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What We Hide by Marthe Jocelyn

What We Hide

by Marthe Jocelyn

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5323221,808 (3.66)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 | Feb 12, 2016 |
I received this book through the early reviewer program on LibraryThing. I had never read any of Jocelyn's other works, so this was my first taste of her writing style. I enjoyed the multiple narratives and especially liked her cheeky classroom lectures about authenticating the true narrator in a multiple narrator story. The group of characters were believable, and some more likable than others. I think we all know a Penelope, and an Oona, etc. Personally, I identified the most with Jenny, although I do have my Esther moments, heh.

I found the time setting was really unimportant to the story. The Vietnam war could have been any conflict and the attitude of the small-town towards the LGBT community, unfortunately, is still prevalent today in some circles. Jocelyn could have swapped out the Beatles and Procol Harum references for One Direction and Adele then added some cell phones and it could have easily been a novel following a modern group of teenagers.

Some reviewers pointed out the lack of denouement to the ending and there was definitely a lack of closure to the various plot lines. I was okay with it though because the author was just giving us a random glimpse into these characters lives--it would have been too hefty a tome if she gave us the beginning, middle and end to all of their stories. I will criticize that at times it felt like several distinct stories that were strung together.

Final thought: a quick read that touched on some heavy issues. VERY character driven and ideal for someone who prefers to read in short bursts (like riding the bus, etc.) ( )
  LoveOfMuffins4820 | Feb 12, 2016 |
I received a copy of this book as part of LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program.

"What We Hide" is a YA novel about the assorted sordid lives of teens at an English boarding school during the Vietnam war. The story is told from a variety of perspectives, by different students attending the school.
While the main part of the story itself is interesting, I had a hard time getting over the problems this book has. There is essentially no exposition or denouement at all; the book jumps almost immediately into the story without much build-up, and it ends just as suddenly. With the boarding school trope being so cliche, a story set in this type of environment has to be truly well-written in order to stand out. Unfortunately for this book, it is just very average. It is not particularly moving or memorable, and having so many character viewpoints makes it difficult to establish true personalities and motivations for the characters.
Overall, the book is passable, but not exceptional. ( )
  leahdawn | Feb 11, 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 |
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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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