cover image The Art of Secrets

The Art of Secrets

James Klise. Algonquin Young Readers, $16.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-61620-195-1

In his intriguing second book, Klise (Love Drugged) tells the story of a Pakistani family rebuilding their lives after their apartment is destroyed in a fire set by an arsonist. Coming to their aid, students from sophomore Saba Khan’s prestigious Chicago high school plan a community fundraiser to help replace what her family lost. But when one of the items in the auction is reported missing—a collection of drawings supposedly painted by reclusive (real-life) outsider artist Henry Darger, worth half a million dollars—fingers are pointed and rumors circulate about who might have stolen it. Through emails, texts, journal entries, interview transcripts, newspaper clips, and official documents that pull in the perspectives of students, teachers, and others, Klise simultaneously reveals details about what might have transpired while allowing characters’ darker motives—prejudice, envy, greed—to emerge. Astute readers may solve the whodunits early on, but the question of “how far would [people] be willing to go to make [their] dreams come true” propels the book forward to its scandalous conclusion. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Apr.)