cover image The Secret Keeper

The Secret Keeper

Gloria Whelan. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $12.95 (186pp) ISBN 978-0-679-80572-4

As ``keeper,'' or babysitter, for 10-year-old Matt, Annie is at first impressed with the Beaches, a prestigious summer community on Lake Michigan. But before long, she begins to see something disturbing behind the resort's clannish unity. The wealthy families have been coming to the Beaches every summer for generations, and she and Matt are outsiders. Matt's mother was from one of the Beaches' prominent families, but she married a local and later died in a car crash. Matt's father is hated and feared by the Beaches' residents, which puzzles Annie at first when she secretly allows Matt to see him. The older man proves dangerous and charming, and ultimately kidnaps his son. The men of the Beaches rescue Matt, but Annie realizes in horror that they have dealt with the ``problem'' permanently . Fearing for her life, Annie flees the security of the exclusive resort, uncertain that she has made the right decision. Containing many elements of a modern-day Gothic, Whelan's thoroughly satisfying novel is sure to produce shivers. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)