“Schools out and I’m waiting for Kim when my phone bleeps. Cant cum shopping. Gran sick. Soz. So I’m stuck here on the high street on my own, my best friend since forever sucked back into her super huge family. I need a new top but I've got hardly any money left and mum wants me home in one hour max, because since she broke her leg she expects me to do everything. Even clean the loo.”
Alix is having a hard time. Her mum broke her leg, just after her Grandpa and her dad left them, so shes stuck doing everything around the house, including bringing the money in! It’s awful and she keeps having screaming fits with her mum about anything and everything. To top it al off her best friend is suddenly only interested in Mozart and things keep coming up that stop them from being able to hang out. Then one day Alix and her new found friend Samir save an immigrant from drowning in the sea. All of a sudden Alix’s life doesn’t seem so bad when faced with the problems of an illegal immigrant and the stories Samir shares from Iraq.
Hidden is most definitely not an easy read, but its one that needs to be read by people, young and old, all over the world. Hidden teaches you to be a good person, to not judge and believe in yourself even when faced with terrible tasks and decisions, yet it doesn’t preach, not once, and it does all this with a true to life teenage main character who you can’t help but feel a fondness for.
The story is one that is improbable but works really well. It’s not like a lot of 14 year old kids can say they’ve met an illegal immigrant let alone saved one, but they can all stop and ask themselves what they would do if they found someone in trouble like that!! This is what I loved about Hidden, there were so many points where you can see the problems Alix faces and think “well I’d do this” and hope it’s the right choice, but let’s face it, you never know until you try and that’s what Alix does! I loved how much this story packed into such a short space, including abandonment issues, boys, race, cultures and family problems. Alix really does have a lot on her plate but the way she handles it is brilliant and I really think this book should be taught in school just for that reason!
Hidden is quite fast paced and with all its issue raising topics and things I was a little worried that it wouldn’t be able to deliver in its short 253 pages, however it really did, nothing was left untouched and it even managed to squeeze in a little something about adults being just as bad as teens when it comes to facing up to facts. I loved the way the story flowed and just as I’ve already said, I loved the way it handled everything!
The writing was amazing and I think that’s what makes it flow so well. You really get sucked into Alix’s way of thinking, which for a 14 year old girl can be quite a scary thing, especially when she was worrying about things that seemed so trivial on the surface. Then though, you look back and thin, about the fact that Alix’s personal problems ARE the sorts of things that teens in this country do have to worry about, more than those problems of Samir’s and Mohamed’s.
I loved the way that this book handled bullying and racism so much, you get it from the first few pages and things don’t really get much better as you get through the book, in fact at one point the get decidedly worse. However the problems are tackled well and I think that this book will teach kids to think twice before they say things, think about the feelings of others before they blurt stuff out and think about how it makes them look just saying those things. As I said, I really hope Hidden is a permanent fixture in schools libraries and classrooms, if its not it needs to be!
Hidden is Miriam Halahmy’s debut novel for young adults. It was published in March 2011 by Meadowside Children’s Books. The second in the series is due for release in March of this year. Thank you to UKBook Tours for offering this book for tour and sending it to me.