I recently reviewed the first novel in Tim Shoemaker’s High Water series, Escape from the Everglades. While I enjoyed Escape from the Everglades, its sequel, Every Hidden Thing, is my favorite of the two.
In Every Hidden Thing, Parker Buckman’s father’s transfer finally comes through, and the family moves from the Everglades to Rockport, Massachusetts. After the death of his new friend Devin Catsakis, Parker discovers suspicious break-ins in Rockport. Parker’s new friend Ella believes the break-ins to be the work of some “paranormal” creature, spirit, or ghost known as the “Shadow-man,” a shadowy figure who carries a green light. But Parker believes the perpetrator must be human and seeks to solve the mystery.
The beginning of Every Hidden Thing is gripping, and the mystery intrigued me from the beginning. The plot pace is faster than Escape from the Everglades’, and the plot is very suspenseful. Since I, like Parker, don’t believe in ghosts, I found watching the mystery unfold interesting. Additionally, not all of the chapters are told from Parker’s point of view. Some chapters are told from the “ghost’s” perspective, and those chapters especially intrigued me.
Among his new friends, Parker is the only Christian, and I enjoyed seeing Parker interact with them. As in the conversation between Parker and his friend Wilson that I mention in my review of Escape from the Everglades, Parker continually stands up for his faith and is a strong Christian influence on his friends. One scene that particularly stood out to me is when Parker tells Ella that “Sometimes God doesn’t give us the answer key. He allows mysteries. But that doesn’t mean they’ll stay that way. He sees everything. Even the hidden things” (107). Nearly everyone that Parker encounters is not a Christian, and readers see their perspectives as well as Parker’s and how they interact with Parker. Parker’s faith is especially inspiring for Christian readers.
Another aspect of Every Hidden Thing that I found relevant is the friendship among Parker, Ella, and Parker’s friend Angelica (“Jelly”) from Escape from the Everglades. Jelly’s father, like Parker’s, is a park ranger and is waiting for a transfer to Rockport. In the meantime, Jelly keeps in touch with Parker through texting and regular video calls. Ella and Jelly are jealous of each other before they meet, believing that Parker can only have one best friend. Jelly believes that she is “being replaced” by Ella (217). Eventually, Jelly realizes that she is jealous and acknowledges her mistake in a quote that really stood out to me:
“A twang of guilt played deep in [Jelly’s] spirit somewhere. She’d been so protective of her friendship with Parker that she’d looked at Ella as a threat from the first time she’d heard her name. A rival, maybe… As far as Angelica knew, Parker was the only real friend [Ella] had. And Angelica, deep down, had wanted to take that from her too, hadn’t she?” (385)
The ending is satisfying, as the “Shadow-man” is revealed, and the mystery is mostly resolved. The end leaves the reader hanging more than Escape from the Everglades, as the plot is not resolved to my satisfaction. I am curious to see how Parker’s story continues in the next novel and if this mystery comes up again.
I recommend Every Hidden Thing to ages twelve through fourteen as the back cover of the novel suggests but think that high schoolers would enjoy the story too, since the main characters are in high school. Every Hidden Thing could also be read as a stand-alone novel, although Escape from the Everglades does provide insight into Parker’s character and his friendship with Jelly.
Young Adult Blogger
Kathryn Dover lives in South Carolina with her family including six cats, a dog, three fish, and many house plants. She attends Presbyterian College, majoring in math with minors in history and creative writing. Kathryn loves writing, especially plays, and she completed and performed her first play, The Sexton, at 14. She is currently serving as a Russell Program Intern in PC’s Marketing and Communications office and writing for the school newspaper, The BlueStocking. She’s not sure what she wants to do as a career, only that she wants to write, but is trusting that God has a plan for her life to use her in a powerful way.