Sunday, October 29, 2023

Happy Book Birthday, Hidden Truths by Elly Swartz!

I'm shouting out 'Happy Birthday' a day early, again, but this one might be worth early squeals. As you can tell by the cover below, it finds its center in baseball...but this one swings heavily into friendship, too. I know so many sport book fans out there, who are eager to get their hands on reads in this direction. So, I'm hoping this one dies a nice job at weaving everything together.

Let's go and find out.

by Elly Swartz
Delacorte Press
Middle Grade Contemporary
272 pages
ages 8 to 12

How far would you go to keep a promise? Told from alternating points of view, Hidden Truths is a story of changing friendships, the lies we tell, the secrets we keep, and the healing power of forgiveness.

Dani and Eric have been best friends since Dani moved next door in second grade. They bond over donuts, comic books, and camping on the Cape.

Until one summer when everything changes.

Did Eric cause the accident that leaves Dani unable to do the one thing in the world she most cares about? The question plagues him, and he will do anything to get answers about the explosion that injured her. But Dani is hurting too much to want Eric to pursue the truth--she just wants to shut him out and move on. Besides, Eric has a history of dropping things he starts. Eric knows that and is determined that this will be the one time he follows through.

But what if his pursuit brings him into direct conflict with another friend? Where does Eric's loyalty really lie?

GOODREADS    /     AMAZON    /    B&N 


Friendship and achieving dreams slams into the difficulties of steering through dark secrets to create a potent tale.

Dani made the team! Finally, practices and baseball camps have paid off, and she's achieved everything she's fought so long for, but that's when disaster strikes. Landing in the hospital, everything Dani has strived for seems lost. Worst, yet, she has no clue that her best friend might be responsible for ruining her life. The uncertainty eats at Eric, and he's determined to figure out the truth. But Dani has enough to deal with, without her best friend constantly reminding her of everything. The weave of secrets grows as their friendship threatens to fall apart.

There is so much to enjoy in these pages. Dani's determination to make the baseball team and the hard work she puts in to achieve her dreams is inspirational. The friendship she shares with Eric is wholesome and demonstrates a wonderful bond. Then, the accident hits with gripping tension and tugs at the gut as the problems begin to unfold, one by one. It's emotional, dramatic, uncertain, and weaves the plot in a grabbing way. Even though some sections were a little slower, there's tons of heart which connects and makes the characters easy to sympathize with. 

The complexities of friendship surrounding support, guilt, secrets, and forgiveness come together in a way, which creates thought and draws the emotions out. While this does come across well for the intended age group, it hits an emotional depth, at times, which borders on that of a young adult read. So, this one never talks down to the reader, and does pack emotional punch (without going overboard, though). Tween readers are sure to enjoy these intricacies as well.

And here she is...

Elly Swartz lives in Massachusetts and is happily married with two grown sons, a beagle named Lucy, and a pup named Baxter Bean. Dear Student, called a “heartfelt story with a fresh plot” by Parents Magazine, was her latest novel. She is also the author of Finding Perfect, Smart Cookie, and Give and Take, novels for middle-grade readers.

1 comment:

Natalie Aguirre said...

This sounds like a fantastic story. I think the fact that it centers around baseball will appeal to a lot of kids into sports. Glad you enjoyed it so much.