YA book review: The Secret of Sarah Revere by Ann Rinaldi

Ann Rinaldi is one of my favorite YA historical fiction writers. As an adult, I enjoy her books and find them full of interesting historical facts. The Secret of Sarah Revere was no exception. Sarah, one of Paul Revere’s children, is a thirteen-year-old living in Boston with her family as the country is on the brink of the Revolutionary War with England. Sarah’s father often is gone on his “rides” as he travels the country alerting patriots to British activity. Sarah’s home life is centered around her siblings, especially older siblings Debbie and Paul, and her step-mother, Rachel. Sarah also has a strong crush on family friend, Dr. Joseph Warren, and struggles with her “new” feelings for him as she also deals with adolescence and the fear that the world as she knows it is changing.

This was an interesting perspective to have as the narrator. I knew little about Paul Revere’s children, except that he had many. Sarah was a strong female protagonist, though I did find her attraction to Dr. Warren – a man almost three times her age – as somewhat unbelievable. I also did not like the story line of her suspecting him of being attracted to/having an improper relationship with her step-mother. At times the book moved slowly, but the second half of the book picked up as the action increased.

For the YA reader, I think the themes of loyalty are strong in this book: Sarah’s loyalty to her father and step-mother, Paul Revere’s loyalty to his country and his belief in liberty, etc. What exactly does it mean to be loyal?  A teacher could craft an interesting lesson in “loyalty” and compare these characters with other characters from other Rinaldi books, or from history. Also, throughout the book the idea of “it doesn’t matter what people think; what matters is what you know to be true” comes up again and again (another teachable moment!). And, of course, one must ponder the title….what IS the secret of Sarah Revere? Far be it from me to spoil that one for you!

While this isn’t my favorite Rinaldi, it is a good one and I’d recommend it to those with an interest in the Revolutionary War era. I got my copy from my local library.

I’d give it 4 Stars!

One thought on “YA book review: The Secret of Sarah Revere by Ann Rinaldi

  1. okay, folks – I have received comments/search strikes from young readers asking for help in understanding the book – such as precisely what IS the secret of Sarah Revere. I feel like I can’t post and answer that as that is your school assignment and my telling you would be similar to cheating. However, if you didn’t “get” parts of this book, I strongly recommend that you let your teacher know that. One thing a teacher does is to help you to understand and benefit from the literature you read for his/her class.
    So – that’s my thoughts….beth

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