I couldn't put down this adventure story. The tag line "Two boys with too many secrets" is a good description, because I was really worried about what would happen to these boys!
Description from Amazon:
In this riveting middle-grade adventure, the son of a Mississippi policeman finds a boy living on his own in the wilderness. Twelve-year-old Sam has been given a fishing boat by his father, but he hates fishing. Instead he uses the boat to disappear for hours at a time, exploring the forbidden swampy surroundings of his bayou home. Then he discovers a strange kid named Davey, mysteriously alone, repairing an abandoned cabin deep in the woods. Not fooled by the boy’s evasive explanation as to why he’s on his own, Sam becomes entangled in his own efforts to help Davey. But this leads him to telling small lies that only get bigger as the danger increases for both boys and hidden truths become harder to conceal.
Hideout was written by Watt Key and published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 2017.
Why you want to read this book…
It’s a fast-moving adventure story of a boy who wants to prove himself but ends up getting in over his head. I liked Sam’s personality. He wanted to be independent and solve his own problems and he tried to stay loyal to his friends, even through difficult situations. Now I want to read more books by Watt Key.
“Even with stars everywhere overhead, the swamp was darker and louder and spookier than I expected. I couldn’t even imagine spending a night alone there.”
If you’re a writer…
You might be interested in reading this book to study the pacing and development of tension. The main character’s choices and sometimes poor judgment get him more and more embroiled in the problem. I also admired how the author wove in setting details
“The foliage looked like a jungle, but I heard no bird or animals sounds. It was quiet and still. I heard nothing but my heart beating heavily into my chest and up into my ears.”
If you’re a teacher…
This book would be a good class read aloud and might lead to interesting discussions about honesty, trust and decision-making. Sam starts by telling small lies, but they end up growing as he gets more involved and the situation becomes more dangerous.
“If all else failed, I could wade along the outside edges of the creek, but I knew I needed to stay back from the water if I was to avoid moccasins and alligators.”
“I slowed my skiff at the mouth of Bluff Creek and stared over the Pascagoula River.”
Watt Key has written several other books including FOURMILE and TERROR AT BOTTLE CREEK.
You can read an excerpt of HIDEOUT on the website www.criminalelement.com.
On his own website, Watt Key talks about writing: “To this day I am still practicing my writing. I take nothing for granted, and I’m grateful each time I am able to sell a story.”