An engrossing novel-in-stories that paints a tapestry of secrets and lies: why we keep them, why we tell them, and what happens next.
Americans Jenny and her brother, Tom, are off to England: Tom to university, to dodge the Vietnam draft, Jenny to be the new girl at a boarding school, Illington Hall. This is Jenny's chance to finally stand out, so accidentally, on purpose, she tells a lie.
In the small world of Ill Hall, everyone has something to hide. Jenny pretends she has a boyfriend. Robbie and Luke both pretend they don't. Brenda won't tell what happened with the school doctor. Nico wants to keep his mother's memoir a secret. Percy is hush-hush about his famous dad. Oona lies to everyone. Penelope lies only to herself.
Deftly told from multiple points of view in various narrative styles, including letters and movie screenplays, What We Hide is provocative, honest, often funny, and always intriguing.
“Poignant and often witty.” —Kirkus Reviews
“An evocative representation of the tumultuous ’60s.” —Publishers Weekly
“Juicy, fast-paced.” —SLJ
Expanding their horizons isn't the primary reason that American siblings Tom and Jenny agree to study abroad. Tom is dodging the draft by going to college in England; Jenny will attend a nearby boarding school to be his "pal" and to make his going overseas "more believable." Once at Illington Hall, Jenny, eager to play the role of "mysterious stranger," fabricates a story about having a boyfriend in the Army. She succeeds in making an impression on her classmates, but she isn't the only student telling lies. In this novel, set during the Vietnam era, Jocelyn (Folly) alternately delves into the psyches of Jenny and her newfound friends to unveil their secrets about dysfunctional families, sexual exploits, and acts of selfishness that harm others. Although the intimate details of characters' lives can be soap operatic at times, Jocelyn provides authentic British flavor and an evocative representation of the tumultuous '60s, when teens challenged social conventions. Intrigue builds as many figures, willingly or unwillingly, come face-to-face with what they are hiding and must decide whether to drop their deceptive facades. Ages 14 up.