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?
The song which ran through my head while writing HIDDEN was Bridge over Troubled Water by Paul Simon. Here is the best version on YouTube sung by Art Garfunkel
Every line in this song says something about the themes of this book. The Bridge in the title is the bridge from Hayling Island to the mainland but it is also the support and friendship for Mohammed, the tortured asylum seeker whom Alix and Samir rescue from the sea. As Garfunkel sings about how he will 'take your part when darkness comes' and when' friends can't be found' I can see Alix and Samir as they stand by Mohammed in the face of mounting obstacles. 'Sail on silver bird...your time has come to shine...I'm sailing right behind...' are amongst the most beautiful expressions of love and friendship in modern lyrics. An unbeatable song.