Rina’s Family Secret is the fourth novel in Gloria Velásquez’s Roosevelt High School series, which features a multiracial group of teenaged students who must individually face social and cultural issues (such as violence, sexuality, and prejudice) inescapable among young adults today.
Readers of the series will recognize the heroine Rina, a Puerto Rican student, as a character in previous books. In this installment of the series, Velásquez shows us the terrible pain and sadness one young woman must confront when she witnesses her stepfather beating her mother so violently that she must be hospitalized. When several days later her mother allows the abusive stepfather to return home, Rina explodes with anger, taking her younger brother and sister to their grandmother’s house. Rina’s Family Secret portrays, with realism and compassion, one young adult’s experience with domestic violence and her attempts to keep it a secret from her friends.