By: Lindsay Smith
Published: April 2014
Psychic Russian teen spies. Do you need any more than this? The premise of SEKRET, set in early 1960s Cold War Russia, intrigued me from the start. Yulia is recruited by force by the KGB for her capability to read minds, joining a small group of other teens with similar mind-manipulating abilities. Only, of course, not all is as it seems! Yulia's father disappeared prior to the story, and her mother and brother are taken right before Yulia is taken in with the KGB. She has quite a bit to uncover with her own family, as well as whether she can trust her fellow students.
I really liked the historical factors which blended actual history with embellished psychic abilities, making this more like a speculative, alternate history, which is really exciting to see in Young Adult. Kind of like a YA spin on the TV show The Americans (though this story actually takes place in Russia).
The love story subplot reads a little clunky, but overall the tension from love interests adds to the story's stakes, so it works. If you're looking for a different read with a bit of suspense, a unique setting, and historical details, SEKRET is a fresh read.