Monday, July 4, 2011

Book Review - These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf

Title: These Things Hidden 
Author: Heather Gudenkauf 
Year: 2011
Page: 337
Genre: Fiction

FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from
When teenager Allison Glenn is sent to prison for a heinous crime, she leaves behind her reputation as Linden Falls' golden girl forever. Her parents deny the existence of their once-perfect child. Her former friends exult her downfall. Her sister, Brynn, faces whispered rumors every day in the hallways of their small Iowa high school. It's Brynn—shy, quiet Brynn—who carries the burden of what really happened that night. All she wants is to forget Allison and the past that haunts her.

But then Allison is released to a halfway house, and is more determined than ever to speak with her estranged sister.

Now their legacy of secrets is focused on one little boy. And if the truth is revealed, the consequences will be unimaginable for the adoptive mother who loves him, the girl who tried to protect him and the two sisters who hold the key to all that is hidden.

First Sentence:
I stand when I see Devin Kineally walking toward me, dressed as usual in her lawyer-gray suit, her high heels clicking against the tiled floor.

My Thoughts:

Why this book?
  • I know Marce from Tea Time with Marce didn't like this one as much as the author's first book, The Weight of Silence (her review of These Things Hidden here), but Charlotte's Web of Book really enjoyed this one, more so than the first book (see her review here). So I thought I'd read for myself to see what I think! I like her first book okay, a 3-Star read for me (see my review here)
First thought:
  • Was just another okay read for me
Cover Art:
  • Okay. Relevant to the story but not eye catching
  • Okay again. You know it's going to be about secrets...
  • The story was told in 4 perspectives: Allison, Brynn, Charm, Claire. I usually like that because you get to see the big picture. However, I found that the 4 voices were not very distinctive, and had to see whose chapter it is
  • Easy to read, summer-beach style of writing
  • A bit predictable. While I didn't guess all of the twists, there were no a-ha moments when the secrets were revealed 
  • Some plot lines were just too convenient
  • They were a bit stereotypical and I really felt indifferent about them
  • Isn't Brynn's college friends  a bit immature? "Your sister is a criminal so you must be a criminal too!"
  • [SPOILER] I am surprised that Allison was able to hide her pregnancy, especially with twins? Given that she's athletic with probably a slender build, it seems unusual that she can hide from everything [/SPOILER]
  • I read this back in mid-April, so 2.5 months ago, and I honestly don't remember exactly what happened in the end. It wasn't so bad that I hated it, but it wasn't so good that it was memorable.
  •  Indifferent
What I Learned:
  • I have high expectations of fiction? It seems to take a lot for me to find a fiction book I really like. 
  • It seems like I don't have much positive to say about this, but I am still going to give it a 3 stars, meaning it's an okay read - not bad, but not as good as I'd hoped. 
Read this Author again?
  • Both of her books are just okay for me. So I have to see what the premise is like first...

Overall Rating:
3 Stars. Okay. 

All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.


  1. Thanks for linking me babe. My main issue with this 1 is the voices were not distinct, great point.

    We felt the same on this one. Felt kind of YA like.

  2. @Marce - You're right, it IS kinda YA like, so no wonder we both feel meh about it :)

  3. oooh, this sounds really good. I may need to get my hands on a copy!

  4. @reviewsbylola - I'd love to hear what you think!

  5. These Things Hidden was very entertaining and a quick read. I was completely enthralled throughout the entire book, and the ending did not disappoint. But there were some problems with it. Unfortunately, Gudenkauf cannot compete with Lisa Scottoline, a favorite of mine, who does a great job with these kind of hot-button, family-related, psychological thrillers.

    Marlene Detierro (Gun Parts)