Sunday, March 3, 2013

Book Review: Hidden

Published By: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux
Publication Date: May 2011
Page Count: 160
Source: Library
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary

I adore verse novels - especially when I am in the mood for something I can read quickly. It amazes me that verse novels can contain so much emotion in smaller bursts of words. Hidden appealed to me not only for its structure, but also because I was interested to see how the two perspectives would play out. I enjoy stories that allow two narrators to share their version of the same events.

Hidden focuses on the stories of Wren and Dara and the tragic circumstances that brought them together. At eight years old, Wren is kidnapped when her mother's car is stolen. Wren, hiding in the backseat, fears for her life and does not the thief know of her existence. She finds herself in a garage with no means of escape. To make matters worse, she has no idea where the garage is located. This segment of the book was very difficult for me. I am not a parent, but I cannot imagine how terrifying losing a child would be. In this case, Wren does make it home and unharmed, but so many other stories do not have happy endings. The experience forever changes Wren and her outlook on life.

Dara is also affected by this event because it is her father who stole the car. This segment of the novel was also a difficult one because the way Dara views the situation is so different from Wren's perspective. Dara understands that her father did something wrong, but he is still her father. She struggles with how to cope with her father's actions. After her father is sent to prison and her parents' marriage begins to crumble, Dara begins to resent Wren.

A huge time shift happens in the middle of the novel; the girls end up at the same summer camp as teenagers. The struggle with how to interact with one another. Wren does not want anyone to know about her past; Dara does not want anyone to know about her father. As girls will do from time to time, these two allow their fear of exposure to lead them to act in catty and snarky ways. However, as the novel progresses and they each begin to share their side of the story with the other, they both learn some valuable lessons. 

I was surprised about how dark the beginning of this novel was, but I liked that in the end it had more of a positive tone. I also enjoyed the character development of Wren and Dara. It was nice seeing these girls morph from adolescence into young adulthood. Stories with summer camp settings have long held appeal for me; I always wanted to attend one as a kid, but never had the opportunity. I enjoy living out my unfulfilled childhood daydreams through fiction.

One Last Gripe: I didn't understand Dara's choice to not tell her mother about Wren hiding in the boat.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: The strong voices of Wren and Dara

Favorite Character: Wren

Least Favorite Character: In the end, nobody is 100% good or bad. I didn't end up having a least favorite.

When Wren Abbott and Darra Monson are eight years old, Darra's father steals a minivan. He doesn't know that Wren is hiding in the back. The hours and days that follow change the lives of both girls. Darra is left with a question that only Wren can answer. Wren has questions, too. 

Years later, in a chance encounter at camp, the girls face each other for the first time. They can finally learn the truth—that is, if they’re willing to reveal to each other the stories that they’ve hidden for so long. Told from alternating viewpoints, this novel-in-poems reveals the complexities of memory and the strength of a friendship that can overcome pain.


  1. wow, this sounds intense!! i loooove the cover though. beautiful.

    1. I agree - the cover is eye catching. It also is intense, but well worth the read.

  2. I love novels in poems but I have never read them. I am a huge fan of poetry and I write it, too! SO I will probably read this sometime
    Your reader,

    1. You'll love this one, Soma! I also really enjoyed having two narrators.


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