Edgar-nominated author Henry Turner explores a teen’s dark impulses and struggles with pursuing healthy relationships and expressing his self-identity in his latest young adult thriller, Hiding. When 16-year-old boy’s stalking of his ex-girlfriend, Laura, spirals out of control, he finds himself locked in her family’s basement and must examine some disturbing truths about his relationships and his life.
I wrote Hiding as a journey through a teen mind, culminating in the revelation of a secret self. Wanting to know more about the reason his ex-girlfriend Laura broke up with him, the narrator “accidentally” sneaks into her house and hides in the basement. After the family leaves, he makes his way through the rest of the house where he ultimately discovers terrible secrets Laura kept hidden from him.
Hiding is a novel about a teen who learns to value himself, even when others don’t. He’s taught himself a method to protect that sense of value. He calls it hiding. To people who ignore and undervalue him – and there are many in his neighborhood—he won’t say, “You don’t see me,”—he’ll say, “I’m hiding from you.” This is how he takes ownership over feeling overlooked.
Behind everything was my hope to encourage teens to value themselves for who they are, not only for what they do, or what place they will someday occupy in society. The teen years are a vital period, remembered for a lifetime, and not just a transitional phase to be gotten through on the path to becoming an adult. So I wrote about a real teen dealing with his everyday life, the empty time on his hands and his real-life problems. Most of it concerns his struggle to maintain a positive image of himself in a neighborhood that does not recognize or value him. The story describes his many ways of combating that—all of which he calls hiding.
I had to re-define YA for myself before I wrote Hiding because I wanted the story to be, hopefully, in some way useful to teens. Teen emotions are often vulnerable and confused. I know mine were. So I wanted to write about teens struggling to accept and value themselves for who they are, and not how they fit in. I wanted to write a novel about teens exploring and accepting their inner selves and personal value, which is often a silent struggle, and rarely if ever described in print. For the matter of life and death, the book describes through Laura’s ordeal, I had to focus on her secret inner life—so very different from her outer social persona—that only the narrator is able to finally recognize and understand – and hopefully the reader with him.
When I was nominated for an Edgar for my previous novel, Ask the Dark, it was a terrific boost and honor. Save.org recognizing Hiding and adding it to their Recommended Reading List for Youth brings me a feeling of great satisfaction and hope. Hiding is a story about teens discovering and accepting their innate value. And if it can help even one teen facing the sorts of problems Laura faces, it has served its purpose.