About This Book:
Told in two alternating narratives, The Hideaway tells the story of Billy McKenna, who runs away from home and takes refuge in an overgrown graveyard. The first narrative is told from his perspective, whereas the second thread tells of the situation at home and the police search for Billy. Covering themes of domestic violence, families, childhood, and being separated and reunited, this is an important and beautifully illustrated book for middle grade readers right up to adults.
The Hideaway is illustrated throughout with tonal and textured black and white drawings. The atmospheric illustrations seep into the edge of the pages before they give way to a series of double-page spreads as the story reaches its climax.
*Review Contributed by Karen Yingling, Staff Reviewer*
Domestic abuse is a problem in many parts of the world, and the research into this that Smy did is evident. I liked that the police and neighbors were paying attention and not discounting Grace’s experiences, or telling her just to sit tight. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have included a list of resources in the back for children who might need help in similar circumstances.
This is a fantasy book; at one point, the cemetery and its ghostly inhabitants become a large part of the story, but I don’t want to ruin how this happens!
I have frequently voiced my concern about British parenting; there are any number of UK imports with parents who struggle to take care of their children for a variety of reasons, from Cathy Cassidy’s Dizzy (2004) and Indigo Blue (2006), to Crossan’s Apple and Rain (2016) and Lewis’ Scarlet Ibis (2018). This read a bit like Jacqueline Wilson meets Neil Gaiman. The Hideaway has a distinctly British feel and will be popular with readers who liked Thompson’s The Light Jar, DeStefano’s The Girl with the Ghost Machine, or Edge’s The Many Worlds of Albie Bright.
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