( 5 )


When Wren Abbott and Darra Monson are eight years old, Darra's father steals a minivan. He doesn't know that Wren is hiding in the back. The hours and days that follow change the lives of both girls. Darra is left with a question that only Wren can answer. Wren has questions, too. 

Years later, in a chance encounter at camp, the girls face each other for the first time. They can finally learn the truth—that is, if they’re willing to reveal to each other the stories ...

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When Wren Abbott and Darra Monson are eight years old, Darra's father steals a minivan. He doesn't know that Wren is hiding in the back. The hours and days that follow change the lives of both girls. Darra is left with a question that only Wren can answer. Wren has questions, too. 

Years later, in a chance encounter at camp, the girls face each other for the first time. They can finally learn the truth—that is, if they’re willing to reveal to each other the stories that they’ve hidden for so long. Told from alternating viewpoints, this novel-in-poems reveals the complexities of memory and the strength of a friendship that can overcome pain.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Many teen readers will identify with Wren and Darra and how events that happened to us when we were younger help shape the person we become." —VOYA


"Beginning with a horrific story of an accidental kidnapping, this poetic novel is impossible to put down....A masterpiece!"  —Shirley Mullin, Kids Ink Children's Bookstore


“Like Frost’s Printz Honor Book, Keesha’s House (2003), this novel in verse stands out through its deliberate use of form to illuminate emotions and cleverly hide secrets in the text.” —Booklist

Children's Literature - Dawna Lisa Buchanan
In free verse, this novel tells of two young girls and how their lives collide. Wren Abbot was eight, "...a happy little girl wearing a pink dress, sitting in our gold minivan, dancing with my doll, Karmara" (page 3). Her mother runs into a convenience store for a moment, leaving the keys in the ignition. Wren hears a gun shot. Then a strange man jumps into the car and drives away, unaware that Wren is crouching, hidden, in the back. He drives to a house and leaves the car in the garage. Wren lives in fear for days, hiding and trying to figure out how to escape. The girl who lives in the house, Darra, realizes that the girl on the news is hiding in their garage, and leaves small gifts of food for her. Wren finally escapes, and Darra's father is arrested. Years later, the girls meet at summer camp, and uneasily come to terms with their secret, past connection. Frost lets each girl speak of the experience in her own voice, alternating chapters so that readers have a chance to appreciate the complexity of the situation for both characters. Readers are tempted to despise the hapless father, until the author tells them to read the last word in the longest lines "spoken" by Darra. Then we learn what happened to her father and how he came to be so unhappy. Frost doesn't pull punches: once, the man slaps his wife, violence unimaginable to Wren, results. Finally the girls become close friends, and we are left wondering if Darra and her mother will choose to see the father again when he is released from jail. Reviewer: Dawna Lisa Buchanan
School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—An eight-year-old waits in the family's minivan while her mother goes into a convenience store. When she hears a gunshot, she scrambles to hide under a blanket in the back, and then someone rushes into the van and drives away without knowing she's there. This novel in verse is told in two first-person voices. Wren is the girl in the van, and Darra (also age eight) is the daughter of the man who robs the store and inadvertently kidnaps Wren. He drives home, and she's trapped in their garage for several days before she escapes. Darra is aware of her presence and tries to come up with a plan that won't implicate her father, but Wren is already gone. The book then jumps ahead six years, to the summer camp in Michigan where the two girls meet. This original blend of crime tale, psychological study, and friendship story is a page-turner that kids will love. There are a few plausibility issues, but there are many more strengths. Wren's captivity in the garage is truly suspenseful, and the various interactions of the kids at the sleepover camp are a study in shifting alliances. The book also touches on some deeper issues, like how you can love a parent who is sometimes abusive, and how sensitive kids can blame themselves for things that aren't really their fault. Smoothly written, this novel carries a message of healing and hope.—Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
Kirkus Reviews

