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.
The Hidden Girl is a taut and compelling crime YA that explores dark places with a deft hand. Melati is my favourite kind of heroine – rebellious, self-deprecating and determined. Her sure sense of self and justice feels relevant to young people today, who face a broken world but remain undaunted. I loved her journey.
I loved this enthralling, fast-paced mystery, which is also a genuinely moving story about overcoming past mistakes and the power of forgiveness. Melati is a complex and loveable heroine whose ability to get herself in and out of trouble had me on the edge of my seat. A page-turner!
The Hidden Girl excels in the exploration of the fierceness, courage and complexity of young women. Melati is not only motivated by an impulse for adventure, but also by a deep sense of empathy and concern for Devi, and anger at the injustice she faces. Bassett also effectively depicts the electric awkwardness of romance in your teens, while maintaining Melati’s focus on helping Devi. Racing with the characters across lush Javanese roads and the menacing laneways of inner-city Melbourne while deciphering clues and waiting for justice to be served makes The Hidden Girl a thrilling and gratifying read.
With a labyrinth of plot twists and shocking revelations, Louise Bassett’s debut novel is heart-pounding, hair-raising, spine-chilling and so much more. Each page ignites every nerve in the body, switching on your fight-or-flight response as you connect with the characters and follow each step in their investigation. This is a story about the strength of the human spirit, the hope we place in strangers and the dangerous choices we are forced to make for the better good.
Mel is a great character. She is rebellious and you will find yourself at times questioning why she is making the decisions that she does, but deep down she just desperately wants justice to be done. With themes of making amends, forgiveness, ethics, privilege, responsibility, friendship, and sex trafficking, this is a gripping story that will suit readers aged 14 and above.