Review: These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf

Posted 21 January, 2011 by Danny in Uncategorized / 4 Comments

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC!


Allison Glenn tried to hide what happened that night…and failed. The consequence? Five years in prison. Now she’s free. But secrets have a way of keeping you caged…When Allison 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 in her downfall. Her sister, Brynn, faces the whispered rumours 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, and is more determined than ever to speak with her 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.

UYP: Oh you guys. YOU GUYS! This is going to be a very hard review to write. Not because the book was terrible. Quite the opposite – I LOVED IT! But because I have to tell you why I liked it so much without giving away any of the plot. Because this thing has twists and turns and truly heartbreaking and tissue-worthy moments that I didn’t see coming.

Greta: DUDE! That’s going to be mega hard! How are you going to do it?

So instead of talking about all the nuances in writing and twists and character development, because all my favorite parts give away the plot, I’ll focus on the author. Who is most awesome! First of all, Heather Gudenkauf is a local (to me) Iowa author. That means she’s corn-fed like Kristen and worships Captain Kirk :P… You all do like to eat corn and worship the mighy man of space, right? She has pulled from events that happen in our local news which is really interesting to me. She’s also a graduate of my own alma mater. But what holds me so fast to her books (she also wrote the MBE challenge that Greta had for me, The Weight of Silence) is her captivating story telling. Like in the other book, each chapter has a different point of view. She also switches tenses (I’d love to know why!). DUH!! Cuz she’s awesomef! ;P Each detail of what happened is layed out piece by piece, yet still, not all the cards are on the table, so when you think you know what is going on, WHAMMO! She switches it up!

But at the heart of it all, it’s the kind of story I love. A story about people. Just regular corn-fed people. No fairies or vampires or supernatural stuff. GASP!!! Don’t get me wrong, I get a kick out of fantasy stuff. But reading about regular kids and adults who make really stupid choices (like we all do)(except for me cuz I’m perfect) really intrigues me. Do they pay for it or maybe they get off scott free? Or maybe they don’t even know how screwed up they are yet and we get to find out how badly along with them.

Heather also deals with one of those ‘untouchable’ subjects and when I was done with this book, I was telling my husband about it and weeping, not just for the characters, but for the real life kids and families that this book brought to the spotlight. I sincerely hope that a book like this will help someone look around and see that there are alternatives to their situation. So so so so true!!

If you have read this, or are thinking about reading it – please comment below! But since the element of surprise over what exactly Allison did is very central to the plot, please try to write spoiler-free. That means we don’t want you to say: “Oh snap!! Did you not freak when the chick went all balls to the wall on (fill in the blank)?”. But please feel free to email me all the juicy plot points you loved!

This was a great read – and I hope you are ready to take a break and dive into a brave and raw story of a small piece of what makes us human.

Cuz it is sooo worth it!!

**And Thank You Greta for reading along (and commenting) with me!!!

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