Saturday, December 8, 2018

What You Hide by Natalie D. Richards

Mallory didn't want to leave home, but it wasn't safe to stay. So she sleeps at her best friend's house and spends the rest of her time at the library, doing her online schoolwork and figuring out what comes next. Because she's not going live in fear like her mother.

Spencer volunteers at the library. Sure, it's community service for a stunt he pulled, but he likes the work. And it's the perfect escape from his parents' pressure to excel at school, at ice hockey, at everything. Especially after he meets Mallory.

Then there is a tragic death at the library. Suddenly, what was once a sanctuary turns sinister. Ghostly footprints, strange scratching sounds, scrawled messages on bulletin boards and walls... Mallory and Spencer don't know who or what is responsible, but one thing is for sure:

They are not as alone—or as safe—as they thought.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

3.5 Stars from the adult reading young adult. I do believe younger readers would enjoy this more.

Natalie D. Richards is a new-to-me author.

What You Hide hooked me from the start, especially watching Mallory try to convince her pregnant mother to leave her abusive husband. I empathized with Mallory, her story resonating in me, as she struggled with the injustice and her need to protect her mother, as her mother became a passive passenger to not only her own abuse but that of her daughter. Nothing but pure gaslighting, and it was as frustrating to read as it was realistic.

Mallory's mother is pregnant, believing she's making the right choice by staying with her husband, thinking she is also in a position with little choices. But as a mother, she is taking both Mallory and her unborn child with her on these decisions, proving adults and teens alike are not infallible. While I could sympathize in a been there done that manner, I was frustrated to read how easily she let her daughter go, believing the lies her husband was spinning. With Mallory so adamant, Mom should have taken stock in her protests a lot more.

A strong role model, determined and focused, Mallory runs away from home to stay with her friend, has to quit school because her stepfather works for the school district. Attempting to get her diploma with an online school, Mallory uses the library computer bank to study and connect with her classes.

Spencer is indulged by his affluent parents, lashing out by doing outlandish things because he feels pressured into making a decision on which college to attend. While I found the guy likable, he wasn't very relatable, outside of pressures to perform. He has whatever he wants and is treated with respect and unconditional love, so the juxtaposition to Mallory's life is jarring.

Using Parkour to scale the library, Spencer slips and takes out a window instead. His punishment is working in the library to pay off the costs of the window, which is where Spencer and Mallory cross paths.

There's something creepy happening in the library, told from both the perspectives of Mallory and Spencer. They become sidekicks and love interests while they solve the mystery together. Excuse my vagueness, as I don't want to create spoilers when it comes to the mystery aspects.

While I enjoyed Mallory, her characterization and backstory, I wished the entire novel was surrounded by her plight. I found the mystery lacking, not really sparking any interest in me. It did and didn't actually all fit together. It wasn't the driving-force for me, which is why I said at the beginning of my review how I felt this is a novel where an actual young adult would appreciate it more than those young at heart.

While the foundation of the plot is a good one to build from, I'm not sure the execution had it living up to its potential.

Young adult age-range: 14+ featuring violence and abuse.

Avid Reader☆☆☆
M/F Mystery
Triggers: Click HERE to see Avid Reader’s review on Goodreads for trigger warnings.

This is mostly a story about Mallory and Spencer's friendship.

Spencer has lived a life of privilege. His parents are pressuring him to choose a path to college, but Spencer feels a little like he's drowning. When he makes a questionable decision and ends up doing some property damage, he is required to volunteer at the library. It's there he meets Mallory.

Mallory is struggling at home. Her mom is pregnant but is with a man who is more than just a little controlling. He's scary and mean, abusive and threatening. While Mallory tries to get her mom to leave him, Mallory knows that no matter what, she needs to save herself.

The friendship that develops between Spencer and Mallory helps both of them figure out where they are going. They lean on each other and become each other's confidants. However, there is a strange mystery within the library and when someone ends up dead in the library, speculation runs wild.

While I enjoyed this story, it felt pieced together. There was the mystery that was underdeveloped, the friendship, which I would have liked to see more of, and the home life of Mallory, which I thought was the strongest part of the story and wished it had been more developed. I wanted more of Mallory's story. I thought that it felt very unfinished. Also, I wanted more from the ending. That, too, felt rushed and unfinished.

After years as a professional paper-pusher, Natalie D. Richards decided to trade in reality for a life writing YA fiction. She lives in Ohio (Go Bucks!) with her husband, three children, and a ridiculously furry dog named Yeti.

Connect with Natalie

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of What You Hide by Natalie D. Richards to read and review.

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