Reviews for Secret of Me
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2006 Spring
Fourteen-year-old Lizzie was adopted as an infant, a fact she shares only with her closest friends. With their help, she reconciles her desire to know her birth mother with her overall contentment as part of a loving family. This sensitive, cathartic novel is told entirely through Lizzie's poetry and includes author's notes on poetics, recommended reading, and Kearney's own adoption experience. Copyright 2006 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2005 November #1
A sincere, at times poignant, novel-in-verse reads like a memoir and tells the story of a teenager who wishes to explore her identity as an adopted child. Lizzie (age 14) expresses her deepest and most personal thoughts about being adopted with her three best friends. But she longs to share her secret identity with her new boyfriend and to probe openly her biological background, even though her siblings (also adopted) view doing so as an act of disloyalty to their devoted adoptive parents. Kearney exploits poetry and its variety of forms uniquely to access and express Lizzie's innermost hopes and desires and how they affect the choices she makes. A real balance of personal exploration as an adoptee and new teenage emotions creates a powerful blend in a warm character ready to connect and sustain that bond to readers. Not only will adolescents feel expertly sensitized to issues of adoption, they will get a good dose of real poetry with unique and inspiring language so often sacrificed for story in this genre. Substantive backmatter (afterword, guide to the poetics, reprints of poems Lizzie loves, recommended links and bibliography) makes this a first-rate offering. (Fiction. 12+) Copyright Kirkus 2005 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Reviews 2006 January
Gr 7 Up -This novel in verse follows 14-year-old Lizzie through a year in which, despite her loving family, a circle of good friends, and a potential first boyfriend, she is plagued with a personal secret. She desperately wants to find out the story behind her adoption and her own identity, and while her parents and brother and sister (also adopted) are sympathetic, they discourage her from pursuing it. The lack of information leads her to worry obsessively and she frequently finds herself in her "broken place" where she wonders if being adopted makes her less of a person and if she can ever share her secret with others. The poems are readable and heartfelt, based in part on the author's life. Kearney creates a believable voice for her protagonist, and this book will be welcomed by adults working with young adoptees. Though lacking the broader appeal of Kate Banks's Dillon Dillon (Farrar, 2002) and Hilary McKay's Saffy's Angel (S & S, 2002), it will find a receptive audience among teens who enjoy introspective coming-of-age dramas and thoughtful family stories. Kearney includes a good deal of supplemental material, including some thoughts on how families can discuss adoption among themselves, a guide to the poetic forms she has used (including pantoums, sestinas, and villanelles), six of "Lizzie's favorite poems," and a list of recommended books on poetry and adoption.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA [Page 154]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
VOYA Reviews 2006 April
On rare occasions one reads a book that is just plain touching, pulling the reader in and allowing one to feel what the character feels. Here is such a book. In poetic form, it is written in the voice of fourteen-year-old Lizzie, who journals her feelings about being adopted. Lizzie's siblings are also adopted, and instead of "when you were born" tales, McLane family members recount their "phone call" stories. Outside the family, however, the fact that the children are adopted is never mentioned. Lizzie gets into trouble with her older siblings when she voices questions about her birthmother. She is seen as being disloyal. Among Lizzie's tight group of friends are two other girls who are adopted. They talk about their shared secret. Do they tell their other friends? Did the boyfriend break up with one of them because he was told that she was adopted? Should they search for their birth parents? Lizzie presents all these feelings and decisions The afterword tells about the author's struggle with the knowledge of her adoption as she grew up. A section tells about the types of poetics that Lizzie uses. There are recommendations for poetry collections and books on poetry and several selections of poems by other poets that are mentioned by Lizzie as her favorites. This tenderly written book is definitely for the adopted teen but can be enjoyed by all others. It can be used within classroom poetry units with great success.-Susan Allen 4Q 4P M J Copyright 2006 Voya Reviews.