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I love The Mysterious Benedict Society Series! We’d recently revisited the first book, and I’d been wishing for something new from Trenton Lee Stewart. So I was thrilled to find out about his newest book The Secret Keepers.

The Story

Reuben and his mom live in a rundown part of a city ruled by The Smoke and his gangs of Directions. Because his mom must work multiple jobs to make ends meet, Reuben spends much of his time exploring the city while trying to blend in. Until he finds the watch. Suddenly, multiple people seem to be after it, and when Reuben discover’s the watch’s secret, he doesn’t want to let it go. In his quest to make things right, Reuben makes new friends who help him succeed.

Why I Loved The Secret Keepers

  1. Reuben has an awesome mom. Seriously, I want to be friends with her. I really appreciate when adult figures in books are not evil or idiots. His mom (and also Miss Genevieve the watchmaker) are wonderful and kind, and Reuben has a great relationship with each of them.
  2. This book asks tough questions. Like all of Stewart’s books, The Secret Keepers makes the reader consider important questions. Are secrets a good or bad thing? What about special powers? What is human nature’s response to power?
  3. Reuben can’t win on his own. Aspiring writers are often given the advice to let their characters solve their own problems. Adults should never be the ones to step in and save a child in a novel. I love that Stewart defies this trend. Although the kids solve 90% of the problems themselves, adults step in at a crucial moment to save them. In fact, the actions of one adult demonstrate how a community can unite together for a greater cause. This beautiful scene involving an old women bursting into a church seeking help made me cry (in public).

What Parents Should Know

The Secret Keepers contains a fair amount of peril, so it may not be great for sensitive kids. But, overall, it’s pretty mild. If your kids enjoyed The Mysterious Benedict Society, they shouldn’t have a problem with The Secret Keepers. I’d probably recommend this book for ages 9 – 12. (If you haven’t read The Mysterious Benedict Society yet, click HERE for my review).

Parts of the book are much slower than Stewart’s other books. I think this is primarily because Reuben is alone much of the book (rather than working with friends). A lot of time is devoted to Reuben discovering the properties of the watch. If you’re reading it aloud, be aware that some parts will be slower, but it’s still a great read. My 11-year old daughter gave it two thumbs up.

Also, in case you are wondering, The Secret Keepers appears to be a stand-alone novel rather than part of a series.

What book do you love that asks hard questions?

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