The Secrets Act

By Alison Weatherby (Chicken House)

The Secrets Act

Review by Ahmed
Alison Weatherby creates an intense, nail-biting thriller by combining friendship, loyalty, secrets, and a dash of romance into one intricate plot. Pearl and Ellen work at the top-secret Bletchley Park: Pearl is the youngest messenger and Ellen is trying to decode encrypted messages. Their job is to help with the war effort. Slowly but surely, they become friends but when Pearl’s crush Richard introduces them to Dennis - a dashing wealthy young man - things seem to go wrong. When Richard is found dead, a collection of clues confounds the two friends, and they are thrown into a plot to end the British war effort. With spies compromising Bletchley Park, Pearl and Ellen must race against a ticking bomb to find who killed Richard and whether every friend is what they seem. This historical mystery grips the reader and is perfect for all ages, especially aspiring young women looking to the giant females of the past. 

Review by Alec
This book is a very good book for people that are interested about the things the women had to do throughout WW2, such as being a codebreaker or a spy. It shows a thrilling adventure and background to the characters Pearl and Ellen who are workers for the top-secret code breaking HQ in Bletchley Park. The book is a very trustworthy source that also lets out a splash of romance between Ellen and Dennis. My favourite moment is where the tragedy strikes, and they get caught with the unquestionable thoughts of who they could go to now for help without baiting out there Headquarters.

Review by Jordyn
I enjoyed this a book thoroughly, and yes even though it is pitched to YA audiences, I would consider it a must read for any and all mystery enthusiasts, history lovers - definitely those interested in women’s roles during wartime), and even to those who may not have much knowledge of times of war (coming from someone who doesn’t, I found it to be quite engaging).

Set in the darkness of war-strung Britain, the novel follows Ellen and Pearl, two young (and rather reckless) codebreakers, who find themselves in the turmoil of solving their mysterious death, uncovering the spy in the process. They have not a care for their own safety nor their wellbeing, which could lead them to imprisonment, which (at that time) lead to execution.

The novel itself is so well-constructed. It intertwines takes of teenage friendship, wartime tragedy, love and is able to portray it in such a way that you truly understand each character, without making it seem to fantasy like. One of the main characters displays neurodivergent characteristics, in a realistic way that fit the time of the novel. LGBT themes are also occasionally scattered, but once again, are portrayed in ways that fit the time.

One thing that I loved about this book, that I haven’t found in any other is this sense of overlying doom. It’s presented in such a way that even during the joyful moments, there’s always a constant reminder that it is still wartime Britain.

All in all, this was a very enjoyable read, and I highly recommend it.

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