Review 49: I Have No Secrets


I Have No Secrets
by Penny Joelson
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Releasing on November 5th, 2019
YA FICTION—Mystery, Thriller, Crime




Jemma knows who the murderer is. She knows because he told her.

He thought his secret was safe because Jemma can’t speak or move.

But Jemma observes all kinds of things about everyone around her. His secret is just one of them.

And when a new technology means she may be able to communicate and reveal all she knows, Jemma no longer feels powerless in the face of this deadly secret. It’s a race against time before the killer acts again…or tries to stop her.




Okay, first of all, I’m really happy to know that this book is releasing on my birthday. SQUEEE! for birthday books!

Though this book started out fairly slow in the beginning, it had full reason to. Because of the main character’s disability, this book is very character-driven. What that means is that the plot won’t move unless she makes a plot-shift herself, which can sometimes be an off-putter to some readers.

However, after those first few chapters, the pace quickly picked up. Through Jemma’s view, we’re introduced to discrimination against those with disabilities, as well as a suspect of murder and kidnapping. We’re given hints and clues throughout the text that lead us in one direction, only to then turn in another.

I found that, while in a time of desperation and worry, these characters were still able to continue every day. I find that to be an important part of this story, as life doesn’t just stop when tragedy strikes, and I think that was really important to this story.

I also really loved that we’re given a little bit of insight into scientific research being done to help those who can’t speak. Be it from one disability to another, I think that was also a really huge part of this novel that spoke volumes of what the potential could be for these individuals.

All in all, I did really enjoy this novel. I look forward to reading more from Penny Joelson in the future, and I hope that all of y’all give this book a fighting chance. For that, I rate it 4 stars.



PennyJoelson-225x300I live in Hertfordshire, just north of London, England, with my husband and two children. I’ve loved reading and writing stories since I was a child. I’ve always been fascinated by communication issues and did voluntary work from my late teens with children with disabilities, including deaf-blind children and children with cerebral palsy. I had the idea of writing a thriller in which the person who knows the identity of a murdered is unable to communicate, and Jemma and ‘I Have No Secrets’ was born. As I began to write, Jemma’s voice felt so strong I felt almost as if she was dictating the book to me.

As well as being an author, I have worked as a teacher, a support teacher for hearing-impaired children, a reading recovery teacher, an adult education teacher, a teacher of adults recovering from mental health problems, and currently as a Creative Writing tutor for adults at City Lit in Covent Garden, London, where I run a ‘Writing Children’s Books Workshop’ and other courses.

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