What We Hide

Overview

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. But 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 hide his mother's memoir. Percy keeps his ...

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What We Hide

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Overview

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. But 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 hide his mother's memoir. Percy keeps his famous dad a secret. 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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
02/03/2014
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. (Apr.)
Kirkus Reviews
2014-02-05
A group of teens alternate narration of this irreverent historical drama set at a Quaker boarding school in England. When her older brother, Tom, enrolls at a British university to evade the draft that is conscripting so many young American men—including his best friend, Matt—into service in Vietnam, Jenny winds up making the trip across the Atlantic as well. Somewhat uncomfortable in her own skin, she lies that Matt is her boyfriend, but she's far from the only one who projects an altered image to those around her. Jocelyn employs the points of view of a host of Jenny's peers in formats that include imagined film scripts and letters written to a former student and feature embarrassing secrets, plenty of sexual misadventure, and true-to-life and funny boarding school dynamics. In doing this, she effectively brings readers into the respective corners of her characters—even those who at first glance seem unlikable. There are also those who are intensely sympathetic, including Brenda, a smart and honest working-class girl on scholarship, and Robbie and Luke, who find each other and stick it out despite horrific gay bashing. These are textured, smart characters, and it's likely that readers will find themselves wishing for more from many of them—the only detraction of the slice-of-life style on offer here. Poignant and often witty, this novel treats its audience to a nuanced look at the era. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385738477
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 4/8/2014
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 481,877
  • Age range: 14 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

MARTHE JOCELYN is the author of several award-winning novels, and has also written and illustrated picture books. Her novels for Wendy Lamb Books include Folly, Would You, and How It Happened in Peach Hill. She lives in Stratford, Ontario.

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