Review: Skandal (Sekret, #2) by Lindsay Smith

Skandal (Sekret, #2) by Lindsay Smith
Publication date: Apr. 7, 2015
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Category: Young Adult - Sci-fi/Historical
Source: Received ARC from publisher (Thanks!)
Summary: Life in Washington, D.C., is not the safe haven Yulia hoped for when she risked everything to flee communist Russia. Her father is reckless and aloof, and Valentin is distant and haunted by his past. Her mother is being targeted by the CIA and the US government is suspicious of Yulia's allegiance. And when super-psychics start turning up in the US capitol, it seems that even Rostov is still a threat. Ultimately, Yulia must keep control of her own mind to save the people she loves and avoid an international Skandal. (Adapted

The good
Skandal reunites readers with Yulia in Washington, DC as she tries to create a new life for herself alongside her father and Valentin while uncovering the truth about her family and what Russia's psychic team is up to. Even without re-reading Sekret, it was easy to slip back into the world Lindsay Smith created. I remembered more than I realized and within the first few pages, even more details came flooding back. It's a memorable story and the combination of its setting, characters and plot are a testament to why it stands out.

Yulia was and still is a reluctant heroine. She never asked for her powers or felt entirely comfortable with them. I mean we all know she's strong and deep down I think she does too, which is why she's scared. Her ability to retrieve memories by touching objects or people is overwhelming and she never knows what she may find out. Everything in her life (and this book) felt like a balancing act. Her powers, her assimilation into America and proving her worth and allegiance to the US government.  At the same time, her father isn't the man she remembers and often finds him distant or unconcerned about the state of their lives. Plus her own mother is helping the Russian government they left behind. The one dependable constant is Valentin but even he struggles as he's haunted by his past and own abilities. She may not want the job but it's up to Yulia to hold everyone together and discover the truth.

(Some) Reservations
Skandal starts off a bit slowly and it takes some time for all the pieces to come together. I enjoyed the the eventual reveals because it certainly filled in the blanks but something was missing overall. It didn't have the same sense of urgency or mystery as Sekret and I missed some of Yulia's old teammates. It just felt like Yulia was very much on her own most of the time in this passive way and I prefer when she's proactive and a part of something.

Do I recommend?
I do! It's a really interesting series (pretty sure it's a duology with no plans for a third book as far as I know) so if you want to read something unique that features teenage psychic spies from Russia, I would check this out.

1 comment

  1. I definitely enjoyed Skandal! It's a unique take on a part of history I don't know too much about, and I think Lindsay Smith handles it well. I also really liked seeing the differences between this one and its predecessor; Smith definitely managed to make them very unique!


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