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What We Hide by Marthe Jocelyn

What We Hide

by Marthe Jocelyn

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5318221,808 (3.74)5



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I received this book from Librarything early reviewers. This book is a YA novel about a group of teens in an English dorm and is told from each of their points of view. While it is interesting and humorous, it also seems a bit shallow. It is still worth the read though, and I would recommend it. ( )
  TracyCampbell | Jan 25, 2016 |
As the title suggests, this is a book about lies we tell. Lies we hope will make us more interesting or popular. Lies that will protect our vulnerabilities, such as being gay or having a parent with mental health problems.

This story is told from multiple points of view. The narrators are all students at an English boarding school during the Vietnam War. They each have secrets, they each struggle to find their way and to fit in.

The author has done a good job of evoking the sense of that time period, where the Vietnam war loomed large over so many American lives, yet the boarding school students were largely unaffected by it. They struggled with all the constants of teenager-hood, in a society more generally experimenting with expanded personal freedoms.

The writing is good, and the characters are well drawn, complex people. An excellent read for both Young Adults and us older folk as we continue to consider issues around accepting people for who they are, forgiving trespasses and coming to terms with ourselves. ( )
  LynnB | Jan 22, 2016 |
I received a free copy from the publisher through LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.

I heard a piece of writing advice -- and I wish I could remember who said it because I think about it a lot -- that having your protagonist lie about something is a great characterization tactic. Watching someone (and knowing that they are) lying tells you so much about them. Of course, it reveals what they want to keep from you. But what they choose to tell you, the nature of the lie itself, the details they include, the way they tell it... all of that often reveals even more.

Which is a roundabout way of saying that What We Hide by Marthe Jocelyn is right up my alley. As the title indicates, this is very much about lying to other people -- about boyfriends or a lack thereof, families, identity. And as soon as I read what it was about, I know I'd love it.

This book didn't disappoint. The characters are compelling, and I love all of the multiple viewpoints. And I also love the setting; maybe I haven't been looking hard enough, but I haven't read many YA books set during the Vietnam war.

So, overall, a very enjoyable read. Marthe Jocelyn is one of my favourite authors, and it's always wonderful to disappear into one of her novels. ( )
  bucketofrhymes | Jan 11, 2016 |
I think this book will strongly resonate with its target audience: teenagers. Everyone else will probably be too young or too old to relate to the struggles of the characters, who are trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in. Each of the characters has adapted to their surroundings, with varying degrees of success, by lying or by hiding their past. Marthe Jocelyn does a good job of tapping into the insecurities and defensive strategies of young people navigating complex and often frightening social situations. And she doesn’t shy away from getting into the heads of some ruthless, unsympathetic characters. I think the book could have done with fewer characters so that we could have gotten to know some of them better, and without certain literary interjections such as Jenny’s play-by-play translations of British slang, which were distracting to the story. The ending also seemed a bit rushed and left some of the stories hanging. Overall, though, this is a solid young-adult novel with intriguing characters and compelling, varied points of view.
  Bitter_Grace | Jan 11, 2016 |
This is the second time that I have read this book. An interesting look into the secret lives of teenage boys and girls attending an English boarding school. Emphasizes how vulnerable and impressionable teens can be when influenced by societal and peer pressures. ( )
  SheilaCornelisse | Dec 30, 2015 |
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for Maz and for Elena, friends of my youth
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So here we are, running away to save Tom's life.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385738471, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:31 -0400)

Told from multiple viewpoints, this is the story of high school junior Jenny of Philadelphia, who spends a semester at a Quaker boarding school in Sheffield, England, near where her brother's avoiding the Vietnam draft, and where everyone carries close-held secrets.… (more)

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