The Art of Secrets: Book summary and reviews of The Art of Secrets by James Klise

The Art of Secrets

by James Klise

The Art of Secrets by James Klise
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2014
    272 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

A Fire Destroys ...
A Treasure Appears ...
A Crime Unfolds ....

When Saba Khan's apartment burns in a mysterious fire, possibly a hate crime, her Chicago high school rallies around her. Her family moves rent-free into a luxury apartment, Saba's Facebook page explodes, and she starts (secretly) dating a popular boy. Then a quirky piece of art donated to a school fund-raising effort for the Khans is revealed to be an unknown work by a famous artist, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and Saba's life turns upside down again. Should Saba's family have all that money? Or should it go to the students who found the art? Or to the school? And just what caused that fire? Greed, jealousy, and suspicion create an increasingly tangled web as students and teachers alike debate who should get the money and begin to point fingers and make accusations.

The true story of the fire that sets events in motion and what happens afterward gradually comes together in an innovative narrative made up of journal entries, interviews, articles, letters, text messages, and other documents.

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Book Awards

  • award image Edgar Awards, 2015

Reviews

Media Reviews

Edgar Award Winner, Best YA Novel 2015
Chicago Public Library "Best of the Best" 2014
Booklist Editors' Choice, Books for Youth 2014
Booklist Top Ten Crime Fiction for Youth 2014

"Intriguing ... Astute readers may solve the whodunits early on, but the question of 'how far would be willing to go to make dreams come true' propels the book forward to its scandalous conclusion." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. The incidents at Highsmith School will stay on readers' minds long after the last page." - Booklist

"Keeping up with all the different perspectives can be daunting, and some entries don't always contribute to the momentum. For fans of realistic fiction with plot twists, mysteries, and epistolary-type novels." - School Library Journal

"Klise doesn't quite pull off the trick his clever, appealing villains do. Enjoyable but inessential." - Kirkus Reviews

"This mystery is well crafted and will leave readers guessing as to the identity of the culprit to the end. This is an excellent addition to collections where mysteries are popular and will give readers much to think and talk about." - VOYA

"This darkly ambiguous, provocative novel highlights several themes worthy of discussion, including the destructive power of secrets and the politics of generosity." - The Horn Book

"Where there's smoke, there's fire ... and apparently, valuable art! When the Khan family's home is mysteriously burned to the ground, the funds from a priceless painting come to their rescue. Through unique journal entries, articles, and interviews, a tangled web of unusual secrets unfolds." - Teen Vogue

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James Klise is the author of Love Drugged, which was an ALA Stonewall Honor Book and received glowing reviews. He lives in Chicago, where he works as a high school librarian. His short stories have appeared in many journals, including StoryQuarterly, New Orleans Review, Ascent, and Southern Humanities Review. The Art of Secrets is his second novel.

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