What We Hide – Marthe Jocelyn
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 Illington Hall. This is Jenny’s chance to finally be special and stand out, so when she arrives she tells everybody a lie. But in the small world of Ill Hall, everyone has secrets. Jenny pretends she has a boyfriend. Robbie and Luke pretend they don’t. Brenda won’t tell what happened with the school doctor. Percy won’t tell 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 a provocative, honest, often funny and always intriguing look at secrets.
At work, we’ve been discussing a new cover for this book. I don’t love the current cover and, having read it, I really don’t like the image they chose. For a book this scandalous, it really needs a more eye-catching cover.
Moving on to the actual plot…
I don’t know how I felt about this. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. I was most interested in Robbie/Luke’s story, but the problem with multiple POVs is that you start to get into one story and then you’re constantly interrupted by other people’s stories, which can be annoying.
Oona’s story was easily the most expendable of the lot. Her role was to be the “gossip” (like Gossip Girl only not high-tech since this was set in the 70’s), but frankly, she was dull. And clearly not a good friend since she was flirting all up in Nico’s face, even though he was “in a relationship” with her best friend.
And I definitely expected more from Brenda’s story. SPOILER ALERT: the school doctor touches her (inappropriately), and she doesn’t tell anyone, but then she starts dating the doctor’s son…and STILL DOESN’T TELL ANYONE. So while it’s dramatic and you feel sorry for her, at the same time, her story was so underdeveloped that it was almost pointless. It had the potential to explode or to at least introduce some conflict, but the “antagonist” in Brenda’s life was her sister, not the doctor.
On a personal level, I wanted a little more from Percy. Some of his sections were snippets of screenplays that he wrote, but his backstory was fascinating, and I felt like there was more that could have been mentioned.
Overall, it was an interesting read. Despite the boring cover (seriously, guys, the cover bored me so much I didn’t even bother reading the synopsis until I had to look it up for work purposes), it had some strong storylines. I do wish it had focused on Robbie/Luke because theirs was the most fascinating.