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Keeping You a Secret by Julie Anne Peters: A Guide to the Themes and Characters


Keeping You a Secret by Julie Anne Peters: A Review




If you are looking for a young adult novel that explores the challenges and joys of being a lesbian in high school, you might want to check out Keeping You a Secret by Julie Anne Peters. This book tells the story of Holland Jaeger, a senior who falls in love with a new girl in school, Cece Goddard, and has to deal with the consequences of coming out to her family, friends, and herself. In this article, I will give you a summary of the plot, an analysis of the main themes, and an evaluation of the book.




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Introduction




Keeping You a Secret is a novel by Julie Anne Peters, an American author who writes mainly for young adults. She has published more than 20 books, many of which feature LGBTQ+ characters and issues. Some of her most popular works include Luna, Between Mom and Jo, Rage, and Lies My Girlfriend Told Me. Peters has won several awards for her writing, such as the Lambda Literary Award, the Stonewall Honor Book Award, and the Colorado Book Award.


The novel was published in 2003 by Little, Brown and Company. It is based on Peters' own experience of coming out as a lesbian when she was in her thirties. She wanted to write a book that would help young people who are struggling with their sexual orientation and identity. She also wanted to show that being gay is not a tragedy, but a natural and beautiful part of life.


The book is important because it addresses some of the issues that LGBTQ+ youth face today, such as homophobia, bullying, rejection, isolation, and self-hate. It also offers hope and inspiration to those who are looking for love and acceptance. It shows that being true to yourself is the best way to be happy and fulfilled.


Summary of the plot




Holland's life before meeting Cece




The protagonist of the book is Holland Jaeger, a 17-year-old girl who seems to have everything going for her. She is smart, popular, athletic, and ambitious. She has a boyfriend named Seth, who is kind and supportive. She has a close relationship with her mother, who is a successful lawyer. She has a clear plan for her future: she wants to go to college and become a lawyer like her mother.


However, Holland is not as happy as she appears. She feels bored and restless with her life. She doesn't enjoy spending time with Seth anymore. She doesn't know what she really wants to do with her life. She feels pressured by her mother to follow her footsteps. She also has a strained relationship with her stepfather and stepsister.


Holland's attraction to Cece




Holland's life changes when she meets Cece Goddard, a new transfer student who joins her art class. Cece is confident, outspoken, artistic, and openly gay. She wears a rainbow pin on her backpack and doesn't care what others think of her. She immediately catches Holland's attention and curiosity.


Holland feels drawn to Cece and starts to develop feelings for her. She is confused and scared by her attraction, as she has never questioned her sexuality before. She tries to deny and hide her feelings, but they only grow stronger. She finds herself spending more time with Cece, talking to her, texting her, and hanging out with her. She realizes that she likes Cece more than a friend, and that she might be gay.


Holland's coming out and its consequences




Holland decides to come out to Seth and break up with him. He is hurt and angry, but he accepts her decision. He tells her that he still cares for her and wants to be friends. Holland feels relieved and guilty at the same time.


Holland and Cece start dating and fall in love. They are happy and supportive of each other. They share their dreams, fears, hopes, and secrets. They also face some challenges, such as dealing with homophobic comments, rumors, and stares from their classmates and teachers.


Holland's biggest challenge is coming out to her family. She is afraid of losing their love and approval. She decides to tell her mother first, hoping that she will understand and support her. However, her mother reacts badly and kicks her out of the house. She tells Holland that she is ashamed of her and that she doesn't want to see her again. She also forbids Holland from seeing Cece or contacting her stepsister.


Holland is devastated and heartbroken. She has nowhere to go and no one to turn to. She ends up staying with Cece at her aunt's house. She also loses contact with most of her friends, who either ignore or reject her. She feels alone and betrayed.


Holland tries to cope with her situation by focusing on her schoolwork and applying for scholarships. She also gets support from Cece, who encourages her to be strong and hopeful. She also meets some new friends who are also LGBTQ+, such as Faith, a bisexual girl who runs a Lesbigay club at school, and Leah, a transgender girl who is Cece's best friend.


Eventually, Holland manages to reconcile with some of the people in her life who hurt her. She talks to Seth and apologizes for hurting him. He forgives her and tells her that he is happy for her. He also helps her get back in touch with her stepsister, who misses her and wants to see her again.


Holland also confronts her mother and tells her how she feels. She tells her that she loves Cece and that she is proud of who she is. She also tells her that she wants to go to college and study art, not law. She asks her mother to accept her and love her for who she is.


