Author: Lindsay Smith
Publication: Roaring Brook Press (April 1, 2014)
Description: An empty mind is a safe mind.
Yulia's father always taught her to hide her thoughts and control her emotions to survive the harsh realities of Soviet Russia. But when she's captured by the KGB and forced to work as a psychic spy with a mission to undermine the U.S. space program, she's thrust into a world of suspicion, deceit, and horrifying power. Yulia quickly realizes she can trust no one--not her KGB superiors or the other operatives vying for her attention--and must rely on her own wits and skills to survive in this world where no SEKRET can stay hidden for long.
My Thoughts: Lindsay Smith adds a new twist to Cold War spying as she writes a story where Soviet experimentation to develop psychic powers is successful. Yulia is the daughter of Party scientists who was raised as a privileged child until something happens that sends her into hiding with her mother and brother. Yulia has gotten used to living in hiding and being suspicious of everyone. Then things change...
Yulia is captured by the KGB psychic division which brings her to a house where she is to be trained. Already there are other young people with psychic gifts and who have a range of loyalty to the Soviet government. Yulia's only goal is to escape and reunite with her family but her first escape attempt fails.
Her bosses are interested in tracking down the American agents who are trying to steal the plans for the Russian Veter space program. But the Americans have a very powerful "scrubber" who is able to wipe out memories and personalities. Since her boss Rostov is also a scrubber who thinks Khrushchev is way to soft and wants to return to the days of Stalin, Yulia knows how fearsome a scrubber can be.
Yulia has to figure out which of her housemates she might be able to trust and is torn between Sergei who wants her to get used to the life they have and to earn privileges to make their life their in Russia bearable or Valentin who is another scrubber who is also secretly trying to find a way out.
This story is filled with the paranoia that characterized this period of Russian history. It very accurately portrayed the hardships faced by the Russian citizens in the 1960s. I liked Yulia and I sympathized with the confusion and danger that she was surrounded by.
Fans of historical fiction and stories about psychic abilities would be the best audience for this story.
I tremble, squeezing my eyes shut. "No." His words are making me sick. He's filling me with the foulest disease I can imagine.I got this ARC from Macmillan. You can buy your copy here.
He's filling me with hope.