Friday, August 27, 2010

Middle-Grade Review: Hide & Seek

During our annual 3-week summer roadtrip, we revived a beloved family tradition and read aloud before bed each night.  I chose a brand-new middle-grade novel, Hide & Seek by Katy Grant, and everyone in our family loved this exciting and suspenseful story.  Twelve-year old Craig frequently pleaded for “one more chapter”!

One reason I chose this book is because geocaching, an outdoor activity my family loves, is an essential part of the plot.  For those of you not familiar with geocaching, it’s a combination of hiking and treasure hunting, with a cool technological twist.  You look up nearby geocaches at www.geocaching.com, enter the coordinates into a handheld GPS, and then use the GPS to lead you to the cache.  The cache, hidden by another geocacher, usually contains a logbook to log your find and some small trinkets to exchange.  Our family loves camping and hiking, and, as on this recent trip, we often incorporate geocaching into our outdoor fun.

Chase, the fourteen-year old protagonist of Hide & Seek, also enjoys geocaching.  His dad recently bought him his own GPS, and Chase is eager to try finding some caches on his own.  He spent his summer helping out at his family’s rental cabins and store and can’t wait for some freedom:

So I pretty much keep my mouth shut and get all my chores done as fast as I can.  But it’s enough to drive a guy crazy.  When summer finally ends and the tourists go home, school starts, and then I’m stuck in a classroom all day.  Sometimes you just need to get out and breathe.

This was going to be the first geocache I’d ever done completely on my own, so I’d planned everything carefully.  Shea was right – my backpack was heavy.  It was full of stuff I might need: a stainless steel water bottle, a plastic bowl for Dexter, some trail mix, beef jerky, binoculars, some extra AA batteries, and a Swiss army knife.  And then the items to trade for the geocache, and my GPS so I could find the treasure.

Chase finds the geocache he’s looking for, but there’s an unexpected surprise there – a mysterious note from someone who sounds like he needs help.  That starts off an adventure and mystery that Chase could never have imagined.  The more involved he gets, the more Chase wonders whether the situation might be more than he bargained for.

I don’t want to tell you any more about the plot because the best part about this book is the constant surprises, plot twists, and fabulous suspense  (that’s what led my son to beg for more every night).  The plot is unique, the characters are likeable and real, and the writing is tight and engaging.  All four of us thoroughly enjoyed this new novel that’s perfect for middle-grade readers or as a read-aloud!

For more information on Hide & Seek and Katy Grant’s other books, check out the author’s website.

227 pages, Peachtree Publishers

 

2 comments:

Jan von Harz said...

This sounds like a great book. I love adventures, and the fact that it involves a male protagonist is always a plus for me because I need more good books to appeal to my male students. I will check this one out. Thanks for the great review.

Scott said...

Adventure books have always been my favorite. I've passed that love on to my children.

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