Hidden Truths

Delacorte. Oct. 2023. 272p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780593483664.
Gr 4-7–Dani and Eric have been best friends and neighbors since the second grade. Dani has been training hard to make the boys’ baseball team. When she finally does, she is ecstatic because she lives for baseball. Eric is into donuts, superheroes, and hanging out with Dani, while always being supportive of her love for baseball. As sixth grade approaches, their friendship changes abruptly when an accident leaves Dani injured, unable to play her favorite sport, and Eric wracked with guilt. Dani and Eric turn away from each other, and new friendships are developed that will test the bond they have formed, forcing them to question their personal motivations and loyalties. Middle grade readers will understand the issues troubling Dani and Eric as they struggle to find their footing within the newer friendships. Swartz includes socially relevant plot points many middle schoolers are dealing with, including honesty, bullying, peer pressure, and responsible social media use as well as a message about using one’s voice to make change in society.
VERDICT Swartz’s latest is realistic fiction at its best. A solid story with a strong positive message about friendship, trust, and tenacity that will fit nicely into all collections.

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