Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hidden by Helen Frost

"I was a happy little girl wearing a pink dress,
     sitting in our gold minivan,
     dancing with my doll, Kamara."

The summary is hidden because it may contain spoilers. If you would like to read the full summary, simply use your cursor to highlight the next few lines and it will magically appear.

Summary: 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.

Frances Foster Books/Farrar Straus Giroux; 142 pages


Kris said...

Wow! This one grabbed me from the start. Written beautifully in verse, Hidden explores issues of friendship and family. There are many layers to this one. I can't wait to read it again!

Angela said...
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Angela said...

I have mixed feelings on this one. The story itself quickly draws you in --and how many children's authors have tackled car jackings / kidnappings?-- and largely succeeds at holding it through the duration of the book. Beneath the immediate urgency of the plot were interesting explorations of relationships: between family, between peers, etc. And I applaud Frost's choice to tell the story from alternating POVs, as I set up a nice contrast between the two girls' experiences.

On the other hand, I'm not so sure about Frost's use of poetry / form in the novel. It wasn't until a note on the last page that she explains another way of reading the text (by reading the last word of the "long" sentences)--ostensibly as a way of revealing more of Darra's thoughts on the story. Yet when I went back and reread those sections, I felt the sentences covered nothing new. Rather, they felt somewhat trivial and contrived. I'm all for experimenting with form, but with a purpose; this particular device simply felt like an exercise in cleverness.