January 28, 2014

Secret - Brigid Kemmerer

[This is the fourth book in the Elemental series. If you're interested in learning more, you can read my reviews of Storm (Book 1), Spark (Book 2), Spirit (Book 3) and the novellas (Elemental, Fearless, Breathless).]

Secret book cover Brigid Kemmerer
Secret by Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Elemental #4
Publisher: Kensington Teen
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Source/Format: Netgalley (Thank you!) || e-galley
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects my review.]

Nick Merrick is stretched to the breaking point. Keep his grades sky-high or he’ll never escape his hometown. Keep his brother’s business going or the Merricks will be out on the street. Keep the secret of where he’s going in the evenings from his own twin—-or he’ll lose his family. Keep his mind off the hot, self-assured dancer who’s supposed to be his “girlfriend’s” partner.

Of course there’s also the homicidal freak Quinn has taken to hanging around, and the Elemental Guide counting the hours until he can try again to kill the Merrick brothers. There’s a storm coming. From all sides. And then some.

Secret is a powerful read. I knew I would enjoy it, but my strong emotional response was unexpected. The situations Nick and Quinn face are not without heavy consequences, and I admire Brigid Kemmerer for depicting them in an honest, authentic way.

I absolutely love Nick Merrick, especially after reading Secret. If you’ve read the novella Breathless (which you should), you’ll know that Nick is struggling with his sexuality. Secret bears witness as Nick accepts the truth about himself, and considers the consequences for everyone around him. The portrayal of his torment, complete with pain, frustration and uncertainty, was so realistic.

Nick is also dealing with the pressure he puts on himself to do what everyone would want him to do in any given situation. He’s always been loyal, dependable and good, so it’s impossible for him to even think of doing what he wants. It takes some time, but Nick eventually realizes that it’s not healthy or wise to be living your life for others – which is a takeaway for all readers.

Of course, there’s one silver lining in this dark cloud – Quinn’s dance partner, Adam. Their relationship unfolds so organically, and their personalities mesh in just the right ways. The best part is witnessing their honesty with one another, as it will absolutely warm your heart.

Quinn, Becca’s best friend and Nick’s “girlfriend” also has secrets. Quinn puts on a brave face but her home life is filled with abuse and heartbreak, which have stomped her self-worth into the ground. It takes time for her to accept that she’s got worth, and that being occasionally vulnerable is okay. 

This might have something to do with Tyler, a familiar character who pops up in full force in Secret. Tyler is not on the friendliest terms with the Merricks, which is why his involvement with Quinn is questionable. Readers will know him as a tough, bad boy, but this book reveals that he’s vulnerable, kind and got some secrets of his own.

Have I mentioned that my adoration for the Merrick brothers continues? Because it does! Michael, Gabriel, Chris and even their unintended "brother" Hunter, are awesome. Their reactions to Nick's secret are all very different, which was a realistic choice. 

Secret bounces back and forth between being very introspective and packed with action. While readers spend majority of the time in Nick’s or Quinn’s head as they deal with their secrets, the book’s pacing never falters. But, of course, the Guides are still after them, so there’s a bit of action at the start and end too!

Reading Secret was incredible. There was just so much raw emotion pouring off these pages (and I'm almost certain Nick used his abilities to feed the feelings to me through the air). While Secret might not have eclipsed Spark as my favorite of the series, it came pretty darn close.

Which of the five elements (Earth, Air, Fire, Water or Heart) would you want to have?

This question is so hard, as each element has advantages and disadvantages! However, I think I would go with Earth. It feels solid, grounded and steady -- but also able to catch you off guard and trip you up when it's necessary. Plus, I'd really like to have a beautiful backyard garden one day, so having the ability to control Earth might help!


  1. Yours is the only blog I've seen feature this series, but I'm so tempted by the positive reviews you've shared with us! I think it sounds really intriguing - and different. If I could have one of the elements, I'd totally have water :)

  2. I love this review ;____; I kind of skimmed it, because I have yet to write my own review for this book, but I agree. NICK IS AWESOME. He's definitey my favourite brother, next to Michael. This book made me cry so many times, I was not prepared.

    I'd totally have the Fire element. Or perhaps Water. Either of the two, because I think they'd be awesome, and also in Avatar: The Last Airbender those guys can do some awesome things. But let's be honest, I'd be happy with any of the powers!

  3. SO SO SO jealous that you've read this already!! I love this series and I can't wait to read Nick's story. I love that each Merrick reacts to Nick's secret differently, because that is authentic!

    I don't know that I can believe that Tyler has a vulnerable side. My skeptibrow is on high alert with this news! Haha


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