Review: Hide by Kiersten White

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The challenge: spend a week hiding in an abandoned amusement park and don’t get caught.

The prize: enough money to change everything.

Even though everyone is desperate to win–to seize their dream futures or escape their haunting pasts–Mack feels sure that she can beat her competitors. All she has to do is hide, and she’s an expert at that.

It’s the reason she’s alive, and her family isn’t.

But as the people around her begin disappearing one by one, Mack realizes this competition is more sinister than even she imagined, and that together might be the only way to survive.
Fourteen competitors. Seven days. Everywhere to hide, but nowhere to run.

Come out, come out, wherever you are.

A high-stakes hide-and-seek competition turns deadly in this dark supernatural thriller from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White.


Hide is one of those books that starts with a great premise but just does not deliver. The story starts with fourteen contestants competing for $50000 in a game of hide and seek in an abandoned amusement park, two of the contestants being caught and eliminated each day. This hits all of the buttons for me. Not only is the book is physically lovely, with map of the amusement park on the front and back binding, and the dust jacket is a very nice design, but the synopsis is exciting. The setting in an abandoned amusement park, children’s games played with high stakes, and the contestants getting killed if they lose, moved this to the top of my TBR pile. There is no way that this book can stink. Yet it does. 

Most of the things I dislike about this book are the structure of the paragraphs and chapters. The book is written in third person but the perspective is not steady. With a cast of fourteen contestants, there has to be some consistency in the perspective but instead the perspective shifts between characters at any given paragraph. All of the characters have their backgrounds and motivations sprinkled throughout the pages, not exactly like a mosaic of histories intertwined as much as broken glass lying in a pile. We are picking up random pieces and trying to see if we even care to finish putting it all back together. It is not as confusing as it is unnecessarily annoying. White switched perspectives of characters quicker than we can register which character the perspective has been switched to. And because of this style, the characters do not seem very well developed. I did not feel a connection with any of the fourteen contestants so I was not rooting for any particular one to win the game. This means I was not invested in the outcome of the game. It did not matter who won. Other stories like this, like The Hunger Games or Squid Games, are successful because they make us really care about the characters.

The choices in the plot reveals and writing could have been better as well. The history of the game is laid out through entries in a diary that the contestants find. This feels like such a cheap and lazy way to explain the history and nature of things. Instead of spending any time developing it organically, maybe even having the people who are running the game have more development and page time, we get a diary.

I really started this book with very high expectations, and I left this book with a headache. The end was decent but getting to the end was such a chore that I could not wait for it to be over. The potential was there, but the execution was lacking.  I could not run fast enough away from this amusement park.

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