Reviewed by Carrie Spellman for TeensReadToo.com
In the town of Waterville, Hide and Seek is not just a game, and it's not just for little kids. Hide and Seek is serious business for the teenagers in town. There is an extremely competitive championship game of Team Hide and Seek every summer. Actually, there are two, one for thirteen- and fourteen-year-old teens and one for fifteen- and sixteen-year-old teens.
This year, Doug Manion is entering for the first time, with his cousin, Skip Corbin, and their best friend Pierce Butterworth. They've been preparing for this for a long time, and they intend to win. They have an added secret advantage, one that only Doug knows about. Recently, Doug's hearing has improved. A lot. He can hear people whispering from yards away. He doesn't tell anyone about it; he's not convinced it's a good ability, or even that it's completely real. Like making the cheek-pinching lady at his aunt's funeral disappear. But it certainly couldn't hurt to have super-hearing when playing Hide and Seek, right?
Winning the championship seems like the ultimate summer project. But really it's only the beginning. When they are recruited to play the ultimate game of Hide and Seek, the teens might get more than they bargained for. There is more to their town than they ever knew, and more to their families than they ever imagined. Doug might not be the only one with strange and special gifts. Just how deep is Toaster Pond? And what is the gem of Gicalma? You'll just have to read and find out. (It's like Hide and Seek without going anywhere!)
I love the idea of Hide and Seek as a real adventure, not just a game. (Our version was Ghost in the Graveyard, and it terrified me, so I'm glad no one wrote that book.) The book starts out with a barrage of different people and names, most of whom never turn up again. So don't let yourself get confused trying to figure who everybody is and how they fit in.
This is a fun, enjoyable, quick read. My only real complaint is that it gets too Harry Potterish. The storyline and the concept stand on their own just fine; the resemblance in the castles got a little distracting. And if I don't stop telling you about it, there won't be anything left for you to discover! So get to reading!