Saturday, March 26, 2011

These Things Hidden – Heather Gudenkauf

Publisher:  Mira
Pages:  352
Source:  Review Copy form Netgalley
Genre:  Young Adult/Adult Suspense

Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.

My Review
What happens when an over-achiever teenager gets pregnant?  What happens when she hides the pregnancy from everyone?  Who will be there to help her when time to deliver the baby?  What will happen to the baby?

This book had me from the opening chapter.  Allison is being released from five years in prison.  Her crime?  She is accused of giving birth to a baby then throwing her in a river to drown.  But things are not what they seem.  The book is told from the perspective of  four women.  Allison who is accused of giving birth and killing her baby, her sister Brynn who secretly helped her with the delivery, Charm a woman who has dropped a child off at a fire station and Claire a woman who could have no children and has an adopted son named Joshua.  All of their lives are intertwined.
The best way I can tell this story is that it is gritty and heart wrenching.  It shows the dysfunctional families and the distance people will go to protect those they love.  Every time I thought I had the story figured out then something else happened and my theory went out the window.  You get the feeling as you are reading that things can not turn out well for all involved.  This is not one of those feel good books with the happy ending for everyone.  It is both happy and sad.  It is a book of beginnings and hope.  It is a book that needs to be recommended to friends.  And that is what I am doing. 
This was an Ebook from netgalleys, but I have already ordered the print copy for my shelves.

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