Book Review: “The Hidden Girl” by Louise Bassett

Title:  The Hidden Girl

Author:  Louise Bassett

Genre:  Fiction: Young Adult – Mystery

Year:  2022

Mel has everything to lose – but how can she stand back when she knows something’s not right?
Within the pages of a stolen diary, Melati discovers a coded cry for help – the diary belongs to Devi, an Indonesian teenager who is being held by traffickers. Mel races across the island of Java and against the clock to work out Devi’s identity and where she’s being held. Before long the pieces fall into place and Mel must put her own life on the line to save a girl she’s never met.

Get your copy instore and online: The Hidden Girl

My rating: *****

My review:

Mel is working hard to stay under the radar and make the most of her scholarship at a new school. But when the class bully attacks a defenceless student, her values impel her to act. Obligated to attend counselling sessions, she takes an opportunity to look at the file of her antagonist. She steals a dairy from the file, but quickly realises that it belong to an unknown Indonesian girl. Being a student of the language, she sets about to interpret the writing as best she can. While on a class trip to Indonesia, she meets Michael, on holidays from Melbourne. With his assistance, the two set about to save the Hidden Girl, who is being held against her will back in Melbourne. 

“The Hidden Girl” by Louise Bassett is an easy-to-read, fast-paced and engaging book. It is aimed at a YA audience, but with its solid mystery, themes of sex trafficking and breaking the rules for the good of others, has a wider appeal. 

Set in both Melbourne and Indonesia, Bassett provides rich and vibrant descriptions, allowing the reader to almost feel like they are in the scene. The characters are flawed, believable and deeply endearing. Bassett provides an intimate and accurate account of teenage angst, rebellion, and the difficulties some young people have trying to conform and fit in. There is a little of Mel in all of us.

Recommended for those who love adventure, a mystery to be solved, and a touch of romance. 

About the Author:

Louise Bassett is an Australian author who writes for young adults and grown-ups. The Hidden Girl is her debut novel and was shortlisted for the Ampersand Prize. Her award-winning adult short fiction has been published internationally. Her second and third YA novels are in the works.

After growing up in Adelaide, she narrowly dodged a career as a lawyer and worked in international aid in Cambodia, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam. While living in Indonesia, she scaled volcanoes and worked with activists who were campaigning to end violence against women. These experiences inspired The Hidden Girl.

Louise works in community justice, giving her a deep understanding of the impact of crime and vulnerability; issues she explores in her writing.

Based in Melbourne, Louise lives with her partner and too many books. Her stepsons keep her in touch with all things YA.

You can find her at https://louisebassettauthor.com/

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