Monday, March 7, 2011

Review - These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf

Title: These Things Hidden (Amazon)
Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: 2011
Pages: 337
Genre: YA
Source: Library

When teenager Allison Glenn is sent to prison for a heinous crime, she leaves behind her reputation as Linden Falls' golden girl forever. Her parents deny the existence of their once-perfect child. Her former friends exult her downfall. Her sister, Brynn, faces whispered rumors every day in the hallways of their small Iowa high school. It's Brynn—shy, quiet Brynn—who carries the burden of what really happened that night. All she wants is to forget Allison and the past that haunts her.
But then Allison is released to a halfway house, and is more determined than ever to speak with her estranged sister.
Now their legacy of secrets is focused on one little boy. And if the truth is revealed, the consequences will be unimaginable for the adoptive mother who loves him, the girl who tried to protect him and the two sisters who hold the key to all that is hidden. (Goodreads)

Kim’s take:

Wow! I thought this book was really good. I found it disturbing and it’s hard to describe without giving some things away. It was narrated alternately by four people who were directly affected by the events that night and the results following.

Sisters Allison and Brynn have grown up in a house with parents who seem to have no interest in them. Allison seems to be the golden girl pushing herself for excellence in everything she does in order to please everyone. But one tragic night is about to change the lives of herself, her sister, and so many others, into a nightmare. Allison ends up in prison for 5 years as a result. Younger Brynn is left alone to deal with the public scorn and humiliation for her sisters actions. Her parents eventually send her to live with her grandmother, ultimately erasing both girls from their lives as failures.

I honestly didn’t care for Allison right from the start. I just didn’t feel much sincere remorse from her for her actions in the event that occurred that tragic evening. Brynn is the one I felt most sorry for. She was brought into everything while trying to help the sister who has seemingly ignore her and made her feel inferior after the close relationship they had when they were younger. Brynn and Charm, who is the sister of Allison’s past boyfriend, seemed to continue to be the most ruined by the events of that evening. And to add to that, Charm’s father-figure, Gus, is dying and is the only person who has always been there for her.

There were parts of the story that were very disturbing and hard to read about, but were essential to the story. I really liked how small pieces of the events of that tragic evening are revealed throughout the story making me want to read even faster to get all of the details! I read the book in one sitting. Surprising twists are a constant throughout. The author did a great job of building each character and allowing the reader to experience the grief and emotion each character experiences throughout the story and the shocking ending. It had a very surprising ending which I never once suspected. It had a great and original story line which sucked me in and didn’t want to let go. I’d really recommend it!

Kim's Rating : 4/5


  1. I want to read this one! :) I'm happy you enjoyed it!

  2. Sounds like a really dark book.

  3. I'm here from the Comment Exchange Program!

    I hadn't heard of this book before, but it sounds really interesting! Your review makes me want to read it - I'll add it to my wishlist (:

  4. Sounds like an interesting read. It reminds me of something I've read but I can't place it!

  5. Want to read!! sounds suspenseful and awesome!