Synopsis from Scholastic:
The email arrives Sunday night: Do exactly what I say, when I say it, or I will reveal your secret.
On Monday morning, seventh graders Owen, Gemma, Ally, and Todd, who have nothing in common and barely know each other, must work together and follow the instructions of an anonymous blackmailer. None of them want to go along with the blackmailer’s instructions, but each of them have a secret they must protect at all costs.
Set during a single day of school, the students race against the clock to complete a disquieting set of tasks, with fast-paced chapters detailing each moment of the day interspersed with a later interview-style recording made by the quartet.
I Know Your Secret is an exploration of why we conceal the truth, how far we’ll go to keep it hidden, and the power of being honest.
About: I Know Your Secret is a middle grade mystery written by Daphne Benedis-Grab. It was published on 12/7/2021 by Scholastic, paperback, 240 pages. The genres are middle grade fiction, contemporary, and mystery. This book is intended for readers ages 8 to 12, grades 3 to 7. According to the publisher’s website, “Scholastic was founded in 1920 as a single classroom magazine. Today, Scholastic books and educational materials are in tens of thousands of schools and tens of millions of homes worldwide, helping to Open a World of Possible for children across the globe” and their mission is to “encourage the intellectual and personal growth of all children, beginning with literacy.” Please see below for more information about the publisher and author.
My Experience: I started reading I Know Your Secret on 3/20/2022 and finished it on 3/27/2022 at 3am. An excellent read, this book had teamwork and enemies to friendship story. Each character had his/her own unique personality and backgrounds. When they were forced together, they figured out how to work together despite their differences. I liked how each character noticed something from the other person. Ally was a great addition to the team because she knew how to stay calm even when situations called for panic. I liked how she defuse angers among everyone. Each character has strengths and weaknesses and it was great to see their growth over time. The mystery was good and the reveal surprised me. I enjoyed following all four characters’ thoughts. They were active in coming up with ideas, questioned what’s right vs wrong, and continuously strategizing to find out who knew their secrets.
This book started with Owen, 12. He felt lucky to have checked his email before dinner started with his stepfather and mom. He liked to work on his graphic novel a bit more than doing school studies. The second view was Gemma, 12. She wanted to be excused from dinner early with her family to check on her phone. Her mom wanted to reduce screen time especially after Covid-19 shutdown. She was waiting for a boy to text her but was disappointed that there was no text. She then checked her email and saw the the menacing words right away, “I Know Your Secret.” The third view was Todd, 12. He was using the family computer in the kitchen. He couldn’t let his mom see that he was upset because he didn’t want her to worry. When his mom left the room, his anger continued to boil by the blackmail email he had just read directed at him. The fourth view was Ally, 12. She also received a blackmail letter and she worried that if her secret got out, her grandparent’s rescued animals sanctuary might be closed forever. The four weren’t friends at first but formed an unlikely friendship after being pushed into a situation together.
I Know Your Secret was a fast paced read! This book featured bullying which was good because everyone should be aware on how it affected people; both the bully and the victim. I liked the school’s Explorer Day. I hope there is something like that in my son’s school. Very good and fun learning opportunities. I liked the bit about nutrition, starting breakfast with protein instead of a donut. I would have liked to attend some of the explorer’s classes just to see what else they did. But I see why the four main characters couldn’t be in the class while also trying to stay out of the way. It would have been great to have a surprise view at the end from the blackmailer just to justify for his/her actions and to reveal how he/she obtained confidential information between the principal and his staff. Other than that, the read was age appropriate for young readers and I recommend the book!
I rate it 4.5 stars!
About the Author:
Daphne Benedis-Grab is the author of the middle grade novel The Angel Tree and the young adult novel Alive and Well in Prague, New York. Her short stories have appeared in American Girl Magazine. She earned an MFA at The New School and is an adjunct professor at McDaniel College. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, two kids, and a cat who has been known to keep her computer warm while she is away from her desk. https://daphnebg.com/about (Photo obtained from the author’s website and info provided by Scholastic).
More Information about Scholastic
***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Scholastic for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.