By Jane McFann.
When we are introduced to sixteen year old Lissa, she is hiding in a tree trunk with her pet bird, knowing she is going to die and waiting for her killer to find her. To distract herself, Lissa recollects memories from her life, trying to work out what led to her impending death. We discover that Lissa’s short existence has been lonely and painful. Her temperamental, abusive father is a struggling artist, who spends his days working out in the barn, only coming into the house to eat, sleep and shout at his wife and daughter. Lissa has learned to be invisible, to avoid his wrath. But her invisibility has transferred across to her school life, meaning she has never made a friend or connected with any other person. That is, until she is noticed by her classmate, Josh.
Josh is uninhibited and unique. Liked by his peers even though he is different. His attentiveness towards Lissa thrusts her into the limelight against her will. She is uncomfortable but she is drawn to Josh, who shows her a kindness she has never known. It is her memories of Josh which Lissa finds the most painful to recollect whilst she sits under the tree waiting to die. As her reminiscences progress towards her present situation, they become increasingly dark and troubling. We grasp the danger Lissa is in and we feel her fear.
Hide and Seek makes a bold digression from standard PH fare. It is a tragic and deeply troubling read, well-paced and absorbing. We share in Lissa’s emotional pain as she relates the incidents of her life to us. Through her recollections, Lissa gradually brings us closer to understanding who she is and how she has come to be in this dangerous predicament.
One of the finest entries in the whole franchise.
Hide and Seek provides a devastatingly realistic insight into a child’s experience of growing up with an abusive parent. It is, at times, painful to read; the finale in particular. The horror lies in the arresting way the reader is confronted by Lissa’s reality, and the reality of those who have shared and continue to share her experiences. As such, Hide and Seek will haunt its reader long after the final page.