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I Have No Secrets by Penny Joelson
Young adult

I Have No Secrets

by Penny Joelson

Quick take

A voice for the voiceless, literally. It'll make you think about how to better listen to those who can't speak.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Emotional


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FastRead

    Fast read

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SocialIssues

    Social issues

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FamilyDrama

    Family drama


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.

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Free sample

Check out a preview of I Have No Secrets.

Why I love it

“If I were you, I’d kill myself. Listen, if you ever want a little help, I could —”

Jemma is a sixteen-year-old girl with cerebral palsy, unable to speak or move without assistance. Her world is mainly her home—her mom, an aide, and the aide’s ever-present boyfriend, Dan. Outwardly, Dan is charming and kind, but secretly, he’s a bully: the kind of person who whispers horrible things to Jemma, like the above … and the fact that he’s a murderer.

Dan knows his secret is safe with Jemma. That is, until a scientific breakthrough gives Jemma the chance to communicate and tell all she knows. Suddenly, she’s no longer a passive bystander to a crime. Suddenly, her life is on the line.

This is a seriously creepy read with an ending you won’t see coming. Jemma is a clear-eyed heroine with some truly long odds to overcome, and you’ll root for her as she fights for her life against an off-kilter killer unafraid to strike again. Thank you, Penny Joelson, for this unique read—but no thanks for freaking us out so much! ;)

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Member ratings (455)

  • Jaymie J.

    Glendale , AZ

    I’ve worked with individuals with disabilities. It’s touching to read a story from their eyes and point of view. How fortunate we are to live such a simple life. Penny Joelson did spectacular work.

  • Chelsea R.

    Methuen, MA

    Wow! I binged this in one sitting. Jemma’s internal voice was amazing to read the struggle to communicate with people must be difficult, especially knowing who the killer is. This was just incredible!

  • Liz B.

    New Britain, CT

    This was a tough read - the author does an incredible job of making you feel like you’re in Jemma’s head, so much so that it was uncomfortable at times. Incredibly well done and a compelling story.

  • Olivia M.

    Rockwood, PA

    Normally, I don't go for PC books. This is the exception. Beautifully and uniquely written, Joelson crafts an awesome thriller through the eyes of a very disabled girl, who my heart went out to.

  • Will C.

    New York, NY

    This book was a different type of mystery because from the beginning, we already know what happens, but what we dont know is how- or if- itll be communicated, and I loved every minute of it.