People like to talk about the main plot of Stolen Secrets–the Holocaust mystery with many twists–and I get that. It’s intriguing and, as it turns out, oddly prescient of what’s going on in our world today. But there are additional subplots that are important in this book. One that I am most proud of is the story of Livvy’s relationship with her grandmother, who suffers from Alzheimers. My stepfather died from Alzheimers–a vicious, unkind way to die. It steals whole memories and replaces them with skeletal remain, or even worse, hallucinations. Teens often find themselves faced with this horrible disease as their own grandparents age. I based Oma in part on my stepdad, but I also researched the disease so I could represent it as accurately as possible, while serving the overall plot. It was sad to write, and sad to remember, but I hope that teens who read Stolen Secrets will learn more about the disease. If they are already facing it with a family member, I hope they will find a sympathetic companion in Livvy.
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