Nowhere is safe. Not even home… Nick Merrick is stretched to the breaking point. Keep his grades sky-high or he’ll never escape his hometown.Keep his brother’s business going or the Merricks will be out on the street.Keep the secret of where he’s going in the evenings from his own twin—-or he’ll lose his family. Keep his mind off the hot, self-assured dancer who’s supposed to be his “girlfriend’s” partner. Of course there’s also the homicidal freak Quinn has taken to hanging around, and the Elemental Guide counting the hours until he can try again to kill the Merrick brothers. There’s a storm coming. From all sides. And then some. Nick Merrick, can you keep it together?
It's funny, I don't typically read reviews before I write my own as I prefer to write down all of my own opinions first so as not to be influenced by others. However with the strong issues in this book, I wanted to see how others received it, especially due to the sexual preferences. I have to admit I was incredibly surprised to see just how many people commented on how much they couldn't stand Quinn rather than any issue with Nick's issue. Honestly, my heart broke every bit as much for her as Nick, maybe even more so. Sure she's rather prickly and impossible to deal with at times with her aggressiveness, but can you blame her when all she has been shown is how "worthless" she is? So much so that when someone does genuinely care for her, she both doesn't know how to react and doesn't trust it. Her sense self worth is next to nothing and she pushes everyone away, at least until a certain character sees past her walls and doesn't leg her push. It was amazing to see her slowly start to turn around, but it was and still will be a rocky road as her life situation isn't something you just easily overcome.
Getting back to Nick, his problem, while safer, was every bit as much of an issue as Quinn's, just for very different reasons. The Merrick brothers have had to rely on each other for everything as their very lives depend on it, so it's no wonder Nick is so terrified of revealing himself and potentially losing his family in the process. But even if you put the sexual preferences aside, Nick is still pretty darn messed up. He's lived for his family and their wants and needs even more than Michael has, and lord knows Michael has sacrificed a whole lot for his brothers. Nick's problem is that he never allows himself to think about what HE wants, instead always acting the perfect brother and friend, taking care of everyone else's needs. It's no wonder he was wound so tight under the pressure, and while Gabriel is known as the powder keg, Nick's actually more of a ticking nuclear time bomb. Something had to give, and as I said, my heart just kept breaking over and over for him.
SECRET dealt with some incredibly difficult issues that took up most of the focus, putting the elemental stuff mostly on the sideline. As a result, it gave this book a much different feeling than the rest of the series. On one hand I'm torn as I prefer to avoid issue books, nothing against them, they just aren't my first pick as I read for the little escape. And let's face it, when you have an issue like the ones in this book, well it doesn't exactly make for the best escape. However, that being said, it was one heck of a read as the issues and everything were so poignant that I couldn't help be sucked in. My heart broke more and more with each page that I read. I have to commend Brigid Kemmerer for writing such a powerful book, and if it helps even just one person make it through a situation anything like these, well all the better. Whether you are a fan of the series, are a teenager who is, or knows someone who is going through a hard time or even an adult who can appreciate the message behind this book, SECRET is simply a must read.