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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Art of Secrets: A Novel

This book was like whoa. I was so pleasantly taken with James Klise's The Art of Secrets

A fire destroys Saba Khan's home while she is at a tennis match--it was arson. Her family loses everything, but she becomes popular and gets to live in a Chicago high rise donated to her family so it's, you know, a trade off. A sister and brother team decide to throw a fundraiser for the Khans and begin collecting junk to auction off. One of the pieces of junk happens to be a long-lost painting by a local famous artist worth hundreds of thousands. How will the money be divvied up? Why are the sister and brother so willing to give so much? What really happened to the Khan's home? What will the aftermath be of their tragedy?

This story was told through multiple perspectives--Saba's journal, the brother and sister's experiences, through meetings with a reporter, through accusations and honest letters. It was an astounding way to tell a story that kept me thoroughly entertained and full-on immersed. I absolutely loved it, and I knew from the moment I saw the switch in the book that I would be hooked. Klise is adept at switching perspectives and keeping his reader engaged--it was seamless and authentic.

I also really adored the story. It was suspenseful without being a thriller and it was a young adult book without being young. It was appealing and lovely and funny and startling. Klise asks hard questions of his characters--who they are, what they want, and what their intentions may or may not be. Fingers are pointed throughout the story, and you often wonder if maybe the one or ones at fault are the ones you would least suspect. Or maybe not. You just really don't know--and you can't wait to find out.

Klise asks some tough questions of his readers. Is popularity worth it? Sometimes. Is wealth worth it? Is it better than the alternative? Sometimes. Is a humble and simple living an easier way to be? Sometimes. Is honest the best choice? Sometimes. Is telling little white lies for the greater good all right? Sometimes. Will we all be OK in the end? Sometimes.

Only the hard copy below.

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