Mike Jaeger is a typical teenager. Well, sort of. He's got some problems, mental problems specifically. Maybe a few more than most. But at least he's human. Or not. At the ripe old age of sixteen, Mike begins to awaken to a new self. A self that remembers forty thousand years of war with humans. Mike and his father are clones, as was every ancestor back to the First Brother, the homonid who saw his Pack-sister, his future mate, raped and tortured by humans. Sharing empathically in her fate, First Brother vows revenge on humans, and for that is cast out of the Pack. Every descendant since remembers the events vividly, for emotional memories are inscribed in their very DNA. But Mike doesn't know his hallucinations are memories, or that the shadows in his mind are Pack-brothers. And his father can't bring himself to tell Mike what's happening to him. Mike only knows he has one good, true friend, Dave. And Dave, too, has a secret.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.8" Width: 4.9" Height: 0.9" Weight: 0.5 lbs.
Release Date Nov 1, 2005
Publisher Medallion Press
ISBN 1932815309 ISBN13 9781932815306
For years, "Blood and Chocolate" by Annette Curtis Klause has appealed to young fantasy readers. Vivian, Klause's sexy teen werewolf heroine, is strong, dangerous, and struggling to find balance in the human and werewolf worlds. Young women everywhere admire Vivian, but where is the strong, dangerous, rugged hero for young men to look up to? Well, look no further, guys. "Secrets" and Mike Jaeger have you covered.
"Secrets", the impressively thought-provoking novel by F.M. McPherson, follows the coming-of-age story of a young man who doesn't know about the beast lurking underneath his skin just waiting to come out and play a few bloody games. Mike finds himself unable to focus, having hallucinations and hearing voices, growing hair all over, and his temper flares randomly. He and his best friend Dave think that Mike's dad might be drugging him, but why? When Mike confronts his father, he learns the truth: he and his father are from a long line of genetic clones, Pack-brothers, who have the memories of all those who came before them, including the memory of thousands of years ago when they were horribly wronged by the enemy, humans. Now, Mike struggles to retain his humanity and reconcile the bestial side of himself while his father and Dave confront their own beasts. Through bloodshed, tears, and old memories released, forgiveness is finally found. Mike and his brothers can let go of their fears to finally be the family they all need.
With its fantastically gorgeous cover depicting what is clearly one pissed off man-beast, "Secrets" keeps all of its promises. While the first half of the book feels slow, likely because that half of the plot is given away on the back cover, "Secrets" really picks up when Paul, Mike's dad, finally lets Mike in on the secret of what they are. Then, the reader is taken on a journey into the world of the Pack, the history of what happened to First-Brother and his pack-sister at the hands of hateful humans, and the relationship of a boy and his best friend and a boy and his father. Teens everywhere will be able to identify with confused and bitter Mike or sensitive but hurting Dave. Once the story begins to include him, even Paul is a hugely likeable character that can be empathized with, as he is trying to avoid becoming a mindless pack-brother like his father became. Also, the idea of having your father's memories- including falling in love with your own mother!- is quite interesting and delightfully wicked at the same time.
Despite the rapid teen language of the dialogue, mentions of pot (referred to in the novel as `cannabis', which any American teen will probably feel is forced and awkward), and plenty of swearing, the novel remains a very intellectually challenging piece. The relationship between Mike and his best friend Dave has undertones that are always loving, gentle, and cautious, but lend credibility to their rock-solid friendship. Not since The Outsiders's Ponyboy and Johnny has there been a young adult novel where two young men are as devoted to each other without ever truly crossing that line.
F.M. McPherson's writing style is smooth and enjoyable, though her language is colored with some colloquialisms that might throw off American readers, such as when the characters "reckon" things. But whether these characters are based in New Zealand with their author or not, their plight is universally understood. Once the heat is turned up in the last act, McPherson keeps the pages turning and the reader guessing as to what will happen to Mike, if he will give in to the Pack or if he will return to his real brothers. She is certainly a writer to be watching in the years to come.
While "Secrets" can be read in a few sitting, it is sure to be on a reader's mind for long after, as there are several points in the tale that will inspire careful consideration, such as male-female roles in society, what makes a brother a brother (or a sister? Or a mother? Or a father?), drug and physical abuse, and nature verses nurture. Highly recommended for older teens and mature teens of all ages, and likely to be enjoyed by adults as well. Fans of "Blood and Chocolate", "The Outsiders", and especially young men who are looking for some an interesting male-driven read are likely to find this tale of self-discovery and acceptance a great addition to their bookshelf.
A Unique and Facinating Story Sep 29, 2006
I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I picked this book up. From the cover and the description I wasn't sure if I was getting myself into a full blown horror novel or something with a bit more depth. Happily I discovered a truly intriguing story about much more than werewolves.
Secrets is the story of Mike who thinks he is a typical teenager until he begins hearing strange voices and experiencing extremely realistic delusions. Terrified of what is happening to him he turns to his best friend who comes to the conclusion that Mike is suffering from schizophrenia. Eventually they both realize that something much stranger is really happening to Mike.
I loved the complexity of the relationships between the characters in the book. The true center of this story revolves around the idea that family is something we choose as opposed to being what we are born into. I would highly recommend this story to anyone who loves not only fantasy and horror, but wants to read a story of true friendship and trust.
An intricate novel ideal for those who enjoy mythic fantasy fiction May 3, 2006
Exceptionally well written from beginning to end, Secrets by F.M. McPherson is a gripping fantasy tale about Mike, the ex-member of a homonid pack whose horrific witness of the human group rape and torture of his pack-sister brings him to a vow seeking revenge upon all humans, resulting in his removal from the pack. Deftly depicting the estranged life of the sixteen-year-old, Secrets carries readers through the gripping story of the young man, his father, and his only friend who has just as deep a secret as himself. An intricate novel ideal for those who enjoy mythic fantasy fiction, Secrets is very highly recommended reading.
terrific coming of age fantasy Nov 5, 2005
Mike Jaeger is an ordinary high school student until one day he starts seeing and hearing things, voices from the Pack calling him to join them. His hair starts to grow all over his body and he has retractable claws that come out when he is under stress or angry. His best friend Dave thinks he's schizophrenic\c but the truth is more frightening than that.
Mike isn't human. He is part of the Pack, a hominid group of beings that has fought humans for over forty thousand years in retaliation for what they did to the Pack-sister/mother. Mike's mother is not his biological mother but a host for his father/brother's seed. He is a clone of his father and has the genetic memory of all the Pack members that ever lived. His father Paul spent years trying to forget he was Pack but Mike is not Paul even though they are clones of one another. He needs to learn how to live in a human environment without giving in to his instincts to hunt humans otherwise he will go insane. Dave anchors him to the real world while Mike deals with the demons of his mind that he fights to subdue.
This is a coming of age story that is refreshingly different because Mike is Pack yet has human emotions. The bond between Mike and the human Dave is beautiful to behold, a friendship that is true and pure. The protagonist's father almost destroys his family because of his need to deny what he is. There are many lessons that young adults take away from SECRETS but learning is easy because it is told in a fantasy context so as not to overwhelm the reader.