Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Guest Post with L.B. Schulman

Photo Content from L.B. Schulman

STOLEN SECRETS is L.B. Schulman’s second young adult novel. Her debut, LEAGUE OF STRAYS, was published in 2012. She grew up in Maryland and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two daughters, and a pair of loveable mutts. When she isn’t writing, she’s visiting genealogy sites, trying to find famous people she’s related to. You can visit her online at LBSchulman.com.


Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 7th and up
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Boyds Mills Press (September 19, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1629797227
ISBN-13: 978-1629797229


“The author captures the desperate uncertainty of life with an alcoholic and having to parent a parent. Whip-smart Franklin has a uniquely drawn personality and his dialogue with Livvy sparkles…VERDICT An engaging coming-of-age novel recommended for libraries looking to highlight issues of alcoholism, Alzheimer’s, and family estrangement.' ―School Library Journal

“Stolen Secrets is a solid mystery with family drama and teen angst. Livvy is a likable character who is smart and perceptive at times, yet, like most teens, naive and clueless at others. The novel is easy to read and would be a good companion read for students reading Anne Frank’s diary. Stolen Secrets will need some hand-selling to teens, but once they pick it up they will not be disappointed.” ―VOYA

“This is a well-written book that sympathetically examines the roles of Holocaust survivors on both sides of the war as well as guilt and forgiveness. The main and supporting characters are funny and engaging…a good addition to those who want to read more books with a Holocaust theme. Recommended.” ―School Library Connection

“A…contemporary story with a Holocaust secret at its core….a jam-packed narrative with a full complement of tropes and topical elements: new girl; friend issues; alcoholism; family secrets, neo-Nazis; predatory elder care; armed robbery—and a romance. The grandmother’s mysterious past intrigues…” ―Kirkus Reviews

The best piece of advice would be to learn the rules, take what works for you, and let the rest go. There have been so many writing rules that I’ve heard over my lifetime that have only served to stunt my creativity. For example, “You should only be an author if you truly love it and can’t see yourself doing anything else.” This presumes the life of an author is so bad that the only people who do it should be those who can’t stop themselves or survive doing anything else. Hey, I could stop today and do many other things. Life is full of adventure and possibilities, after all: why limit ourselves? I WANT to write, and that’s enough for me!

Another bad rule: “Write what you know.” If I did that, my YAs would be boring. What interests me about the art of writing is the exploration of worlds I don’t know. I wonder if this rule is more about writing what you emotionally know.

Anytime someone says YOU HAVE TO when it comes to writing rules, your red flag should go up. Sit down and write every day? Nope. I do it when I feel like it and my books take a long time, but they get done. Sometimes I ignore “rules” about story structure, too. One person told me that if you have two POVs, they have to be balanced out in length and appearance within the story. Well, Livvy has 80 percent of the POVs in Stolen Secrets and another character has only 20, but I think it works fine.

The hardest and most inaccurate advice I heard was that if your debut novel is not a huge hit, no one will want to publish your second one. This actually caused me to not want to write my second novel, but I did it, despite the huge anxiety this advice raised. I discovered that there are always publishers who, if they like your project, won’t care if your other books were bestsellers or not. Bottom line: Listen to yourself and allow your creativity to reflect your own thoughts and beliefs, not other people’s rules.


1. It’s a fun hybrid of a contemporary and a historical novel.
2. I made the location of San Francisco its own character.
3. The high stakes mystery element makes it fly at a fast pace.
4. In addition to a Holocaust mystery, it delves into related subplots, like Alzheimers and alcoholism.
5. People say they can’t put it down. That’s my favorite compliment.
6. The stakes increase, jumping from personal to universal.
7. Franklin D. is a different kind of friend. He’s funny, quirky, goofy, and confident. Readers seem to love him. I know I do.
8. Most people know what happened to Anne Frank in the annex, but almost no one knows what happened to her in the months after the Nazis found her family. You find out in my book.
9. Though this book is called a YA, I think it’s a crossover novel. There are two POVs in this story, and one of them is an adult.
10. The ending. Oh, I wish I could say more, but I can’t. It’s frustrating to not be able to talk about it with people until after they’ve read the book. So read it and tell me what you think, please.

After an abrupt move across the country to San Francisco, sixteen-year-old Livvy discovers a grandmother who she believed was dead. Suffering from Alzheimer’s, Adelle shouts out startling details, mistakes her own name, and seems to relive moments that may have taken place in a concentration camp. When Livvy and her new friend Franklin D. find journal entries from the Holocaust in Adelle’s home, Livvy begins to suspect that her grandmother may have a shocking link to a notable figure Anne Frank.

Stolen Secrets starts off like any other story but then the author quickly jerks the steering wheel and veers it to unexpected territories. Livvy was on the verge of starting her junior year when her mother, Gretchen, suddenly makes them move out to San Francisco. Not knowing the fully agenda of Gretchen’s venture across the country, she quickly learns that her grandmother that she thought was dead, was very much alive but suffering from Alzheimer’s. Gretchen hasn’t spoken to her mother for years and is only open to taking of her in hopes of getting an inheritance. The stress of caring for an elderly with Alzheimer has brought back her demons and Gretchen begins drinking again. At the same time, Livvy learns about her grandmother’s past and that she might have a connection to Anne Frank.

L.B. Schulman skillfully weaves an intriguing story that not only touch subjects on familial arrangements and issues, but also provides a historical lesson of the tragedies during the Holocaust. Readers that may not necessarily have any experiences with what Livvy and her mother are going through will somehow find familiarities with their journey. The complexity of the characters is one of the many attributes that make this story so beautiful. They are not perfect and it keeps readers turning pages.

The transitions between scenarios were beautifully done and just as wonderful as when revelations are presented. From dealing with alcoholism to the struggles with someone living with Alzheimer’s, Schulman’s writing etiquette holds no obstacles. She digs down to the nitty gritty and provides a clever but really beautiful story about self-discovery, guilt and forgiveness, and importance of family. Stolen Secrets is not your normal story in the sense that it takes story elements in different sides of the spectrum to provide a presentation that is fresh and brand new.

You can purchase Stolen Secrets at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you L.B. SCHULMAN for making this giveaway possible.
Winner will receive a STOLEN SECRETS Swag (Signed Copy, 
Bookmark, & More) by L.B. Schulman..
TUESDAY Reading for the Stars and Moon REVIEW
NESDAY A Dream Within a Dream TENS LIST
DAY Here's to Happy Endings REVIEW
ATURDAY Movies, Shows, & Books REVIEW
UNDAY Insane About Books REVIEW


  1. 1800's because population was less and life was not easy but you did know your neighbors.

  2. I'd love to live in the western days. I like the idea of having my own land and farm animals.

  3. I'd like to experience the art world of the late 1800s.