Her mother doesn't respond well at first, but she eventually softens up and admits that she loves Holland too. She tells Holland that she is sorry for hurting her and that she wants to try to understand her better. She also tells Holland that she can come back home if she wants.


Holland decides to stay with Cece for a while, but she agrees to visit her mother more often. She hopes that they can rebuild their relationship over time.


Analysis of the main themes




Identity and self-discovery




One of the main themes of the book is identity and self-discovery. The book shows how Holland goes through a process of discovering and accepting her sexual orientation and identity. She starts off as a straight girl who follows the expectations of others, but then realizes that she is a lesbian who wants to follow her own path.


The book portrays this process as both difficult and rewarding. It shows the challenges that Holland faces, such as confusion, fear, denial, rejection, isolation, and self-hate. It also shows the joys that Holland experiences, such as love, happiness, freedom, confidence, and self-love.


The book also shows how Holland's identity affects other aspects of her life, such as her relationships, career choices, hobbies, and values. It shows how Holland changes as a person as she learns more about herself.


Love and relationships




Another main theme of the book is love and relationships. The book shows how Holland's relationship with Cece helps her grow as a person and cope with the challenges in her life. It shows how Cece supports Holland emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually.


# Article with HTML formatting (continued) Family and acceptance




A third main theme of the book is family and acceptance. The book shows how Holland's family reacts to her coming out and how it affects their relationship. It shows how Holland's mother rejects her and kicks her out of the house, while her stepfather and stepsister try to support her. It also shows how Holland's biological father, who left when she was a baby, tries to reconnect with her.


The book also shows how Holland seeks acceptance from other sources, such as Cece's family, who welcome her with open arms, and the LGBTQ+ community, who offer her friendship and solidarity. It also shows how Holland learns to accept herself and be proud of who she is.


Evaluation of the book




Strengths




The book has many strengths that make it a worthwhile read. Some of them are:



  • It has a realistic and relatable plot that captures the experiences and emotions of many LGBTQ+ youth.



  • It has a diverse and likable cast of characters that represent different aspects of the LGBTQ+ spectrum.



  • It has a simple and engaging writing style that appeals to young readers.



  • It has a positive and hopeful message that encourages self-love and acceptance.



  • It has a romantic and sweet love story that warms the heart.



Weaknesses




The book also has some weaknesses that could be improved. Some of them are:



  • It has some clichés and stereotypes that might seem unrealistic or offensive to some readers.



  • It has some scenes and dialogues that might seem cheesy or melodramatic to some readers.



  • It has some plot holes and inconsistencies that might confuse or annoy some readers.



  • It has some editing errors and typos that might distract or irritate some readers.



  • It has some outdated references and slang that might seem irrelevant or outdated to some readers.



Recommendations




I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in reading a young adult novel that deals with LGBTQ+ issues. I think this book is suitable for readers who are 14 years old or older, as it contains some mature themes and language. I think this book is especially helpful for readers who are questioning their sexuality or identity, as it might offer them some guidance and comfort. I think this book is also enjoyable for readers who are looking for a cute and uplifting love story.


Conclusion




In conclusion, Keeping You a Secret by Julie Anne Peters is a novel that tells the story of Holland Jaeger, a high school senior who falls in love with a new girl in school, Cece Goddard, and comes out as a lesbian. The book explores the themes of identity, love, family, and acceptance. The book has many strengths, such as its realistic plot, diverse characters, engaging writing style, positive message, and sweet romance. The book also has some weaknesses, such as its clichés, melodrama, plot holes, errors, and outdated references. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in reading a young adult novel that deals with LGBTQ+ issues.


I hope you enjoyed reading this article and learned something new. If you want to read the book yourself, you can download it for free from the Internet Archive . You can also buy it from Amazon or other online stores. Happy reading!


FAQs





  • What is the genre of the book?



The book is a young adult novel that belongs to the genre of LGBTQ+ fiction.


  • Who is the target audience of the book?



The book is aimed at young readers who are 14 years old or older, especially those who are interested in LGBTQ+ issues or stories.


  • What is the tone of the book?



The book has a conversational and informal tone, as it is written in the first-person point of view of Holland. The book also uses humor, sarcasm, and emotion to convey Holland's voice and personality.


  • What is the setting of the book?



The book is set in a suburban town in Colorado in the early 2000s.


  • What is the main message of the book?



The main message of the book is that being true to yourself and loving yourself is the best way to be happy and fulfilled. The book also encourages acceptance and respect for diversity and individuality.


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