Book Review: What You Hide by Natalie D. Richards

What You Hide
Cover art is copyright of Sourcebooks Fire.


I’ve been on a real thriller/ mystery kick lately, so I was thrilled (see what I did there?) 😉 when I received an early copy of What You Hide, a new YA mystery from Sourcebooks Fire. This was a very fast-paced, suspenseful novel.

I recently blogged about why I love the young adult genre, and What You Hide is a perfect example of everything I mentioned in that blog!

Bonus: the library plays a prominent role in this book!

First of all, the action starts immediately in this book. It’s hard to review without giving away any spoilers (as most thriller/ mysteries are) but you can read in the book’s description online that one of the main characters, Mallory, is having a tough time at home. She sleeps at her friend’s house, the library…really anywhere that isn’t home because she’s having some problems there.

And that’s how the story opens, with Mallory rushing home to get to her mom so they can make their exit. I won’t say what or who they’re running from or why Mallory ends up on her own. But once she ends up sleeping at the library, strange things start happening. Weird messages are scrawled on the walls, strange sounds and crying can be heard throughout the building, and a body even turns up in the aisles!

Then there’s Spencer. Spencer is lost/ wandering much of the book. He’s facing graduation and a load of pressure to pick an Ivy League school and carry on family traditions. Mallory, on the other hand, is the complete opposite, living on snack food and washing her hair at the laundromat. They are from two completely different worlds, and one day, those worlds collide (cue those first-love/ crush butterflies!)

What You Hide is part love story and part mystery with a little bit of ghost story mixed in. It’s not a typical love story by any means, which is one of the reasons I love the YA genre. Mallory is not “rescued” by Spencer, as happens in many adult romance novels. She doesn’t need, nor does she want, him to save her. She has trouble allowing him to even help her.

I loved the characters in this novel. Mallory and Spencer are beautifully developed throughout the book. Mallory emerged as an incredibly strong young woman. I admired her determination, her resourcefulness, and her loyalty to her mom. I think she is an incredible role model for teens and tweens.

I also appreciated the role of the library in this book. It is truly a sanctuary for many characters, giving them shelter, access to resources, and safety. It is a lifeline, featured so prominently that I thought of it as one of the characters while reading and still do reflecting back.

I highly recommend this book!

I received an advance reader copy from Sourcebooks Fire through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


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