Books for Mature Teens and Adults

Theme: Secrets

Every Secret Thing - (ISBN: 978-0764200052)

by Ann Tatlock

Beth returns to teach at the private high school she attended years before. Questions about how one of the students’ most popular teachers disappeared resurfaces as she makes friends and hones her teaching. After you read, ask yourself: Was the re-emergence of Mr. Dutton a surprise for you? What signs were there that what the students were told about his death wasn’t totally true?

Secrets of the Sea - (ISBN: 978-0061474705)

by Nicholas Shakespeare

This Australian novel features two newcomers returning to a small town to deal with family problems. They meet, marry, and hope to have a family of their own. The wife, Merridy, takes in an orphan found in a shipwreck. Compare the portrayal of families here to those in the U.S.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - (ISBN: 978-0812968064)

by Lisa See

In this beautiful novel, two <i>laotong</i> (friends for life) enter arranged marriages to men of different social classes. Although the women suffer from bound feet, their their friendship and a form of secret writing (nu shu) sustain them through the struggles of married life, raising children, harsh winters, and war. They pass a Chinese fan back and forth for years, enjoying the messages written in the secret language. What special and secret things do you do with your friends?

The Secret History - (ISBN: 978-1400031702)

by Donna Tart

From the moment Richard tries to enroll in his classes at an exclusive East Coast school, he begins to understand the how different this place is. Placed in classes with a group of other classics “scholars,” he attends classes only with them; their group remains separated from the rest of the college. Although he socializes with the group, he senses that more has happened than he knows. When one of the group turns up dead, the rest of the novel speeds through his small-town burial, the group’s attempts to cover up their part in the crime, and the eventual effects that their bacchanalian play has on the rest of their lives. For an entrancing read you won’t be able to put down, try this secret history.

The Secret Life of Germs: What They Are, Why We Need Them, and How We Can Protect Ourselves Against Them - (ISBN: 978-0743421881)

by Philip M. Tierno Jr.

This very complete and informative take on the history, make-up, and diseases of germs is a non-fiction break for those interested in the secrets of staying healthy. Why does the author say that protecting yourself from germs too much is actually harmful?

Can You Keep a Secret - (ISBN: 978-0385338080)

by Sophie Kinsella

Dancing in the Dark - (ISBN: 978-1400079834)

by Caryl Phillips

Secrets and Other Stories of Suspense - (ISBN: 978-1410401267)

by Carolyn Hart

Smilla’s Sense of Snow - (ISBN: 978-0385315142)

by Peter Hoeg

The Book of Secrets: A Novel - (ISBN: 978-0312150686)

by M.G. Vassanji

Activities for this Theme

Try creating a secret code.


Attempt a Cryptogram game.


Talk to your children about a family “secret,” something that happened that no one wanted to divulge at the time it occurred. Children enjoy adding to their knowledge of family history, especially if it is a “forbidden” secret.