Klise, James. The Art of Secrets
April 22nd 2014
by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
E Arc from Netgalley.com
When Saba Khan's Pakistani family's house burns down, there is some suspicion that they might be somehow responsible, but Saba's private school, Highsmith, rallies around the family. They are given a place to live, and new students Kendra and Kevin Spoon decide to put together an auction to benefit the family. In the process, Kevin and Kendra uncover paintings by outsider artist Henry Darger in the trash, and even though the art might be worth millions of dollars, they still intend to give the money to the Khans. The story of the art's acquisition, subsequent disappearance, and relocation is told from a variety of view points, including members of Saba's family, the Spoons, a foreign exchange student, and the teachers and principal. Everyone has a different agenda, and many of the characters hope that the finding of the art will benefit them in some way. In the end, though, not everything is as it appears.
Strengths: I normally don't care for books told from a variety of perspectives, but this was somehow intriguing. The premise of the lost, valuable artwork is realistic, and the Spoon's altruism is nice to see. Saba's struggle to be a part of the school even though most of the students are wealthy and she is not is a nice touch. Fans of Blue Balliet's mysteries will enjoy this one.
Weaknesses: The ending was very abrupt and not very satisfying or clear, which was odd. There was so much ground work laid for a good ending, but it seemed rushed to me.