Hide by Kiersten White is a story about bravery, friendship, and choices made in the past that continue to haunt the current generation, all set within the bounds of an abandoned amusement part.
I do not say this lightly; This is my new favorite book of all time.
Let’s dive in!
My Thoughts on Hide by Kiersten White
Of course, I have to start off by discussing the book cover!
The shade of yellow that was chosen is in stark contrast to the darkness of the illustration. The ferris wheel looms over the rest of the elements, at first glance, looking to be joyful. But looking further into the smaller elements at the base of the ride, you can see that there is something not quite right…
Then of course, we see the twisted black roots that spread out underneath, split by the red ivy that matches the color of the title text.
There are also birds that appear to be circling the area.
The cover is haunting, and it’s just a glimpse into what’s within the pages!
When opening the book, the next thing readers will see is a park map on the endpaper. This was such a cool thing to open up to! Complete with some typical defacing like “K+M” and “Elwira was here!” but also more ominous ones like “Hobart Keck was RIGHT” that made me anxious to learn what he was right about! This lovely map design was created by David G. Stevenson, illustration by Elwira Pawlikowska!
Now, onto my notes about the story –
Living at a shelter after something bad happened with her family, Mack is brought into a meeting with the shelter manager where the manager discusses the risk of going stagnant with her life and not making any progress. Not very interested in the conversation, Mack can’t believe what the manager tells her about next, thinking it’s a really bad joke. But when she realizes the manager is serious, she ends up agreeing to try. After all, she doesn’t have much to lose.
The offer? To join a game of hide and seek at an abandoned amusement park for a chance to win a lot of money.
The catch? She must be the last competitor that hadn’t been caught after seven days.
Knowing she survived the worst game of hide and seek ever once before, Mack assumes this will be easy. But once Mack sees how the contestants are being prepared, she gets a nagging feeling that this game isn’t just for fun and money. Because of this, she slips right back into survival mode.
When I first heard about this book, and that it was set in an abandoned amusement park, I was already in! Amusement part horror is my favorite, and the author certainly brought the horror here. Written as a rage-cry directed toward school shootings and the lack of action being taken, the work that the author has done here will terrify you, at times it will break your heart, but there’s also a thin layer of hope present.
I immediately felt protective of the main character, Mack, when we first met her. The more we learn about her throughout the book, the stronger I felt. She was battling some inner demons, but even when they came to the surface, she didn’t let them overtake her. She grew so much over the few days trapped in the abandoned park, and I loved seeing her open up and trust a bit more.
I don’t want to write about the other characters, as it will likely give some of the excitement of the story away. So I will just say that each character that we get to know was so intriguing. No matter which “side” they fell on, it was a blast to learn more about everyone!
The organization of the storyline was perfect. Like the park itself, readers will come to learn that things are a bit of a maze, but there’s a point to the organization! Once things start to be seen more clearly, it all falls into place like the roof of one of the rotten carnival game booths collapsing. From there, as one of the characters in the book realizes, things switch from the horror of the unknown to the terror of the known!
My Favorite Passages from Hide
The floor is black marble, so polished they can see themselves in it. The walls and the furniture are pristine white. The kind of white that screams Don’t touch me to people like Mack. The kind of white that purrs You deserve me to people like Rebecca.
They both stay where they are, trapped in the prison of silence left in the wake of an unanswered scream.
If all the world is hell and evil is all around them, what else can they do but try to help each other?
People pretend things aren’t wrong, even when they can feel the truth, because they’re too afraid of what it means to look right at the horror, right at the wrongness, to face the truth in all its terrible glory. Like little kids, playing hide-and-seek. If they can’t see the monster, it can’t get them. But it can. It always can. And while you aren’t looking, it’s eating everyone around you.
He hit their mother, and he hit them, not because he was strong, but because he wasn’t. No one who is strong hits a child.
My Final Thoughts on Hide
I just finished reading a few minutes ago before I started writing this review, and I already cannot wait to dive back in. This one is going to have an annual re-read. I loved every single thing about this read; the cover, the plot and organization of the storyline, the characters, the dialogue, the dark vibes, the horror, the setting, the description of even the smallest detail, the foreshadowing, everything!
Pick up your copy and “get lost in the fun” today!
Snag a copy through Bookshop to help support local indie bookshops: