These Things Hidden - Heather Gudenkauf
Released January 2011
Honestly, I'm not sure what age group this novel would best suit. I'm letting my teen daughter read it next. She's a huge fan of Jodi Picoult's novels and I found myself getting that same chill that I get when reading a Picoult book.
These Things Hidden links a tragic event to three families. The novel starts with the release of 21-year-old Allison Glenn. She's served five-years in prison for a horrifying crime. In the years since her sentencing, Allison has lost everything--friends, family and her stellar education.
After settling into a halfway house, she tries to reunite with her family. Her parents want nothing to do with her. Her younger sister is the one Allison most wants to see but Brynn relives that tragic night. As Allison pushes for a reunion, another startling piece of the past comes into light. Things that have been hidden forever threaten to destroy Allison once again.
While this is a MIRA book, I wouldn't call it a romance at all. It's not quite women's fiction either. It's more a general fiction that keeps you on the edge of your seat. I'd like to say the shocking revelation in the final few chapters took me by surprise, but I had a feeling it was coming. Yet, when it did, I still felt that tug of disbelief.
Allison and Brynn are college-age and many of their thoughts and feelings are on that late-teen, early-twenties level. That's why I'm thinking my daughter will enjoy it. There's no graphic sex for parents to worry about. When the crime is revealed, I don't think it was any more shocking than what a teen reads in the paper. Given that, I think it's a great read for teens.
It's part mystery, part suspense and definitely a page turner. I couldn't stop reading. Now that I've discovered Heather Gudenkauf, I am eager to read her previous novel. I've just found a new must-read author and feel she's earned her place on my very selective list!