Secrets of Truth and Beauty by Megan Frazer (July 7th 2009—Hyperion)
Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5
Summary: “When Dara Cohen was little, she was a bright, shiny star. She was the cutest seven-year-old who ever sang Ella Fitzgerald, and it was no wonder she was crowned Little Miss Maine.
That was then. Now Dara's seventeen and she's not so little anymore. So not little, that when her classmates find out about her illustrious resume, their jaws drop. That's just one of her many problems. Another is that her control-freak mom won't get off her case about anything. Yet the one that hurts the most is the family secret: Dara has an older sister her parents tried to erase from their lives.
When a disastrously misinterpreted English project lands her in the counselor's office--and her parents pull her out of school to save face--Dara realizes she has a decision to make. She can keep following the rules and being misunderstood, or she can finally reach out to the sister she's never met--a sister who lives on a collective goat farm in Massachusetts. Dara chooses B. What follows is a summer of revelations, some heartbreaking, some joyous; of friendship, romance, a local beauty pageant; and choices. And as autumn approaches, Dara finds she may have to let go of everything she's taken for granted in order to figure out who she really is, and what family really means.”
Review: Secrets of Truth and Beauty was an enjoyable read that strayed a bit from the norm. While the original topic was about her weight, the plot also divided to that and homosexuality.
Dara grew up not knowing anything about her sister so when she decided to make an abrupt visit, she is shocked to find that her sister is a lesbian. And the farm that she resides is the place where gays can find escape from the harsher reality.
My favorite parts are when Owen comes into the scene. Slightly flamboyant, he brings excitement and happiness to the book. He exudes comfort into an otherwise awkward situation. Milo, however, Owen’s younger brother, is an enigma when it comes to Dara and him. I guess I wanted to see something more happening between the two before any serious takes place. In the end we were left with a cliffhanger between the two.
As for the family aspect I thought it was good, a bit too clean for me at the end—much too perfect in a sense, complete resignation from the parents that had originally been so against Dara. Her sister, Rachel, proved to be quite an interesting character to read. Her development through the years from hard-core troubled teen to cool, calm, collected was intriguing as the reader goes through the diaries that were provided. I loved how the road to acceptance was bumpy.
Overall: A nice spin on weight issues along with the surprise twist of including gays.
It’s a nice cover and all but I saw no relevance to the actual book. No where in the book does it include a boat scene that had any substantial reason.
Based on the ARC I have I had originally given the cover a C+. The colors were so sad and dull.
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