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Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Guest Mini-Review: Hidden by Miriam Halahmy

Title: Hidden
Author: Miriam Halahmy
Publisher: Meadowside Children's Books
Publication Date: 30 Mar 2011
Synopsis: From Amazon

Hidden is a brave debut novel, tackling the complex issues of immigration and human-rights laws, through the eyes of teenage Alix. A literary, coming-of-age novel dealing with prejudice, judgement, courage, preconceptions and the difficulty of sorting right from wrong. Challenging, charming, compelling. Fourteen year old Alix lives at the bottom of Hayling Island near the beach. It is a quiet backwater, far removed from world events such as war, terror and refugees. Alix has never even given a thought to asylum seekers, she has enough problems of her own: Dad has a new life that doesn't include her, Grandpa is dead and Mum is helpless and needy. Then one day on the beach Alix and Samir pull a drowning man out of the incoming tide: Mohammed, an illegal immigrant and a student. Mohammed has been tortured by rebels in Iraq for helping the allied forces and has spent all his money to escape. Alone, helpless, and desperate not to be deported, Mohammed's destiny lies in Alix's hands. However, hiding an injured immigrant is fraught with difficulties. Faced with the biggest moral dilemma of her life, what will Alix do, and who can she trust?

This book can be accessed at many levels and I think it’s brilliant for introducing extremely complex and difficult issues in a way anybody can access from racism to more complex immigration and asylum issues. Halahmy confronts some serious stuff in a really great way.

Halahmy presents us with a really naïve but equally unbiased view of Mohammed, who could easily be prejudiced against. In Alix, we have a narrator who despite prejudices which, she acknowledges and tries to overcome herself, is basically an empathetic, unprejudiced and brave protagonist. She is a warm and likable character who works hard to keep her personal problems away from the forefront of the huge and terrifying worlds that both her friend Samir and Mohammed have experienced. I have to say I feel a bit sorry for Alix, although her problems are improving by the end, I felt she deserved a friend who she could share her seemingly small problems with but instead she pushes them aside to support others, a great trait to bestow upon any protagonist!

A really clever novel which tackles BIG issues in a subtle and manageable way! Looking forward to the others in the series. 


  1. That last sentences sums this book up perfectly!

  2. I really enjoyed this book - it's gritty, contemporary and explores very important issues. I think it's an essential teen/YA read, and I'm looking forward to Miriam Halahmy's next two books in the cylce.

  3. I keep meaning to give this one a go, it sounds like a must read.

  4. Ooh! I've seen this one around lately - it sounds like a book that touches on some really important issues as well as raising awareness - I must get a copy soon!

  5. As the review shows I loved this one :) - brilliant!


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