Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Review - A Secret Shared

Title:   A Secret Shared
Author:  Patricia MacLachlan
Publisher:  Katherine Tegen Books
Genre:   Middle Grade
Format:  Audiobook ARC
No. of Pages:   160
Date of Publication:   September 28, 2021
My Rating:   4 Stars


Newbery Medal–winning author Patricia MacLachlan paints a moving portrait of what it means to be a family, the power of love, and the importance of bringing the truth out into the light, in this beautiful and profound story about adoption.

Nora and Ben’s younger sister Birdy loves to keep secrets. She surprises her family more than once: She hides a kitten in her room. She writes a beautiful poem. One day Birdy watches her mother spit into a tube, ready to send it off to find out more about herself and where her family came from. Birdy spits into a tube, too, when no one sees her.

But when the test results come back, they are a surprise. Birdy is seemingly not related to Nora and Ben’s parents. But if she is adopted, how could that have happened without the children knowing?

Nora and Ben must learn when to keep a secret, and who to go to for help—and eventually, how to solve this secret for the entire family.

Sarah, Plain and Tall. It has been decades since I had seen that movie but it made a huge impact on me. To see Patricia MacLachlan's name as the author of this book easily drew my attention. I got this ARC as a digitized audiobook for review and found it to be a delightful read.

Birdy sees her mother spitting in a tube. Her mother explains why she did it. This raises Birdy's curiosity and so she sneaks and does it. This gives opportunity to let Birdy learn that she is adopted. She has always felt loved by her parents and by her siblings Nora and Ben. However, as a child who already kept secrets, how will she keep this one?

There are many, many blended families, families brought together by adoption. There are mixes of birth children and adopted children. This book would be a wonderful read to teach children why adoption is so valuable. So necessary. It would also be a good tool to prove that love transcends any lines. That secrets are not always necessary. That truth might make things easier.

If Nora and Ben learn Birdy's secret will this keep the family close or will this fracture them? 

Many thanks to Katherine Tegen Books and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


Patricia MacLachlan was born on the prairie, and to this day carries a small bag of prairie dirt with her wherever she goes to remind her of what she knew first. She is the author of many well-loved novels and picture books, including Sarah, Plain and Tall, winner of the Newbery Medal; its sequels, Skylark and Caleb's Story; and Three Names, illustrated by Mike Wimmer. She lives in western Massachusetts.

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