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In the early 1950's, Claude Duval is preparing to graduate high school, go on to college- basically what any other fellow his age would do. Claude, however, is extremely timid, depressed, unmotivated, and is still struggling to overcome the death of his mother, Nadia, who committed suicide when Claude and his brother, Martin, were in elementary school. Martin is a perfectionist Stepford-smiler, while their father, Jean-Luc, is a neglectful workaholic and their step-mother/aunt Danielle is an arrogant, materialistic socialite intent on recreating her family's powerful image in the United States. On a whim, Claude decides to spend the summer before he leaves for school in Paris to study French, only to find his host family is an eccentric trio of teen prodigies- with no parents or guardians in sight. There's lazy ancients scholar Sal, beautiful and sweet prima ballerina Monica, and tragic eldest sister Vanessa, a former opera diva-wannabe who was left mute by an accident. Claude underestimates the hilarity that will ensue, in addition to the culture shock and ultimately, acceptance that the new family will bring.


My Secret Rabbit contains examples of:
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Though not repulsed by Vanessa, Claude is a little put-off by her blatant attempts to seduce him. Sal is this to Madeleine as well.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Andre
  • Main/Adorkable: Even shy Claude finds love- with a French prima ballerina.
  • Aloof Big Brother: Martin was this to Claude, even while both still lived at home.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Etienne Beliveau, though it goes right over Andre's head.
  • Beauty Mark: Vanessa has one on her left cheek.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Claude (blonde,) Montserrat (redhead,) and Ramir or his son and daughters (brunettes.)
  • Brainy Brunette: Sal is an absolute linguistics genius, having produced translations of Horace and Seneca in middle school, while Monica is bookish and knows all there is to know about art and history. Andre is wise beyond his years and picked up music fairly quickly as well.
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  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Sal. He even turned down an offer to attend grad school at age fifteen.
  • British Stuffiness: Madame Entwistle, a Newcastle native, maintains this in spite of being a Parisian, though she seems to have lightened up by the time Andre meets her.
  • Broken Bird: Nothing gets to Vanessa until Sal abuses the hell out of Andre.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Implied between Sal and Vanessa once Monica moves out. They're going to have, ahem, urges, but they barely let anyone else inside their apartment beyond the front curb.
  • Childhood Brain Damage: Explains why Vanessa is mute.
  • Child Prodigy: Vanessa with her singing, Monica with her ballet, Sal with his ancient languages, Andre with his harp. It seems this trope runs in the family, though Montserrat and Ramir never had any special talents revealed, possibly because their childhoods were cut short by her Teenage Pregnancy and their forced marriage.
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  • Christianity Is Catholic: Not surprising, given that the Duval's are Atlantic Coast Americans of (typically Catholic) French/Swiss/Belgian stock, while the Rovira's have Catalan/Italian/Portuguese lineage and seem to be somewhat adherent despite their residency in an ever-secularizing France.
  • Colour Coded Eyes: Claude, Nadia, and Danielle are known for their bright, peridot-green peepers. May represent new life in the first two, but envy in the last one.
  • Curse: Madame Entwistle's deathly fear that Igor Stravinsky ballets are jinxed takes its toll upon her dancers.
  • Cute Mute: Vanessa.
  • Daddy's Girl: Monica to Ramir, who probably would not be above admitting that she is the favorite of his three children.
  • Driven to Suicide: Nadia turned a shotgun on herself prior to the story and was implied to have suffered from depression. Claude reveals that he made an attempt in high school out of mere despair.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Sal and Vanessa are certainly eerie, but Monica and Ramir, who are identical in complexion, are actually described as pleasant- not frightening at all. Personality may be key here.
  • Elegant Classical Musician: Andre is a male example, reducing even professional musicians to tears with his harp.
  • Evil Uncle: Sal, oh-so-much. Danielle certainly qualifies as an Evil Aunt.
  • The '50s: Most of the story spans the decade from 1952 onward, but ends in the early sixties. Divorce is unheard of, the Catholic Church still uses Latin, and Claude, The All-American Boy, grew up in a Maryland Cut-and-Paste Suburb outside of Washington, DC.
  • Fostering for Profit: Sal and Vanessa, more so the former.
  • Freudian Excuse: Perhaps Martin's arrogance and Jean-Luc's neglect and workaholism can be attributed to the loss of their mother and wife.
