WHAT THE OTHER THREE DON’T KNOW, by Spencer Hyde, Shadow Mountain, March 3, 2020, Hardcover, $17.99 (young adult)
How many people know our completely true self? What secrets are we hiding? And if we share them, will we still be loved? Those are the questions posed in Spencer Hyde’s What the Other Three Don’t Know.
Who wouldn’t like forced “quality time” on a school rafting trip? Answer — Indie, Skye, Wyatt and Shelby. Living in a town of just 300, just outside a bustling town of 2000, the quartet can’t help but know of each other, even if they don’t know each other.
Indie, the loner, lives with her grandfather, the town undertaker. Skye, the jock, is coming back to school after recovering from a life-changing car accident. Wyatt, the outsider, is a prepper with attitude. And Shelby, the popular girl, is rich and is focused on her life as an Instagram influencer.
About the only thing the four have in common is not wanting to float down an Idaho river. At least that’s what it seems like at first. But nothing about the river is unpredictable, and the teens find themselves not only having to rely on one another, but to actually trust them. As the trip unfolds, they begin sharing deep secrets that change the status quo.
What the Other Three Don’t Know is Spencer Hyde’s second novel. While I appreciated his writing in Waiting for Fitz, I never really connected with its characters.
I had the opposite experience with What the Other Three Don’t Know. Here, Indie is the narrator, and she’s immediately a character you want to get to know. So, too, are the other teens. As soon as you meet them, you know there’s more to their stories. Indie’s story is the only one that’s fully fleshed out, and I would have liked to have learned more about the other teens, but since Indie is running the show, I was OK with where things ended.
The development I did miss was that of river guide Nash, who is a supporting character that plays a significant part in Indie’s story. I feel like Hyde missed an opportunity here. Instead, Nash feel more like a prop.
Because What the Other Three Don’t Know takes place on a rafting trip, you can expect the story to ebb and flow like the river the teens are riding. This pacing really propels the story forward. I read the book in one day, and, despite my quibbles, was sorry to put it down when I finished.
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