I decided to read The Secret Apartment over the last few days because lately, I’ve been really needing book therapy! My love for books started when I was just a kid and The Secret Apartment is exactly the type of book I would’ve enveloped my brain around when I was younger. These days, I don’t get to read for fun often; I’m always reading to critique at work now or to learn at school.
My copy is an older, decommissioned library book, that I picked up at a library sale last summer. And as you might be able to tell, the book provides very little plot details on the front and back cover. In this case, the cover artist did they’re job; I picked it up because the cover intrigued me. The title and cover design immediately reminded of Hitchcock’s Rear Window, a film I was made to study in college.
It turned out to be a sweet story about a girl named, Jillian Fairly who moves to New York after her father dies and her mother remarries. New step-sister animosity coupled with her father’s recent death and being forced to go to summer camp, initially make the move an unhappy one. Eventually Jillian is asked to house/petsit by a neighbor which gives her a special opportunity: she uses her neighbor’s home as a sort of getaway from her current problems. One day, after looking out the window of her neighbor’s apartment into another, she realizes that the handsome boy in the building over is the kidnapped boy she learned of from the news.
Sure, rescuing the kidnapped boy was an exciting point in the book but I’m drawn to characters that don’t turn out to be what you’d expect. In this book, the unexpected hero turns out to be Jillian’s mean and spoiled new step-sister, Mariella. When it counts, it’s Mariella’s toughness and cleverness that helps Jillian get into the apartment building and into the apartment the boy is being helped captive.
Anyway, this is a solid pick for anyone who needs a break from “adulting”; it really is a kid’s book so don’t expect any complexity or layered, deep characters. It’s also a good pick for anyone who appreciates stories with strong themes of family and friendship.