Hidden

Author: Helen Frost

When she was eight years old, Wren Abbott was waiting in her mom’s van when a gunshot went off and a man she didn’t know stole the van . . . with her still in it. Darra Monson was the eight-year-old daughter of the man who stole the van and then brought it to the Monson home garage . . . with Wren still hidden away in the back, undetected. With Darra’s help, Wren managed to stay safe and hidden in the garage, but when she escaped on her own through the pet door, Darra’s dad ended up imprisoned for several years. Six years later, the two girls run into each other at summer camp and recognize each other instantly: “the girl whose dad stole our car and traumatized me,” “the girl who got my dad sent to prison and broke up our family.” . . . They’re not really sure how to react to each other, understandably.

Helen Frost writes beautiful, original books–the more I read of her books, the more I love her writing! Hidden is both a rich psychological study and a sweet tale of friendship. It’s moving, funny, painful, and gentle–sometimes all at once. Darra and Wren are complete, wonderful characters, and the gradual unfolding of their relationship is a wonderful thing. The choices of settings and details is also impeccably designed to move the story forward in the most natural way possible. And, as with so much of Frost’s writing, one of the most surprising and rewarding aspects is the form this is written in. This is poetry, told from two perspectives. Wren’s poems are free verse, while Darra’s are a more intricate set pattern that Frost designed herself for this book. The poetry itself flows naturally and beautifully in both instances, and I think the differences just serve to emphasize the different characters and personalities of the two girls. Ultimately, Hidden is a tale of renewal and hope, and I think it would be a great choice for anyone upper-middle-school and older.

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