- Title: The Hiding Girl
- Series: Emily Calby, #1
- Author: Dorian Box
- Publisher & Release: Friction Press, 6/15/2020
- Length: 304 pages
- Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ yes for entertainment value
Thank you so much to BookishFirst and Friction Press for my advanced copy of The Hiding Girl by Dorian Box! All opinions are my own!
Here is the synopsis from GoodReads:
Twelve-year-old Emily Calby was a good girl from a religious family in rural Georgia. She loved softball, her little sister and looking up words to get her allowance. Then two men came and murdered her family. Somehow Emily escaped. Only the killers know she survived.
On the run in a fugue, she makes an unlikely ally in a ruthless ex-gang member who takes her in. Overwhelmed by guilt for failing her family, she persuades him to train her to kill before setting out alone on a terrifying journey for justice. Nothing will stop her—not cops or creeps, not even her own splintering mind.
Through it all, Emily fights to hold onto hope and the girl she once knew, kept buried deep inside. A testament to the boundless limits of love, sacrifice and the will to survive, The Hiding Girl is the first book in the Emily Calby Series.
While it is no literary masterpiece, all three hundred and four pages of The Hiding Girl had me hooked. Emily’s family is brutalized and murdered, although she manages to escape before the criminals set the house on fire.
Weeks later Emily meets Lucas, a giant of a man who sells her a masterpiece of a fake drivers license. Lucas might be a 6″5 ex-army turned murderer and etc, but he is a good person at heart and sees some of his sister in Emily. He takes her in off the street and teaches her how to defend herself, use a knife, and shoot a gun.
While I really don’t ever see this happening in real life, it made for a great story. Emily started working out with Lucas’ girlfriend, Kiona, and became at least a little more formidable if not still naive. Lucas doesn’t seem like a typical criminal, he even gets Emily a birthday present. Which is a gun. And Kiona smacked him. I really enjoyed their dynamic. Also found/mismatched families is one of my favorite tropes in any genre!
Emily just wants to find the two men who savaged her family and extract justice. Can she do it after only a month of training in Lucas’ house? The pacing just flies too – I think I read the whole book in two sittings. Emily is resourceful and interesting while on the road too, the second half of the book takes her on a search for the bad guys.
I don’t think Lucas was supposed to be hilarious, but watching him try to deal with an annoying 12 year old white girl was pretty funny at times. She should have been terrified of him. I think this is a good race-transcending book for the current day and age too. There is also a psychological element involving repressed trauma, which I appreciate as a fan of psychological thrillers.
This is book one of a series and I definitely can’t wait to read the next. A good series intro has to present the main character/s with an interesting background and a purpose going forward if nothing else. Box definitely accomplished this. I 100% want to spend more time with these characters and hopefully see Emily grow up and into herself.
Recommended for people who can suspend disbelief long enough to watch a very brave, broken, and determined little girl learn the ways of life from a gun waving not-quite gangster. Some mature content involved.
Have you read it? Want to discuss it? Let me know!