Secrets of Truth & Beauty
Disney-Hyperion Books; 978-1423117117
When Dara Cohen was little, she was a bright, shiny star. She was the cutest seven-year-old who ever sang Ella Fitzgerald, and it was no wonder she was crowned Little Miss Maine.
That was then. Now Dara’s seventeen and she’s not so little anymore. So not little, that when her classmates find out about her illustrious resume, their jaws drop. That’s just one of her many problems. Another is that her control-freak mom won’t get off her case about anything. Yet the one that hurts the most is the family secret: Dara has an older sister her parents tried to erase from their lives.
When a disastrously misinterpreted English project lands her in the counselor’s office–and her parents pull her out of school to save face–Dara realizes she has a decision to make. She can keep following the rules and being misunderstood, or she can finally reach out to the sister she’s never met–a sister who lives on a collective goat farm in Massachusetts. Dara chooses B. What follows is a summer of revelations, some heartbreaking, some joyous; of friendship, romance, a local beauty pageant; and choices. And as autumn approaches, Dara finds she may have to let go of everything she’s taken for granted in order to figure out who she really is, and what family really means.
Reviews & Accolades
“In a beautifully written coming-of-age story, first-time author Frazer shows how an overweight teen gets her groove back. . . . Readers will quickly become intrigued with the unraveling of family secrets and the cast of memorable characters Dara meets.” Starred review – Publisher’s Weekly
“This is a highly enjoyable read. There are some great references to singer Cass Elliot, who becomes a positive role model for Dara. The teen’s relationship with her parents, particularly with her controlling mother, is tense and believable, and the characterizations of the eccentric residents of the goat farm are entertaining and appealing.” – School Library Journal
“This quiet novel is a story of hope that will have readers of all body sizes and sexual orientations cheering Frazer’s honesty when it comes to tough issues.” 4 ½ stars – Romantic Times Book Reviews
“Ms. Frazer crafts a story that is not only about Dara but about society’s perception and treatment of overweight people and the concept of body image. A quick read that makes you want to know about Dara, her sister and their family, both biological and the one of their own creation.” – Bedtime Booktalks
“Megan Frazer’s brilliantly written debut novel delves into some very difficult experiences teens go through growing up. The statements made here about prejudice and accepting others are universal and important. The story is organic and stirring, and life on the Jezebel Goat Farm is significant. Dara and Owen are characters like so many young adults today, and this is the kind of book that can really make a difference for anyone struggling to find themselves. I wish there were more novels like SECRETS OF TRUTH & BEAUTY.” – Melanie Smith, TeenReads.com
Named to the 2010 Rainbow List.
Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Autumn 2009 Kids’ Indie Next List: “Some words to describe Dara might be ‘robust,’ ‘voluptuous,’ and ‘Rubenesque.’ These would be the kind words. Words to describe her family might be ‘controlling,’ ‘demanding,’ or ‘unsympathetic.’ But there is more to these characters than just those labels. I enjoyed this book for its honesty and the gradual self-awareness that Dara experiences.” —Liesl Freudenstein, The Boulder Book Store, Boulder, CO
Named to the New England Children’s Book Sellers Advisory Council’s Spring Top Ten for 2009.
Gold Star from TeensReadToo.
Where to get Secrets of Truth & Beauty
As a librarian, Megan really thinks you should get it at your local library. (Please note that not every library is in WorldCat. If it doesn’t show up locally, call or visit your local library and ask if they have it. If they don’t, chances are they can get it through Inter Library Loan.)
If you want to own it, she recommends you buy it at your local independent bookstore.
Check out the German cover!