Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 26, 2018

Book Giveaway: SECRETS IN TRANSLATION by Margo Sorenson

Authors Margo Sorenson has a new YA book titled, SECRETS IN TRANSLATION. It hit bookshelves October 19th. She has agreed to share a book with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Margo!


In this celebration of Italian life and culture, seventeen-year-old Alessandra returns for the summer to Italy, where she grew up. Pressured by her parents into babysitting a rebellious twelve year old—ruining holiday plans with newfound American friends—Alessandra resigns herself to a tedious summer in Positano. Her babysitting gig, however, turns out to be anything but boring! Not only does Alessandra fall for the handsome son of the Bertolucci family, renowned for their limoncello production, but when a body mysteriously turns up on the beach, the influence of organized crime in Positano becomes frighteningly real. As Alessandra is drawn further into an elaborate conspiracy, she must risk everything to protect herself, her family, and those she loves, and in the process finds herself—and her Italian heart.


Fasten your seatbelts and stow your tray tables in an upright position – ready for take-off to la bella Italia!

The book journey for SECRETS IN TRANSLATION, my new Young Adult novel, which takes place in Positano, Italy, was a long journey, even longer than a plane flight to Italy! Actually, it began when I was three years old and moved from Madrid, Spain, to Napoli, Italy, and then to Bari. I absorbed Italian and Italy into every pore, not even realizing that it was becoming a part of me. After all, I was just a kid!

Then, we moved to the U.S., and life was totally and completely different, and I thought I’d left Italy behind. As I studied Italian in school and became friends with Italians (I used to babysit my Italian teacher’s little boy in college and hung out with the Italian Department!), however, I began to realize that Italy was still part of my heart. On return trips to Italy, I felt I was at home again. Still, although I was writing other books, it never occurred to me to write about Italy, although Italian restaurants do pop up in my other novels!

I definitely remember where I was when the first idea for SECRETS popped into my head. Guess where? Surrounded by people speaking Italian, of course! It was my very first trip back to Italy since I grew up there as a kid, so, even though I still studied and spoke Italian, I hadn’t been surrounded by a lot of people actually speaking Italian for years.

When we all walked into the hotel, I saw several men look at us and say, “Ah, le donne americane vengono – che belle!” Then they kissed their fingertips (Italian men can be such flirts!). I started to smile and looked at our friends—and suddenly realized none of them could understand a word of what the men were saying: “Ah, American women are coming – how beautiful!” Not only that, the men speaking Italian had no idea that I could understand everything they said, either. Because I looked so obviously American and was with a group of other Americans, no one could even begin to imagine that I could understand the Italian language.

Now, there was an idea for a plot! Authors love to ask the question, “What if?” My “what if” question was, “What if you could understand and speak a language, but no one else knew you could? What if an American girl was fluent in Italian and could understand everything Italians were saying, but they didn’t realize she could—and because she could speak both languages, she discovered a dark conspiracy that threatened those she loved?”

Of course, novels are about so much, much more than an action plot about a conspiracy (Mafia and organized crime would be the linchpins there), so my main character, Alessandra, needed her own journey to take, and having Alessandra conflicted about who she really was seemed to be a natural problem for her to try and solve. That is Alessandra’s journey in SECRETS, much as she resists it. Of course, because Italian young men can be drop-dead handsome, Alessandra had to find an Italian boyfriend, too… (That would be crush-worthy Carlo, of course) In the book, she wonders if there are ANY ugly guys in Italy (probably not). There’s another young man in the book, too, and you’ll have to read it to find out more about Giovanni…and his own secrets…

Next, I tackled the plot. Our wonderful and generous Italian friends filled me in on all sorts of ideas for possible conspiracies for Alessandra to discover, most of which, of course, involved organized crime and its reaches into so many aspects of everyday life in Italy, and which Italians take as a matter of course. Writing is indeed work, so I spent months researching how the Mafia and its offshoots worked, reading newspapers in Italian, (Il Quotidiano Italiano is the most objective, studying books like Roberto Saviano’s GOMORRAH (yes, he’s still under police protection because of his writing about the Mafia and Camorra), and asking plenty of questions of our Italian friends via email to Italy to make sure the events that threaten Alessandra were accurate. Drinking wine and limoncello (oh, you’ll have to read the book!) were involved in my research, as well as several more trips to Italy, most particularly gorgeous Positano, where Alessandra stays while she is nannying for the tween from hell. You have to research very thoroughly, you know!

Once Alessandra’s story was down on paper, you might think it was almost publication-ready—but that’s not true! SECRETS went through probably over fifty revisions (Alessandra was once thirteen!), and many rejections. Truly, at times, I thought it might never be published, even though it came really close a few times with editors, and to think that readers might never know or understand the beauty and friendliness of Italy as I saw it, honestly saddened me. So, I was thrilled when it was acquired by Fitzroy Books in Fall, 2017 and edited by my wonderful editor, Jaynie Royal, who always believed in Alessandra and her story. How many years did this entire process take, from the very first idea to the published book? Try fourteen years—but, counting my age, a lot longer!

Italy is a beautiful country and the people are warm and generous, a wonderful place to make the kind of discovery that Alessandra is finally able to make, and I hope it resonates with readers of all ages. Because Italy is near and dear to my heart—and because I wanted to write a story about finding out who you really are—I am thrilled that SECRETS IN TRANSLATION is not a secret any longer! My book’s journey spans thousands of miles—and many years.


Author of thirty traditionally-published books, Margo Sorenson spent the first seven years of her life in Spain and Italy, devouring books and Italian food and still speaks (or tries!) four languages. After having lived in Hawaii and Minnesota, Margo and her husband live in Southern California.

Margo’s website:

Twitter:  @ipapaverison





Fitzroy Books

Barnes & Noble



Thank you Margo for sharing your book and its’ journey with us. I can’t wait to read this new YA. Looks like a fun read.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. What an interesting plot. I don’t read alot of YA, but this one is intriguing. Best of luck.


  2. This sounds wonderful! Excited to pick up my own copy!


  3. Sounds meraviglioso! On my TBR list!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m a huge fan of Italian culture, it’s my top bucket list destination. Thanks!
    I tweeted a link to this post:, and pinned an image with a link on Pinterest:
    Have a great week!!


  5. This book sounds like a fantastic way to visit Italy. I’ve only been one time and loved every minute.


  6. Wow, Margo, what a book journey…and not just with words! I’m full-blood Italian heritage yet don’t speak the language and have never set foot in the country so still pine for that. It makes this book–which sounds SO intriguing–even more appealing 🙂 Good luck and I hope to read it!


  7. Fascinating post. Thanks! I will pass on the giveaway. Buried in books.


  8. I love the idea that the secret thrill of understanding others when they don’t know you can then turns into getting in over your head.


  9. I’ve read SECRETS IN TRANSLATION and loved it, made me want to pack my bags for Italy right away!


  10. This book seems awesome 🙂


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