Wednesday, August 22, 2018

ARC Review: HIdden Pieces by Paula Stokes

Hidden Pieces
Author: Paula Stokes
Publication: HarperTeen (August 28, 2018)

Description: A small town. A big secret. A deadly game.

From the author of Liars, Inc., comes a dark, contemporary thriller with twists and turns that are perfect for fans of We Were Liars, Little Monsters, and One of Us Is Lying.

Embry Woods has secrets. Some are small, like the ones about her complicated past. Others are bigger, like her growing feelings for best friend’s ex-boyfriend, Holden. But the biggest secret she carries is about what they did at the abandoned Sea Cliff Inn...and the resulting terrible fire.

Embry helps a homeless man escape from the flames and is immediately hailed as a hero, but she knows that couldn't be further from the truth. Though she’s wracked with guilt, Embry thinks she can take one last secret to her grave.

But then she receives an anonymous note—someone else was there that night. Now she must respond to a series of threatening messages asking her to make impossible choices.
Someone is playing a high-stakes game with her life. And their last move is murder.

My Thoughts: Embry Woods is facing a difficult time in her life. Her mom, her only parent, has been battling cancer and, though she seems to have beaten it, there is still the uncertainty about the future. Partially because she's a single mother and partially because of her cancer, things aren't going well at her business. Embry has never met her dad. He and her mom had an affair that resulted in her birth. He sends support but he has a wife and two boys who are older than Embry.

Embry also has boyfriend issues. Her boyfriend Luke has joined the service as a medic and is pressuring her to marry him. She encouraged him to take a break from their relationship but his is so certain that she feels the same way about his plans for their future. Unfortunately, she does not. She doesn't know what she wants her future to be like. She does know that she has a new relationship with her best friend's ex. Holden is someone she can talk to. They are also hooking up though she is determined to think of him as a friend but not a boyfriend.

One night she and Holden met up at the closed Sea Cliff Inn to spend some time together. Accidentally, they start a fire. Embry sends Holden away, since his mom is a cop who would wonder how he got in, before she calls 911. As she is waiting for the fire department to arrive, she sees a silhouette in an upstairs window and rushes in to rescue a homeless guy. Her rescue of Sam makes her a hero in the town. She's the only one who knows that she's the cause of the fire. Until the first blackmail text arrives...

Embry is really conflicted about doing what the blackmailer demands or telling the truth about the night of the fire. She and Holden try very hard to find out who the unknown blackmailer is. Along the way she suspects a number of people including Holden and her best friend Julia.

This was quite a page turner. I couldn't read fast enough to find out who was blackmailing Embry and what she was going to do about it. Despite the fact that Embry was excessively secretive, I enjoyed her character. I loved her devotion to her mother and to her best friend. I empathized with her as she struggled to let down her old boyfriend and take a chance on having a new one. Mystery fans will enjoy this story and enjoy getting to know Embry.

Favorite Quote:
There's a long beat of silence. Then Holden says, "Don't take this the wrong way, but did you ever think that the reason you can confide in me but not people like Julia and Luke is because you are more afraid they're going to leave you?"
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

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