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The Secrets We Keep

I wanted to write a book that explored how a child feels when someone they love becomes emotionally unavailable. How frightening it can be, and how at times they wish the person was physically sick because at least then it’s easier to talk about.

I don't know if you've ever seen a house burn, but it's not like anything else …

Clem Timmins lost everything when her house burned down – her clothes, her stuff ... and her mum. She has to move to a tiny flat with her dad, and to make things worse, she’s starting at a new school where she doesn’t know anyone.

When Clem meets Ellie, she thinks she’s found a friend, but will a little white lie about what happened to her mum ruin their burgeoning friendship? How can Clem tell Ellie the truth, when she can’t face it herself?


The Secrets We Keep is a poignant and nuanced portrayal of the relationships that make us who we are. Nova Weetman expertly examines the way friendships help us navigate life and grief, even when we’re faced with problems that can seem too big to handle.

The Secrets We Keep was a CBCA Notable, Shortlisted for the ABIA Awards, Shortlisted for the Speech Pathology Awards, Shortlisted for the Readings Children’s Prize, Shortlisted for the YABBA Awards, Winner of the KROC Award and Shortlisted for Japan’s Sakura Medal.

I don't know if you've ever seen a house burn, but it's not like anything else . . .

I don't know if you've ever seen a house burn, but it's not like anything else . . .

"The Secrets We Keep is a touching story of family and friendship that's honest, heartwarming, and filled with strong, lovable characters."


Sally Rippin, award-winning children’s author

‘A quietly mesmerising, finely wrought tale of friendship, loyalty, loneliness and “firsts”.’ Simmone Howell, author of Girl Defective‘

Nova Weetman’s portrait of young adults is an assured work.’ The Age

‘Weetman’s strength as an author is to convey this rollercoaster of emotion and make the reader care for her characters.’ Australian Book Review

‘Weetman’s deft, chilling prose moves us compulsively through this enthralling novel.’  Australian Book Review