  • Gay Paree: The story's setting, thriving in spite of the recent end of World War II. It's just what Claude needs (in many ways.)
  • Granola Girl: Monica. She is a vegetarian and a pacifist but is not necessarily in-your-face about it.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Given the characters' backgrounds (and one's particular talent with linguistics,) featured throughout with various languages: Latin, Italian, Portuguese, French, and of course, Catalan.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Claude and his late mother, Nadia have golden-blonde hair and are depicted as very kind.
  • Happily Adopted: Andre by Etienne in the end.
  • Happily Married: Claude and Monica.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: Nobody can resist little Andre.
  • Henpecked Husband: It's suggested that Martin eventually became one of these.
  • Innocent Flower Girl: Nadia and Monica, both fans of gardening, both of whom meet a Tear Jerker demise.
  • Innocent Prodigy: The Rovira siblings initially come off as sweet and modest, particularly Monica, who later trains Andre to keep a sense of humility with regards to his musical talent. And then he is exploited by ex-innocent prodigy Sal for just that.
  • I Want Grandkids: Montserrat and Ramir seem to be more excited about Claude and Monica's new arrival than the parents themselves. And just another reason why they're just a little disappointed with Sal and Vanessa's ways.
  • Jerkass with a Heart of Gold: Martin can be a bully to Claude, but deeply cares about him and later comes to admit his many mistakes.
  • Just a Kid: Even though he's a musical genius who happens to be wise beyond his seven years and prefers to socialize with adults rather than other children, Andre still carries around a stuffed toy, stumbles over big words, feels lost without his parents, believes in Father Christmas, and can't wait to grow up.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Spunky Monica is this to melancholic Claude. Nadia may have been this to uptight, bookish Jean-Luc as well.
  • Nice Guy: Claude is nothing but sweet and thoughtful, even to those who probably don't deserve it. He even used to nurse Danielle whenever she got drunk.
  • Missing Mom: Martin and Claude were in elementary school when Nadia died, but both struggle and react to her loss in different ways.
  • Orphan's Ordeal: Andre. Poor, poor Andre.
  • Panty Shot: Monica's preference for teeny-tiny sundresses and her tendency to twirl and prance about as she walks often results in these.
  • Parental Abandonment: Andre, following the loss of his parents. He spends the rest of the story bouncing from home-to-home (and boarding school), resulting in a heartbreaking I Just Want to Be Loved crisis.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: Danielle is callous, superficial, and greedy, but Nadia was described as kind, sporty, intelligent, sophisticated, and took pleasures in the simple things in life, such as nature and gardening.
  • Plucky Girl: Monica and Nadia. Claude seems to be attracted to this type.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: All three of the Rovira siblings, as well as Ramir and Andre.
  • Rich Bitch: Martin's wife Gwen, the daughter of a DC-area politician, is extremely rude, even to her husband. She went as far as turning down his late mother's heirloom engagement ring when he proposed to her because it looked too timeworn.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Even a teenage Sal prefers suits and high-end cigarettes. Ramir has his prized pocket watch. Andre will likely become one.
  • Spirited Young Lady: Despite her background as a graceful ballerina, Monica is feisty, a bit pushy, and incredibly sharp. And although she does try to be polite, her table manners are appalling.
  • Stepford Smiler: Martin, possibly a Type A. Coupled with an Inferiority Superiority Complex, no less.
  • Surprise Pregnancy: Nearly ended Monica's ballet career, but Madeleine saved the day.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Ramir.
  • Therapy Is for the Weak: Martin felt he was too cool, Claude feared further advancing his image as a "depressed freak."
  • Tiny Tyrannical Girl: Gwen is noted for her petite build- and even more for her violent tendencies.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Down-to-earth Madeleine is the tomboy to whimsical Monica's girly-girl. Danielle and her plucky twin, Nadia, may have been so as children.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Claude and Andre.
  • White Anglo-Saxon Protestant: Subverted with the van der Pols, who are rich, white, Atlantic Coast residents but are neither Anglo-Saxon nor Protestant.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Danielle, also doubles (and originates) as an evil aunt (see above.)
  • Would Hurt a Child: Sal, in the worst sense. He comes close to killing Andre on a few occasions.
  • Youthful Freckles: Outdoorsy Gal Nadia had them. Madeleine has them as well, likely due to her very fair complexion.

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