Hide and Seek - Book Review
Book #3 in the Jess Tennant series
UK Publisher: Corgi Children’s
Jess Tennant’s classmate is kidnapped right before the Christmas holiday in this third novel in Jane Casey’s brilliant YA mystery series.
It’s Christmas in Port Sentinel, the tiny English town where Jess Tennant has been living for more than a year now. She wasn't sure how she felt about moving away from London when her mom dragged her to Port Sentinel right before the beginning of high school, but even Jess has to admit the town has completely outdone itself for the holidays. There’s a Christmas market complete with mini ice-rink, and fairy lights decorate the bare trees all over town.
For one of Jess’s classmates, though, the Christmas season is anything but magical. She’s been kidnapped and is being held in a dilapidated cottage near a deserted beach. And Jess might be the only one who can figure out where she is in time to rescue her.
Hide and Seek is another delightful clever young adult mystery from beloved author, Jane Casey.
When I picked up this book, I had no idea it was actually book 3 of a series. However Jane Casey is a great writer and although I was new to the character of Jess Tennant and her world, I had no trouble understanding the story. It seems each book is written with a standalone mystery and any important events that happened in previous books are always rehashed through the main characters thoughts. It’s very nicely done.
In this book Jess investigates into the disappearance of one of her classmates, Gilly. But with only a few cryptic clues from Gilly’s diary - Jess doesn't have much to go on. With her boyfriends father, Police detective Dan Henderson hassling her to stop interfering, Jess knows she should just leave the investigation to the police. But after being one of the last people to see Gilly, Jess can’t help but want to help. Yet her curiosity may just cost Jess and her friends their lives, because Jess never considers that just maybe, Gilly doesn't want to be found…
I really enjoyed this book. It has an emotional depth to it, with so many characters connected together through secrets, history, lies and deeds best forgotten. So while the mystery of Gilly’s disappearance is still the main plot, their are so many sub-plots branching out in and around Jess character that you feel she is constantly being plagued with other peoples problems.
Not only does Jess devote herself to looking for Gilly, but she must deal with untangling the web of chaos all the secondary characters cause her through their interwoven lives and interactions. Its been a long time since I read a book where each of the characters comes with their own story and I think this alone really show cases Jane Casey’s talent as a writer.
I also liked the subtle ways that Jess manages to gather evidence about Gilly’s disappearance - all while being scolded by the police each time she is caught interfering. I felt this gave the story credibility with its realism, as she never did anything out of the realms of possibility for a teenage girl detective.
To be honest, my only criticism of this book is the mystery itself. I actually worked out who the culprit was a couple of chapters in, however I was intrigued by Jess’ life and kept reading to see if I was right. I was. However the ending had a nice little twist that I didn't predict, yet had the mystery been more of a mystery, then I probably would have rated this book higher.
Having said that I am definitely intrigued to read more by this author and plan to check out the earlier books in the Jess Tenannt series. Nice read! 3.5 stars!