Hidden by Helen Frost.
Farrar Straus Giroux: NY, 2011.

This is the 2nd book by Helen Frost that I have read. The most striking aspect of both books is the intensity of the story. A close 2nd is the compactness of her work. Then, besides those strong points is the fact that she also plays with the language. She writes in verse, poetic prose. This particular book is arranged in a different way for each of two voices. One of them is physically arranged so that ending words create added commentary. To me, this means Frost is incredibly focused on her writing, and I need to go back and reread for the strength and texture of the language. Both books were read quickly. I did not want to put them down. These characteristics make for an impassioned, concise, gripping experience.

The subject matter of this book is nothing like the other one. Crossing Stones is historical fiction, regarding WWI and women's suffrage. Hidden is the experience and memories of two girls. One was accidentally kidnapped as a young girl. The other is the daughter of the man involved. She is without a father, as he is in prison. Years after the incident, they meet at summer camp, forced to spend much time together, when both would like to forget it ever happened. Wren thinks she has put it all behind her, but memories are suddenly walloping her, beyond her control. Darra, the daughter of the felon, has been forced to live with it continuously through the years. She blames Wren for her father's absence. They both have a short and intense maturing process through the story. Another thing both stories have in common is the storytelling through varied voices. Varied, authentic, passionate voices.

After having read these 2 books, I feel I need to search out and read all of her books. If they are all this focused on the pyschology of issues, and such varied topics, it would be an excellent journey. Thinking just now, I realized Frost reminds me of another author who portrays varied experiences with such poignancy, though not as concise, Paul Fleischman. Perhaps, because they are both poets.

related-novels in verse, interpersonal relations, friendship, forgiveness, summer camps, memory, blame, Michigan

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