Since the death of her brother, Clare Thomson’s life has been a struggle. Abandoning old friendships, lying to her parents, failing to live up to her responsibilities – she’s heading for disaster. But when she finds a pair of sunglasses that allows her to see the spiritual warfare around her – the angels that protect people, and the demons that plague them – she may finally be able to make amends. If she doesn’t go crazy first…
Hidden: Don’t Fear the Unseen is a quick-paced, high school drama that’s part Mean Girls and part Biblical drama. Clare struggles with her place in the school social hierarchy—should she reunite with her unpopular but, sincere childhood friend, or should she try to stay in the good graces of the popular kids? Will she get revenge on the mean girls, or will she act ethically (and impress the cute, religious boy)? I doubt the choices she makes will surprise anyone, in the vein of other stories similar to this one, but the secret of the supernatural glasses and the actions of the angels and demons keep the plot interesting. I hope we get even more answers in future books.
It’s a wholesome story for Catholic tweens and young adults who want to be entertained by high school settings without having to worry about inappropriate material. Verity Lucia makes an effort to present immoral actions without scandalous detail and to be clear about Catholic doctrine–with some artistic licenses about the angels and demons, and however these glasses are supposed to work. The only theological note I found confusing was a character saying that what you tell a priest in confession is confidential – which is accurate, of course, but the context made it seem like anything somebody tells a priest in a confessional is confidential, whether or not you’re actually having a valid confession. The rest of the story was very clear about doctrine, so I only bring it up for the most sensitive readers.
The book is very focused on Catholicism, so I don’t know that secular readers would enjoy it. Protestant readers may at least appreciate the clean, Christian viewpoint, even if they disagree with some theology. Among all readers, some might find the book too formulaic. I don’t think I ever forgot I was reading a book, as the characters felt like teens written by an adult to teach a lesson. They didn’t always seem natural. But I still found them be endearing and the book interesting. It successfully made me curious about the entire series and seeing how the origin of the glasses connects to others in the town (which will hopefully be discussed!).
Taken altogether, Hidden accomplishes its goal of being a mother’s gift to her daughter and other teenagers making sense of the world with a Catholic lens. I’d give it a chance if you’re in the mood for some high school drama that grapples with the nature of evil in greater depth than any secular portrayal of stereotypical teen life.