Secret by Brigid Kemmerer

cover image

Elemental, bk 4. Kensington Teen, ISBN 9780758294371.
(Age 14+) Recommended. Paranormal. Gay and lesbian themes. Nick Merrick's element is air, but it is not the elements that are worrying him. It is the real issues that he is facing at home. Should he open the envelopes to see if he has an offer from a college? How can he think of leaving town when the family business seems to be going under? Then there is Adam, Quinn's dance partner. How can he face his family with his secret?
Kemmerer has done it again in this story - an engrossing combination of real life issues and paranormal weather. Readers will be blown away by Nick's story. Nick's secret was revealed in a short novella, Breathless, and Secret expands on the story. Nick has never had any problems attracting girls, least of all Quinn, but when he meets Adam he goes through a struggle realising that he is gay and that he wants a relationship with Adam. However the dilemma of how to come out to his family, especially his twin Gabriel, is a fraught one for him. Kemmerer deals with this very sensitively and takes the reader through the emotions and fears that a gay boy must deal with. It is not at all an easy ride for Nick, who must decide that he is the most important person in his own life and that he can't always put other people first. Excellent writing makes Nick's fears and his brother's and Hunter's reactions realistic with each displaying strengths and weaknesses.
At the same time Kemmerer explores what it is like to be homeless for Quinn, when her mother and her older brother both let her down terribly. Quinn's problems are quite distressing for the reader and she too has to decide that she is a person worthy of respect and love. The introduction of Tyler as a character who may have a good side to him is thought provoking as Nick has to come to terms with what forgiveness means.
This book is a winner with its mix of real issues, the paranormal and Nick's air element showing its strength against danger. A fabulous conclusion has left me gasping for the next book in the series.
Pat Pledger