Book Review: I Have No Secrets (Penny Joelson)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Electric Monkey

Pages: 336

Release Date: May 4th 2017

Summary (from Goodreads):

Jemma knows who did the murder. She knows because he told her. And she can’t tell anyone.

Fourteen-year-old Jemma has severe cerebral palsy. Unable to communicate or move, she relies on her family and carer for everything. She has a sharp brain and inquisitive nature, and knows all sorts of things about everyone. But when she is confronted with this terrible secret, she is utterly powerless to do anything. Though that might be about to change…

 

Review:

This book was so easy to read, I sped through it in a couple of days. The mystery is gripping but it was the character development that really kept me reading.

Jemma has severe cerebral palsy and is unable to communicate in any way. When her carer’s creepy boyfriend confesses to a murder she can’t tell anyone. But when someone comes up with a way that might let her communicate, Jemma realises she’s in great danger.

I loved Jemma as a character. It must be so hard to not be able to communicate at all and rely on other people to look after you and know what you want and need. When she’s ill she can’t tell anyone, she can’t say when she wants to go to bed or if she wants to watch TV. She has a great carer in Sarah and her foster mum and dad are perceptive and caring but they can’t get it right all the time and there’s a lot going on in the family. I’venot read a book like this before and it really made me think about what it must be like to be Jemma and how I’d behave around someone like her.

This was an emotional book but one section really made me tear up: when Jemma uses some new technology to communicate with her Mum for one of the first times. I had tears in my eyes for the whole scene. I thought it was written really well and it carried the weight and importance of that moment and it was a stand out scene in the book. I’d recommend people read it just for that moment alone.

This book was different to anything I’ve read before and I think it’s a really important read. The attitudes of people towards Jemma – the carer who treats her like a baby even though she’s a teenager, the policeman who thinks she’s making things up, the people who talk about her as if she’s not there – it all makes you think about how you’d behave in that situation and I think it’s really eye-opening to see things from Jemma’s point of view. This is a stunning debut and I’d recommend you all read it.

4