Published: January 28th 2014 by Allen & Unwin
Format: Paperback, 375 pages
Goodreads ● Booktopia ● Bookworld
EARTH. FIRE. AIR. WATER.
Nick Merrick is stretched to breaking point. He's trying to keep his grades sky-high or he won't get in to college. He's trying to keep his brother's business afloat or the Merricks will be out on the street. He's trying to keep the secret of where he's going in the evenings from his twin brother Gabriel - or he fears he'll lose his family. And he's trying to keep his mind off the hot, self-assured dancer who is his 'girlfriend's' partner.
And then Quinn takes to hanging around his sworn enemy, and an Elemental Guide is counting the hours until he can try again to kill the Merrick brothers. Storms are brewing. On all sides.
SECRETS IN THE WIND. DANGER IN THE AIR.
Wahhh it’s finished 🙁 Basically, Nick is the best, and Secret is awesome.
At its heart Secret is an amazing story, told from the points of view of the two most compelling characters in the series so far. Nick and Quinn are great protagonists, and their story is riveting.
Secret is a wonderful accomplishment, not only because of the amazing character development, but because of the sensitivity and delicacy Kemmerer employs when writing about the difficult positions both Quinn and Nick are in. Quinn has an atrocious family life and Nick is struggling to come out about his sexuality to his all-male family. The importance of familial relationships and friendship is again pivotal, as are themes of trust and, of course, secrets.
Nick has a lot to deal with throughout this book – he’s always been the solid, dependable, quiet one, and he’s afraid his plans for college and sexuality will rock the boat too much. He has pressures at home and at school, and feels like he’s responsible for the family business because he handles the finances. The Merricks have always had this strong support network and it’s heartbreaking to see that while Nick wants to be there for everyone else, he doesn’t think his family will support him. He’s worried they’ll kick him out or stop talking to him, which are fears I can understand, but it made me sad because I’ve always thought the way the boys have one another’s backs is amazing. Michael’s role in Secret, as in the other books, is brilliant: he’s so supportive and encouraging. I can’t really understand why all the brothers have, at one point or another, thought he wouldn’t be there for them. He’s a great parental figure and I can’t wait to see things from his side in the next book.
Quinn is interesting and I was totally unprepared for the way Secret changed how I look at her. Being in her headspace is difficult because she’s very different from me, but her fears and vulnerabilities are just as important as Nick’s. Secret allows readers to finally get a better understanding of Quinn, who’s always been a little hard to like (for me anyway). She has so much going on and I was continually surprised at how much she keeps from those around her, especially the people who could help her. I understand why she does it, but it’s hard to read about all the same.
Now we get to the two love interests: Tyler and Adam! Tyler surprised me because I’m so used to thinking of him as a bad guy, but Kemmerer does an awesome job at describing how he probably thinks the Merricks are the bad guys and he’s the hero. But for me, Adam stole the show. He’s this perfect mix of confident and vulnerable, flirty and serious, and I don’t blame Nick for one moment for how he feels around him. They have a wonderful, supportive relationship and I loved how Adam could take things in stride and let Nick make his own decisions.
In terms of the story, there is little progression in terms of the series arc, which is not unexpected since the earlier books has also focussed more on character development than traditional plot development. Things are definitely ramping up though, and I can’t wait to see what the author has in store for us with the next book. Understandably, there’s also very little extra world-building that occurs in Secret – we don’t really find out anything new about the Elemental powers or anything, or even how the Guides are structured. We do, however, learn a few vital things about the past, which I suspect will all come into play as the series wraps up.
Secret is a great book, and fans who have loved the series from the beginning will be champing at the bit to read the newest offering. To those new to the series, I have these words for you: Earth, Air, Fire, Water. Four brothers, four elemental powers. And really, they should be the only words you need to urge you to read this series 😉