From the award-winning Frost comes a wildly imaginative, thought-provoking novel in verse that centers on the unlikely friendship that arises between two teenage girls as a result of an accidental kidnapping. Darra Monson's father, an abusive, unemployed mechanic, steals a minivan, not knowing that 8-year-old Wren Abbott, daughter of the local school superintendent, lies hidden in the back. Told entirely from her perspective, Wren's unwitting capture and eventual escape comprise the first third of thestory before the narration switches to Darra, who relates how her father is caught and imprisoned, all the while blaming Wren for his arrest. Though from opposite sides of the tracks, Darra and Wren's paths cross again six years later at summer camp, where the 14-year-olds see each other for the first time. Slowly the two begin to unpack that uninvited trauma. After breaking the ice and overcoming Wren's nearly drowning Darra, the two begin to talk, and Frost's lyric narrative resolves movingly by alternating between the two protagonists. Frost's tale exhibits her trademark character development that probes the complexities of intimate relationships. Here Wren's touching statement, "I was a happy little girl / wearing a pink dress," eventually leads to Darra's private admission to Wren: "None of it was our fault." Both tender and insightful, this well-crafted, fast-paced tale should have wide teen appeal. (notes on form)(Poetry. 10-16)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374382216
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 5/10/2011
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 257,896
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: HL670L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Helen Frost is the author of several books for young people, including Diamond Willow, Crossing Stones, The Braid, and Keesha’s House, selected an Honor Book for the Michael L. Printz Award. Helen Frost was born in Brookings, South Dakota, the fifth of ten children. She recalls the summer her family moved from South Dakota to Oregon, traveling in a big trailer and camping in places like the Badlands and Yellowstone. Her father told the family stories before they went to sleep, and Helen would dream about their travels, her family, and their old house. “That’s how I became a writer,” she says. “I didn’t know it at the time, but all those things were accumulating somewhere inside me.”


As a child, she loved to travel, think, swim, sing, learn, canoe, write, argue, sew, play the piano, play softball, play with dolls, daydream, read, go fishing, and climb trees. Now, when she sits down to write, her own experiences become the details of her stories. Helen has lived in South Dakota, Oregon, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, Scotland, Colorado, Alaska, California, and Indiana. She currently lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with her family.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2014

    HIDDEN Helen Frost Locked up in a garage, Wren waited for her c

    Helen Frost
    Locked up in a garage, Wren waited for her chance to escape. She was past scared. She was terrified. Hidden by Helen Frost is an intense story about an eight-year-old girl named Wren.
    Wren Abbot was a small girl waiting for her mom to come back to the car. When she heard a gunshot she flew to the back of the car. Next thing you know she was in a man’s garage. While she was scared to death she found out that a girl her age named Darra was living in the house. Six years later Wren meets a girl named Darra. Darra remembers Wren and doesn’t want to.
    To me this book was very good and I definitely couldn’t stop reading. It’s very dramatic and full of suspense.
    I am not a huge fan of reading, but even so I enjoyed this book so much. I recommend Hidden to any type of readers especially ones with a love for dramatic books.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 15, 2011

    Unique, creative mystery--Excellent for 12 year olds!

    My 12 yr old son absolutely loved this book: it remains his current favorite; several of his friends have wanted to buy it now, based on my son's description. The story touches on very dark, scary subject matter but keeps the reader safe--thus it is appropriate for many ages, but particularly starting at 11 yrs old. In addition, the book's structure is uniquely clever (giving the title an additional meaning)--I won't give it away--that I recommend this book for use in school. As an adult, I read the book and couldn't put it down.

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  • Posted June 26, 2011

    A Kidnapping, Poetry, and Summer Camp

    During a morning of thunderstorms, I sat down to read a few pages of a novel by Printz Honor Book Author, Helen Frost. I didn't put down HIDDEN until I had finished. In two distinct poetic voices, the author explores the eternal themes of friendship, forgiveness, and family. Darra and Wren meet in person for the first time at age fourteen, but their story begins six years before that. As layers of emotion are peeled back and strata of truth revealed, the girls (and reader) discover that we never really know what it is like to be in someone else's place. Middle grade, young adult, and adults will all find a treasure here (and be sure to read "Diving Deeper: Notes on Form" at the end).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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