."
—Donna Robinson, Amazon Reader's Review, Verified Purchase
" In Secrets, Tauber has given us a new, modern heroine navigating issues that many young readers face today. Lady tackles the challenges of an itinerant lifestyle, her mom's alcoholism, homelessness, and bullying with a strength and humor that belie her age. She and her sister, Scarlett O"Hara, forge a relationship based on love, a closeness borne out of parental neglect, and a desire to build a better life for themselves creating an inspiring story that builds to a triumphant finale."
—Janet Meyer, Editor, New Leaf Publishing
Reviewed by Becca Martin
Disclosure: This article is a personal endorsement of the professional reviewer. The BookWalker is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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Kat was almost born in a hearse! Her mother went into labor, and they didn't have a car. Uncle Joe, a mortician in Chicago, came to their rescue, but the only vehicle available was a big, black hearse. And, on the way to the hospital, the story goes, the guys ate doughnuts and drank coffee, while Mother timed contractions. Kat could only imagine what the hospital personnel thought when that type of car arrived and instead of a corpse, a pregnant woman emerged with two very nervous men. With a debut like that, no wonder she's always been a bit, unique.