Keeping Secrets is the fourth book in the Path You Choose series.
The reader is the main character, and the ending is decided by the choices the reader makes while reading the book. There are 15 possible endings in this story.
Keeping Secrets begins with a group of teenage girls having a slumber party.
During the party, the host asks her friends to tell their secrets and all the girls make a promise not to tell.
The secrets range from one girl who is struggling to bring up her grades in school to having to deal with drug abuse, a parent’s divorce, suicidal thoughts, sexual abuse and more—as the girls are faced with hard issues and need to make choices on how to deal with difficult situations.
Many more situations come up in this book.
Where can a girl go for help? Will the other girls be forced to tell someone else’s secrets, to get help for their friend?
If a girl thinks she has been kidnapped, will she need to report the only parents she has known and loved? If another girl is a witness to a crime, will she be forced to get her own brother into trouble? If your friend is addicted to drugs, and won’t get help, will you risk your friendship to get help for her?
During the slumber party, Kaylee stands up and runs from the room, saying,
“I can’t. I just can’t share my secret, ever! I’ve got to go now,” she bursts into tears and runs from the house. This leaves her friends bewildered and trying to guess Kaylee’s secret. They look at circumstantial evidence and come up with a plan to help their friend solve her problem. At one point the girls are so sure that Kaylee is having a problem with a bully, that they take their suspicions to the school principal.
Will her friends help Kaylee to solve her problem? Will she finally find someone she can trust with a difficult secret?
The outcome of the stories depends on the choices made by the reader throughout the book.
In Keeping Secrets, as the reader helps solve the problems along with the girls, they too will gain insights on what to do when they are placed in a hard situation or find a way to avoid these situations altogether.
Even though this is a fictional series, the situations that arise in Keeping Secrets are issues that could be faced by preteens and teens in real life.
At the end of Keeping Secrets there are links to stories of similar situations from the news, and links to helpful sites.
Keeping Secrets is the 4th book in the Path You Choose series.
Book #1 is Off Target, written so that the main character could either be a boy or a girl.
The main character is present when a new friend brings out a loaded gun. Each of their friends takes a turn handling the gun. The reader then needs to start making choices: Will they tell someone about the gun? After someone suggests that their friend should take the gun to school, should the main character take the gun, so no one gets hurt? Should they keep silent so they can come back the next day for target practice?
Books 2 and 3, On the Rocks for boys and Cheers for girls, are about underage drinking.
These books ask the questions: What would you do if you were invited to a party and offered alcohol? What would you do if you were offered a ride with a drunk driver? And What if you were at a party and someone passed out? Should you call 911 to get help or run from the house so you won’t get into trouble?
All four books in the Path You Choose series are written for a 6th through 9th grade audience,
and the books are set up to help 12–15-year-olds learn to make hard choices. If students have read these books, they can be better prepared when these situations come up. And it will help a reader to prepare a plan in case they are faced with similar circumstances.
Jill Ammon Vanderwood makes author appearances at schools.
She is available to do school assemblies on topics of bullying, underage drinking, gun safety and keeping secrets. The ideal program would include each student having a downloaded Kindle book—costing $4.99 or a print copy for $12.99. The author’s program begins with a PowerPoint presentation, followed by the group dividing into 13-15 groups. Each group will be assigned to read through one assigned story. They will then pick a spokesperson from each group to make a short presentation of their assigned story. With each student having a copy of the book, they will be able to read the rest of the book on their own and have a group discussion in their classroom.
At the end of the program, the author will hand out I’ve Got Your Back cards
for students to write their names and exchange them with another student. The students will then be responsible for doing three acts of kindness for the other student—which will hopefully be followed up by teachers or faculty members. The point of the card is, when a problem such as bullying or peer pressure arises, the student knows that someone has their back.
I saw a girl being bullied during an anti-bullying presentation.
Note: At one school presentation, a girl went around to many other students asking to exchange I’ve Got Your Back cards. No one wanted to be her partner. I finally had her sit down in the front row with two other students. Those girls wouldn’t accept her either. At the end of the program, after the students left the auditorium, we found her card crumpled up and thrown on the floor.
I was speaking for three assemblies that day. First to sixth grader, then seventh graders and the last group were in the eighth grade. I had two more assemblies that day. During the next two assemblies, I mentioned this incident to the other students.Leave a Comment