Every Secret Thing

Every Secret Thing

by Lila Shaara

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I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation. The book is Every Secret Thing by Lila Shaara.

This is Ms. Shaara’s first novel, and it’s extremely impressive — never going for cute or flip. Gina Paletta is an ex-small town girl, ex-high fashion model, now a widowed mother of high maintenance twins living and teaching in a small college town in upstate New York. Gina is a unique character — she’s loaded with shall we say ‘issues’, and I was leery of her as a narrator at first. Honestly, she was tough to warm up to (as the author certainly intended). But her voice is unflinchingly honest, and that won me over.

After leaving her modeling career behind, and then having an unplanned pregnancy — and suddenly losing her husband — Gina retreats into the safety of teaching, and living for her sons. But the past rises up to bite her when Gina learns that two of her students have posted sleazy photos of her on a website. They may even have been involved in the murder of another classmate. She’s being stalked; she and her boys are suddenly in danger, when she’s spent the last 7 years trying to isolate them from all the damage the world can inflict. A great beauty, Gina attracts lots of masculine attention, none of it wanted — at least not at first. It was interesting counting the number of men who say to her, “I just want to talk to you,” when nothing could be further from the truth. Somewhere along the line, her looks became a curse to her, as she insists she only wants to be left alone. Of course, she really only wants to be left alone by the parade of losers who won’t take no for an answer. (When four admirers show up on her porch one afternoon, the book veers as close as it ever gets to slapstick.) There’s a fine line between being a persistent suitor and a flat out stalker, and she (and her family) blame Gina for attracting all kinds of the wrong attention. Oh, maybe that’s why she doesn’t trust her own looks!

She enters a complicated relationship with one of the detectives assigned to protect her — but Gina is sure no one can protect her, and has no idea of how to ask for help, or that she’s even allowed to need it. It was frustrating watching Gina misread people’s intentions, assume the worst, jump to the most negative of conclusions, but ultimately very satisfying as she slowly comes out of the fortress of her own mind and rejoins the rest of the world.

All the characters in this novel, major and minor, have a story that you’ll want to hear, and Gina’s large family, full of fights and grudges, made me grateful I could hold a family reunion in my Mini Cooper.


I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation. The book is Every Secret Thing by Lila Shaara.

This is Ms. Shaara’s first novel, and it’s extremely impressive — never going for cute or flip. Gina Paletta is an ex-small town girl, ex-high fashion model, now a widowed mother of high maintenance twins living and teaching in a small college town in upstate New York. Gina is a unique character — she’s loaded with shall we say ‘issues,’ and I was leery of her as a narrator at first. Honestly, she was tough to warm up to (as the author certainly intended). But her voice is unflinchingly honest, and that won me over.

After leaving her modeling career behind, and then having an unplanned pregnancy — and suddenly losing her husband — Gina retreats into the safety of teaching, and living for her sons. But the past rises up to bite her when Gina learns that two of her students have posted sleazy photos of her on a website. They may even have been involved in the murder of another classmate. She’s being stalked; she and her boys are suddenly in danger, when she’s spent the last 7 years trying to isolate them from all the damage the world can inflict. A great beauty, Gina attracts lots of masculine attention, none of it wanted — at least not at first. It was interesting counting the number of men who say to her, “I just want to talk to you” when nothing could be further than the truth. Somewhere along the line, her looks became a curse to her, as she insists she only wants to be left alone. Of course, she really only wants to be left alone by the parade of losers who won’t take no for an answer. (When four admirers show up on her porch one afternoon, the book veers as close as it ever gets to slapstick.) There’s a fine line between being a persistent suitor and a flat out stalker, and she (and her family) blame Gina for attracting all kinds of the wrong attention. Oh, maybe that’s why she doesn’t trust her own looks!

She enters a complicated relationship with one of the detectives assigned to protect her — but Gina is sure no one can protect her, and has no idea of how to ask for help, or that she’s even allowed to need it. It was frustrating watching Gina misread people’s intentions, assume the worst, jump to the most negative of conclusions, but ultimately very satisfying as she slowly comes out of the fortress of her own mind and rejoins the rest of the world.

All the characters in this novel, major and minor, have a story that you’ll want to hear, and Gina’s large family, full of fights and grudges, made me grateful I could hold a family reunion in my Mini Cooper.

The book is Every Secret Thing by Lila Shaara. I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation on Book Radio, SiriusXM Channel 80.


I’m Kim Alexander and this is a Fiction Nation minute. The book is Every Secret Thing by first time author Lila Shaara.

Gina Paletta is a college professor in upstate New York, the widowed mother of twin boys, and hanging on to a safe, quiet life. Her past as a high fashion model comes roaring back when she finds that two of her students have posted racy photos of her on a website — and they might be involved in a murder. Ex-model turned professor plus devoted mom sounds too good to be true, and to the author’s very great credit, she makes Gina’s struggle to keep her boys safe not the least bit fake or glamorous. As the narrator of Every Secret Thing Gina is a tough character, suspicious and deeply flawed, and after spending time with her family, I could see why — tough crowd. I cheered her hard won victories and loved watching her rejoin the world. Every Secret Thing by Lila Shaara. I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation on Book Radio, SiriusXM Channel 80.


I’m Kim Alexander and this is a Fiction Nation minute. The book is Every Secret Thing, the debut novel of Lila Shaara.

Gina Paletta was once the toast of the modeling industry. Then came unplanned twins, then came a new career as a college professor and 33 year old widow. Gina has no intention of letting anything happen to her boys, and hides them and herself away in upstate New York. But the world follows her in the form of a murder investigation. Before you know it, there are people in her house, she’s talking to her neighbors, involved with one of the detectives, and trying to make peace with her large and contentious family — her mother was a real piece of work. In Every Secret Thing the tension continues to build until you realize there is more at stake for Gina than the police investigation — her whole life has been built on the illusion of safety, and with that gone, what next? You will love finding out. Every Secret Thing, by Lila Shaara. I’m the creeped out Kim Alexander on Fiction Nation on Book Radio, SiriusXM Channel 80.


I’m Kim Alexander and this is a Fiction Nation minute. The book is Every Secret Thing by Lila Shaara.

Gina Paletta is a fashion model turned college professor living in upstate New York, a young widow determined to hang on to the quiet life she’s created for her twin sons. But when two of her students are accused of murder, and post some revealing pictures of her on their website, the quiet is pretty much over, and the safety was never really there anyway. This is a wonderfully written novel, with narrator Gina’s observations bone dry and totally free of self pity. Interestingly, I thought that once the police investigation had appeared to be resolved, the tension didn’t decrease — quite the opposite. Every Secret Thing is about the illusions of things — safety and beauty, and the truth of other things, like love for instance. Every Secret Thing by Lila Shaara. I’m Kim Alexander on Fiction Nation on Book Radio, SiriusXM Channel 80.


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