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.
I was instantly intrigued by the summary of These Things Hidden. How many YA books deal with a teen who just got out of prison? At its core, These Things Hidden is a well plotted story that deals with challenging issues. However, some of its finer points didn’t quite work for me.
The narration is split between four characters: Allison, Brynn, Charm and Claire. Throughout the story, we learn how they are connected. One of my core problems with this story was Brynn: I found her extremely difficult to like. I felt sorry for her because she clearly had problems, some beyond her control, but I also felt like she made minimal effort to make amends where she would. I do think that the fact that I disliked Brynn so strongly is indicative of Gudenkauf’s ability to write compelling characters.
Looking at a super rough, not well detailed outline of the plot, I would say that I enjoyed this story. But when I got to all of the details, the novel felt too much like a soap opera. I felt that there were so many plot twists that the story becomes unbelievable. However, I will say that I think Gudenkauf did a wonderful job of tackling tough issues, particularly by adding her own author’s note at the end.
I think These Things Hidden is a story with a lot of potential, but the finer details didn’t work for me. I read an ARC of book, so the final version may be different. I also think I read this book at the wrong time--I read it right after seeing Black Swan, and I think the premise of the story was too grim for me after seeing a movie that scared me so much, but I had to finish this one because I had it from an ARC tour. I invite you all to check out other reviews of this book which I’ve linked down below, because some reviewers felt very differently than I.
Other reviews:Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Star Book Tours.