Because who can afford books in this economy?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Secrets of Truth and Beauty by Megan Frazer


Summary from 
And the first runner up is...When Dara Cohen was little, she was a bright, shiny star. She was the cutest seven-year-old who ever sang Ella Fitzgerald, and it was no wonder she was crowned Little Miss Maine.

That was then. Now Dara's seventeen and she's not so little anymore. So not little, that when her classmates find out about her illustrious resume, their jaws drop. That's just one of her many problems. Another is that her control-freak mom won't get off her case about anything. Yet the one that hurts the most is the family secret: Dara has an older sister her parents tried to erase from their lives.

When a disastrously misinterpreted English project lands her in the counselor's office--and her parents pull her out of school to save face--Dara realizes she has a decision to make. She can keep following the rules and being misunderstood, or she can finally reach out to the sister she's never met--a sister who lives on a collective goat farm in Massachusetts. Dara chooses B. What follows is a summer of revelations, some heartbreaking, some joyous; of friendship, romance, a local beauty pageant; and choices. And as autumn approaches, Dara finds she may have to let go of everything she's taken for granted in order to figure out who she really is, and what family really means.

Secrets of Truth and Beauty was a really good book. I felt like I could really relate to Dara, and her parents made me want to scream. I really liked Rachel, her sister. I thought that the awkwardness between Dara and Rachel, sisters who'd never met, was really well done and I liked that everything wasn't hunky dory for them the first time they met. I think that Owen was my favorite character. He's gay, but not stereotypically so. In fact, if it hadn't been specifically stated in the book, I probably would have never guessed. That was a nice change. 

Dara is overweight, a fact that wasn't ignorable but wasn't in your face either. Of course, there were quite a few times when she was insecure, but she wasn't self hating and that was refreshing too. I thought that the relationship between Dara and Owen was perfect. The were friends in the best way, and had the most interesting conversations. On the other hand, I thought that the relationship between Dara and Owen's brother was...odd, but it wasn't central to the story, so it wasn't too off putting.

There were a few things in the book that I thought should have been answered, but weren't. Such as why Belinda stopped talking, and why exactly Dara's mother and father kicked Rachel out. It was hinted at that it was for a different reason than what Rachel told Dara, but we never know. 

Okay, so, I'm going to try a new rating scale this time, so let me know what you think!

Characters: 8/10
Plot: 9/10
Originality: 8/10
Writing: 8/10
Ending: 10/10
Overall: 45/50 A-

Cover: 2/5 I really don't think that the girl on the front looks overweight, and I'm not a fan of the pink on the bottom half...


  1. I really liked this book too and I am glad you enjoyed it. There is a controversy about the cover because the model does not accurately depict Dara. The publishers are the ones who pick the covers and I don't think the cover looks very nice. Have you read North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley? That is another one that I really liked and I think you might enjoy it.

  2. Nice review! It's strange how I've never heard of this book. I agree, the cover doesn't seem to fit very well. The authors should have more of a say in choosing it! It's their book, after all.

    Une Parole

  3. Am here from the Saturday Network. =D (Not commenting on Magic Study 'cause I still want to read Poison Study and am avoiding spoilers. =D)

    You totally sold this book for me. Sister Reunion! Family Stuff! A gay character who isn't stereotyped! And it sounds like the weight issue is explored in a sensitive and thoughtful manner. =D Totally have to get my hands on this novel.

    And I concur with Christina's rec (Anything written by Headley is made of win). I do like North of Beautiful as well, but I think her Girl Overboard would explore the similar themes of family better? Or, just read anything by Justina Chen Headley, they're all epic. =D


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