Title: Sharing Secrets
Author: Matthew J. Metzger
Publisher: Finch Books
Length: 228 Pages
Category: YA/Teen Fiction, Contemporary
At a Glance: This novel is brilliantly done from start to finish. Grappling with real life issues, the author creates a story that grips you by the heart and never really lets you go.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Adam has a secret. But maybe Charlie has a few of his own.
Adam’s got a secret and nobody knows.
He’s promised himself never to get into relationships and risk revealing it, but Charlie Fielding has a way of getting under one’s skin. One party, one kiss and Adam is faced with a horrible choice—tell Charlie the truth or keep quiet. And either way, lose the only friends he’s had in years.
But Charlie might have a secret, too—and everybody knows but Adam.
Review: I firmly believe that author Matthew J. Metzger is one of the most important voices in YA literature today. Not only that but his voice clearly defines what it means to be transgender in a world that rages against those who seek to simply live truthfully. He strips down and exposes the raw emotions that accompany the life of anyone who has been born in the wrong skin—in the wrong body. And in this latest novel, Sharing Secrets, he goes one step further and shows us the overwhelming fear of a teenage harboring a secret so deadly that he cuts himself off from life, from love, from ever hoping to be “normal”.
Sharing Secrets is just incredibly powerful because it’s steeped in everyday reality. It doesn’t take much to understand or accept the secrets Adam and Charlie have as plausible and real. From the dialogue to the daily routines, these two boys will become as familiar to you as your next-door neighbor. On the outside, they seem to have normal, everyday worries that any teen could have, but once you are given a closer look, you realize that their lives are crashing and burning around them, and all they truly want is someone to love, someone to hold them, someone to look beyond their secrets and see the scared person beneath.
Charlie is transgender, Adam is gay and both are out at school. They have close friends and, for the most part, are not bullied but supported by their peers. Adam loves his adopted parents and feels their love in return. Charlie, unfortunately, does not have that same type of parental support. When his dad died a few years back, Charlie lost the only parent who supported his identifying as he really is—a boy trapped in a girl’s body. Having his own deep-seated anger issues, along with a healthy dose of depression, he lives with a mother who neither supports his gender nor is able to hide her own anger and pain. Charlie is holding on as best as he can, and he wants only one thing—Adam. But Adam has kept himself apart from the dating world forever. And for good reason. The secret he has buried inside himself has already nearly ruined his life once before, and he will not let it destroy his second chance at a high school where no one even suspects. Charlie and Adam are on a collision course with each other. They will either have to confess their worst fears and secrets to each other and hope that there is understanding, or walk away from the deep emotions they both have growing inside for each other.
This novel is brilliantly done from start to finish. Grappling with real life issues, the author creates a story that grips you by the heart and never really lets you go. The talent Mr. Metzger has is reflected in how well he crafts and gives life to characters that grow and change as the story unfolds. His are not cookie-cutter, cardboard dolls, but living, breathing people with real world problems that are life altering and can be emotionally shattering. But in this novel, he carefully balances these heavy issues with compassionate and caring friends who are loyal and never allow Charlie or Adam to fall too far. Friends who are willing and able to give both boys a kick in the proverbial ass when it’s needed the most.
I wish I could go into more detail for you about how gorgeous this story really is, but to do so would reveal those hard kept secrets, and that would truly ruin it for you. Instead, I will encourage you to read this wonderful novel, Sharing Secrets. I cannot say enough about how powerful a story it truly is.
You can buy Sharing Secrets here: