Title: Hide by Kiersten White
Genre: Young Adult, Horror
Rating: 4.5 Stars
I recently finished Go Hunt Me by Kelly deVos and Hide sounds like a similar kind of book so I decided to pick it up and give it a go since I adored Go Hunt Me. The opening to Hide was very interesting as we learn a lot of disturbing things early on. We learn about an amusement park where a five year old girl was murdered and even though an employee was arrested for the murder a shoe belonging to a child was found near a part of the park which had been closed off to the public since it opened in the 50’s. The second disturbing things is that our protagonist, Mack’s while family was murdered by her father and the only reason she is alive is because she hid the entire time. Mack is offered the chance to compete in a hide and seek competition for a large sum of money if she wins and after meeting her competitors she feels she had a good chance at winning. This is giving me similar vibes to the movie, Would You Rather? which had a similar premise. From the introductions of the 14 people competing many are either wannabe celebrities or down and out celebrities but there are a few like Mack. There’s a veteran named Ava wearing two sets of tags, one belonging to her and one belonging to someone else and a boy named LeGrande who is nervous and seems to be scared of women who might be Mack’s biggest competition.
As we approach the ¼ mark in the novel, I liked the characters and was invested in the story so I couldn’t wait for the game to begin. The competitors get some time to relax before the game begins and they recapped on the rules but Mack avoids the soaps and spa treatments as the scents might give her away during the game. By the time they are taken to base camp which they will use every night Mack has a strategy in place and Ava, the veteran, takes notice and follows her lead in storing food and avoiding scented products. During the first day of the game we follow various competitors as they hide and wait but Mack is haunted by her memories and spends most of the day in a kind of trance. Two people are eliminated by the end of the first day and another doesn’t return to base camp and while no one thinks much of this at the time there seems to be something off about the game especially when they are offered an unknown bonus in return for finding a journal hidden somewhere within the amusement park. By the time they bed down for the night Mack is feeling confident in her ability to win but she is also lonely and wants to form connections with people like Ava and LeGrande but doesn’t approach them because she is afraid of being hurt or rejected.
As we cross the ¼ mark in the novel, day two is beginning and I can’t wait to see what happens and who is eliminated this time. There seems to be a more and more ominous vibe surrounding the game especially into the second day. Mack is outed by Jaden as the sole survivor of the Hide and Seek Massacre which might put her as a potential target for others since some people are already targeting the “weaker” members to get them out. However, Mack notices that Ava hasn’t been sleeping and teams up with her even though she knows it puts her at a disadvantage and might cause her to lose, they also both seem to have something in common with LeGrande. During day two one of the competitors hides in the same spot as one of the people who have gone out and finds a lot of blood meaning that she is potentially seriously injured or dead but when she calls for help she is quickly silenced by something. Mack, LeGrande and Ava are all beginning to get bad feelings about the game but they all have their reasons for being there and have to continue. I am still not sure if the seekers are animal or human in nature yet but the descriptions lean more towards animals or potentially supernatural right now.
As we approach the halfway mark in the novel, we are approaching day five of the competition but things are getting eerie. Ian, the failing writer, finds the journal that Linda mentioned at the beginning of the game but uncovers things within that he’d rather not know. The journal contains a documentation of the Callas family among others and the ritual they performed at the park in the early 1920’s. The writer doesn’t know the exact details of the ritual but he knows what followed as 7 people entered the park, summoned something which then killed them all. Tommy who orchestrated the whole thing leaves detailed instruction for their children explaining that the thing will sleep and when it wakes it needs to be fed but they soon learn that the creature can only be fed from their bloodline meaning sacrifices have to be given. Every seven years or so the creature awakes and people are fed to it but rather than giving close relatives, the family are searching for more distant relative in order to protect themselves and that is where the contestants come in. Ian and Christian though are the next to be taken and while some have an upsetting feeling settling on them they don’t know why and there is only two days left of the game.
As we cross into the second half of the novel, the whole game is a set up by the families and no one is supposed to get out alive. When Jaden abandons the other Ava, she is being hunted down by the demon and Mack’s Ava goes to help her in order to protect the people she cares about. Both Ava’s end up dying leaving Jaden, Mack, LeGrand and Brandon as the surviving players in the game but all of them are aware that something is wrong now. The trio that stuck together learn more about each other and it is decided among them that they need to get LeGrand out, that he needs to win because he was trapped in and then banished from the Zion cult for trying to save the life of his sister and he makes them promise that if he dies and one of them wins then they will rescue his sister for him. Now it becomes a race for survival from the demon, from Jaden who is determined to do whatever it takes to win and from the creators of the game who are determined for them to die so that they can prosper. I am really enjoying the story so far and with the game nearing its climax I couldn’t wait to see how it ended, whether it would be a happy or sad ending and what White does with it since there are several different routes she could take.
As we approach the ¾ mark in the novel, the trio are looking for Jaden since he is the only “opponent” left and it is Brandon who finds him and sacrifices him to the creature before killing himself. LeGrand and Mack hide during this time and eventually learn that Mack’s Ava is still alive and that she couldn’t see the creature like the others can. When they double back they find that Jaden was eaten but Brandon wasn’t and this is confusing for them. With Ava’s help the trio escape the park and end at Linda’s home although they don’t know it is hers. While they are waiting for the owner to return with a car they can use to escape Mack finds the journal and begins reading it because it bears the name of her grandmother. Through the journal the ritual and sacrifices are explored more and we learn that contestants the commit suicide aren’t consumed by the demon and are useless and have to be replaced which is why Brandon wasn’t killed and they began planting someone not of the seven bloodlines within the sacrifices and I think this might be Ava since she can’t see the demon and it showed no interest in her. As we are close to the ending now I want to see how the final confrontation goes does whether it will be like Would You Rather? Or maybe it will be like Cabin in the Woods but I am excited to find out.
As we cross into the final section of the novel, things really pick up as the trio uncover the truth of the families and what the monster needs. LeGrand and Mack are willing to go back into the park and die at the demon’s hand in order to save Ava and LeGrand’s sister but Linda isn’t going to comply with those terms easily. However, the trio have come up with a plan to escape the park alive and it involves destroying the gates and setting the demon upon Linda and the others like her despite the warnings that it will eventually come for them because they have the blood of the original families. I felt the ending was good but it seemed to cut off too early, it would have been nice to see the demon begin rampaging through the town and the trio drove off into the night or to have LeGrand or Mack sacrifice themselves to make a new bargain with the demon but I still really enjoyed the book overall and I hope that White writes more in this genre in the future.
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