Book Review: The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart is a middle grade novel. Eleven-year-old Reuben spends his days exploring, hiding, and practicing parkour among the abandoned buildings of the Lower Downs as a way to escape the rough times that have befallen him and his mom, but his discovery of an extraordinary antique pocket watch changes everything. When Reuben finds that the watch has the power to turn him invisible, he's propelled on the adventure of a lifetime. Now Reuben is being pursued by a group of dangerous men called the Directions, and someone called The Smoke. They all want the watch, and with the help of new friends, it's up to Reuben to unravel the mysteries surrounding it and protect the city from evil.

The Secret Keepers is a middle grade read, and as descriptive and long as the Mysterious Benedict Society books. I really enjoyed Reuben and his sweet nature. His concern for others, like his mother, really made my love his character. Penny and particularly her doll, cracked me up and kept me reading when I might have staggered. The descriptions of the watch, the Smoke, the Directions and other aspects of the story are very detailed- but somehow the world building did not feel complete. I liked the interplay of the characters and the adventure, no matter how misguided some of the efforts to protect others were on occasion. I got a bot bogged down in the length and descriptions, but think that was more my headspace when I started the book rather than faults within the writing.

The Secret Keepers is a wonderful adventure, and fans of the Mysterious Benedict Society will gladly get lost in Reuben’s adventures. Less adept readers might be intimidated by the book length, or the amount of description versus dialogue. I would suggest trying the audio book or reading aloud as a family for those that really want to read the book, but are not getting lost in the story. I admit that I had trouble fully engaging in the story, because I get lost in characters and dialogue much easier than this style of writing, but found listing to this style much more engaging than reading.  
Post a Comment