Illustration by Julia Ogden (juliaogden.com)
Secrets. We all have them, if not entire truths then fragments or details. Adults sometimes regard secrets as shameful or embarrassing, but as children or teens—if you're like me—we reveled in them. For a time, we held them close, savored them, agonized over them in blissful suffering, until the urge to tell all overrode all other needs. Then, those moments of excitement, of joyful intimacy as we shared discoveries or emotions or experiences, our proud steps away from naïveté and toward worldliness.
In THE WILD IMPOSSIBILITY, 16-year-old Maddalena has a life-changing secret, one that carries as much peril as excitement. Finally she shares it with her best friend, Regina. It's 1945, wartime:
“Can you keep a secret?”
Regina bolted upright. “Of course!”
“Cross your heart?”
Regina made an X on her chest, and Maddalena told her everything, from her encounter with Akira at the baseball game, to seeing him again on her rides to Manzanar, to getting shot at. The words flew out, and Regina listened with her mouth half open, her face shining like it did when she talked about Robert Taylor. But this was different. This was real life, a matter of life and death.
When Maddalena got to the part about the gunshot, Regina clapped a hand over her mouth, her blue eyes big as an owl’s. “Heavens, it’s so romantic!” she said. “But dangerous! What are you going to do?”