The Hideaway -- a new middle grades novel


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Today I get to share a new middle grades that is perfectly eerie and haunted with a special All Souls Day celebration. It has a boy who witnesses his mother being abused by her boyfriend and he runs away to a graveyard. It is coming out today just in time for the spooky month of October! It is set in the United Kingdom. It is called The Hideaway by Pam Smy. 

From the Publisher:

A haunting illustrated novel from the author of the highly acclaimed Thornhill.

Told in two alternating narratives, The Hideaway tells the story of Billy McKenna, who runs away from home and takes refuge in an overgrown graveyard. The first narrative is told from his perspective, whereas the second thread tells of the situation at home and the police search for Billy. Covering themes of domestic violence, families, childhood, and being separated and reunited, this is an important and beautifully illustrated book for middle grade readers right up to adults.

The Hideaway is illustrated throughout with tonal and textured black and white drawings. The atmospheric illustrations seep into the edge of the pages before they give way to a series of double-page spreads as the story reaches its climax.

From Me:

This book is a good read. Billy McKenna is a thirteen-year-old who has to witness his mother's boyfriend abusing his mother. He has to live like he is invisible to not make things worse. He records it all in his diaries, but when he can't take it anymore he runs away. He runs to the graveyard because he noticed a hidden building there when his class was on a field trip. While there he meets an old man who is working to clean the graves which have overgrown weeds covering them. The man agrees to keep his secret as long as Billy helps him with the cleaning. The man realizes that Billy is trying to escape from something and watches out for him. He brings him food each day as they work. He keeps telling Billy they only have a few days to get the graveyard ready for the big event. 

The book goes back and forth between Billy in the graveyard and his mother and school. Since it is placed in the United Kingdom some of the language is their wording versus American English. Most are easy to figure out -- torch is a flashlight and jumper is a sweater. I love how this story touches on abusive relationships and shows how it affects the kids and also how the kids can make a difference. I also love how it shares a bit about All Souls Day and the belief that the souls of loved ones come back to be with the ones they love.

The story is well written. The illustrations add to the story and help the reader visualize them. The book is interesting and pulls the reader in. I also love that Billy ends up being the hero of the story in a few ways. I hope you will check out this book.