The Hideaway

Pavilion. Sept. 2021. 256p. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781843654797.
Gr 4-7–Billy McKenna runs away from home and takes refuge in an overgrown graveyard in the woods. The first part of the story is told from Billy’s point of view, while the second focuses on his difficult home situation and the police’s frantic search for him. Readers learn that Billy’s mother has been abused by her partner for years and that Billy, who feels powerless, left because he couldn’t continue watching. In the graveyard, he finds an ivy-covered pillbox that becomes an intricate part of the narrative. Billy also befriends an elderly volunteer who tidies the area and at the end of the story learns about real love. Meanwhile, Billy’s mother needs to escape but cannot. The difficult subject matter of domestic abuse is not sensationalized but does need to be kept in mind for this book’s readership. The novel is illustrated throughout with textured black-and-white drawings that bleed into the edges of the pages before they blossom into double-page spreads as the story reaches its climax.
VERDICT A must-read for fans of Smy’s Thornhill; a poignant and necessary purchase for all middle grade collections.

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