In Concealed, 12-year-old Katrina has had a long line of names beginning with letters of the alphabet A-K so far. Her last two names were Ivette and then Joanna. Her whole life as she remembers, her parents have been moving her from city to city and changing their names after every move. When they move this time, Katrina finds a new friend named Parker and a slip-up on her part leads to both her parents being kidnapped, leaving her to fend for herself with Parker’s help. Things begin to unravel when she discovers that her parents are not in the Witness Protection Program like they claimed to be, but rather that they’re on the run.
This was a FUN book! I listened to the audio at a time when I really needed something to get me into a reading flow again — and it worked. It picks up quickly and continues at that fast pace for most of the story. Katrina initially thinks her parents are in the Witness Protection Program, so she can’t use the internet or even a smartphone — nothing that can be tracked. I always get a thrill from stories with such a premise and this gets even more intriguing when we learn that her parents haven’t been entirely honest with her.
I loved Katrina’s friendship with Parker and all of her introspection throughout the story. While the kids aren’t exactly spies, there’s a lot of spy-like action and several efforts to outwit some bad guys in the story. Katrina also has no memory of her early childhood, which keeps readers in the dark about all the things she doesn’t know. There’s also a bit of a sci-fi twist in the story as well as mystery that propels the plot.
I don’t want to give much away, but I enjoyed the writing and I thought the mystery was mostly hard to figure out and the resolution was very satisfying.
Concealed is a engaging middle grade spy book with a clever female protagonist trying to piece together her identity. With a main character on the threshold of her teens and themes suitable for younger readers, this book is perfect for upper middle grade readers and those who are a bit younger. If you enjoy fast-paced stories with family secrets, action, friendship, and kids on the run, you’ll love this new middle grade book! Highly recommended for fans of Ponti’s City Spies and Burt’s Greetings from Witness Protection.