Review: Hidden Truths by Elly Swartz

Hidden Truths by Elly Swartz

Hidden Truths
Elly Swartz
Delacorte Press
Published October 31, 2023

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Hidden Truths

How far would you go to keep a promise? Told from alternating points of view, Hidden Truths is a story of changing friendships, the lies we tell, the secrets we keep, and the healing power of forgiveness.

Dani and Eric have been best friends since Dani moved next door in second grade. They bond over donuts, comic books, and camping on the Cape.

Until one summer when everything changes.

Did Eric cause the accident that leaves Dani unable to do the one thing in the world she most cares about? The question plagues him, and he will do anything to get answers about the explosion that injured her. But Dani is hurting too much to want Eric to pursue the truth–she just wants to shut him out and move on. Besides, Eric has a history of dropping things he starts. Eric knows that and is determined that this will be the one time he follows through.

But what if his pursuit brings him into direct conflict with another friend? Where does Eric’s loyalty really lie?

Hidden Truths on Goodreads

My Review

I’m trying to remember if I’ve read other contemporary middle grade books with multiple viewpoints in them, but I can’t think of any, besides maybe some of the Babysitter’s Club books? I’m sure there are others, but my mind is a blank right now.

At any rate, I found the back-and-forth points of view a cool addition to this book. It allows us to get two very different perspectives on what happened at the campsite. We also watch two characters process the same event very differently. Dani grieves over her injuries and fears about her recovery and what it all means to her daily life.

Eric has a more internal struggle. He wrestles with guilt over questions about whether he caused the accident and what to do about it if he did. He also faces ostracization and bullying at school as other students hear rumors about his possible culpability.

I really like the structure of this book and the fact that it addresses trauma without making the book feel dark and scary. Eric and Dani seem like ordinary kids who happen to go through something terrible and need to figure out how to navigate life on the other side. It’s super relatable and easy to read.

Hidden Truths on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.

Eric is Jewish. Dani appears white. It isn’t labeled, but there are implications that Eric could have ADHD. It’s not labeled, but a few characters make comments about it. After her accident, Dani is a wheelchair user and does not have the ability to use her right arm due to nerve damage. She also has a broken leg.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content
Eric holds hands with a girl briefly. She kisses him on the cheek.

Spiritual Content
Eric visits a chapel in the hospital and briefly compares it to his experience at his Temple. Eric prays and tries to bargain with God throughout the story, asking for God’s help to make sure Dani is okay and recovers quickly.

Violent Content
Eric witnesses an explosion and runs into a fire to save his friend, who is pinned under some cabinets. It’s a brief scene that he doesn’t revisit often. Students at school bully Eric. They say cruel things, and one boy slams his shoulder into Eric’s and knocks his books to the ground as he walks down the hall.

Drug Content

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

4 Responses to Review: Hidden Truths by Elly Swartz

  1. Sounds a good read, thanks for sharing!

  2. Eileen Wilkin says:

    WONDER uses alternates between POV’s. I think that’s MG, since the main character is in 5th grade.

    I so appreciate your book reviews!