My God, it is beautifully done, probably the best book of its kind since . . The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. 'The grown-ups held an inquiry,' it begins, 'into how a child came to disappear, but they didn't name names like they do when children let grown-ups down. They talked about a catalogue of errors as if mistakes were something that turned up in the post and got paid for later.' If these two sentences don't make you want to read on, then just take my word for it: this is a seriously good novel for children and adults. It will creep into your readerly nooks and crannies like ivy up an ancient wall.
– RACHEL COOKE, THE OBSERVER
Harry's skewed worm's-eye account of life after Daniel is both tragic and funny, his surreal dreamed conversations with the missing child interspersed with comic observations of playground incidents and troubled, uncomprehending rage at how his parents are shutting him out.
– RACHEL HORE, THE GUARDIAN
Hide & Seek is one of those rare novels you thrust at your friends and say ‘Read this!’. It's ultra-convincingly written from the view-point of a nine year old boy but it's a very adult read. Wise and funny and searingly sad but ultimately heart-warming.
– JACQUELINE WILSON
What a spectacular debut, heartbreaking and hilarious. This is one of those books you’ll never forget.
– JILL MANSELL
Clare Sambrook has written a transfixing novel. Hide & Seek pulls us in from the first page. Harry, the nine-year-old protagonist with a shrewdly observant eye, has a voice that is candid, direct and funny. Remarkably real, Harry is one endearing kid.
– LISA DIERBECK
Hide & Seek doesn’t traffic either in cheap thrills or fashionable literary effects. By resisting these powerful temptations — to crank up the suspense or to wow us with a The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time sort of tour de force—Sambrook shows she’s a writer to be trusted. . . What keeps the novel consistently engaging is that she doesn’t allow too much wisdom to come out of the mouth of her fictional babe: the home truths that do emerge, from time to time, are mighty homely, because Harry is a good kid but not in any way an extraordinary one, and even his most acute perceptions are, like those of nearly all children, profoundly self-centered. . . Harry’s clichéd nuggets of truth are funny, but also weirdly touching — breakthroughs to the needy, greedy, nasty bits of his nature that aren’t ordinarily considered very nice in the liberal milieu he’s growing up in. . . Sambrook keeps the tone of her sad story light and dry and unsentimental, and her delight in Harry’s exuberantly selfish voice seems genuine. She’s an impressively focused writer.
– TERENCE RAFFERTY, NEW YORK TIMES
Harry Pickles has a likable voice. He details the contours of his world in an intimate, confident and confiding tone. . . Sambrook, who deftly captured the kid landscape in the first place, even more keenly captures the weird way in which the known world upends after trauma. . . [She] depicts Harry’s mixed emotions with compassion and humor and an ear keyed to the varied nuances of loss. . . . Raw and whimsical . . . Hide & Seek is a compelling, oddly enjoyable, emotionally raw debut.
– TESS TAYLOR, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
This is a great book, a brilliantly written account of what happens to a family after a child goes missing. . .heartbreaking and funny. . . In a word: wonderful.
– HERALD SUN, AUSTRALIA
This taut, suspenseful debut novel . . . is a smart addition to the genre of fiction narrated by precocious children forced to grow up too fast -- a nuanced take on a nightmare.
– PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, USA
Compelling . . . Sambrook pulls off a risky high-wire act . . .a debut showing considerable technical accomplishment . . . Sambrook avoids sentimentality, keeping the perceptions simple and delicate. She cleverly balances a child's preoccupations (smells, food, sports, cool things, embarrassment) with Harry's innocent, tortured attempts to understand unfairness and evil.
– KIRKUS REVIEWS, USA
Harry Pickles is not your average hero. . . The thrill and chaos and casual brutality of childhood are gorgeously accurate. . . Harry is beautifully real. His childish, man-of-the-world butchness is touching. . . .Sambrook shows it is possible to write about complex emotional conditions in a child’s voice. . . This is convincingly just like life. On the whole, the novel is touching, sad and very funny.
– KATY GUEST, INDEPENDENT
Stays squarely within the endearing voice of her narrator and evokes lots of genuine emotion. . . . Sambrook deftly and suspensefully builds up to the disappearance. 3 stars.
– ALLISON LYNN, PEOPLE
Harry keenly observes his family’s disintegration and wonders about his own. . . .Hide & Seek has poignancy. . . Reads with compelling tension.
– DOROTHY CLARK, BOSTON GLOBE
This is an emotionally searing story of loss, recrimination, and eventual acceptance of a situation that, all too sadly, can be more fact than fiction. Harry Pickles is such a beguiling character that, once introduced to the little boy, it's impossible to dismiss him or put the book aside.
– BOB WALCH, I LOVE A MYSTERY
Hide & Seek’s greatest strength is Harry’s layered and complex psychology. . . Sambrook doesn’t cringe from the awful facts of grief. . . .Looks at heartache squarely and understands that in its sorrows lie tender humanity.
– PETER COCO, TIME OUT CHICAGO
The traumatic events after a boy disappears on a school trip are written from the point of view of his brother, Harry. Both sad and funny, this brilliant debut novel looks at what grief can do to a "normal" family.
Losing a child is any parent’s greatest fear, and Clare Sambrook's articulate and confident debut explores that situation with sensitivity and power. Harry Pickles, the nine-and-a-bit-year-old protagonist, leads an everyday middle-class life around Notting Hill, with generous and loving parents and a beloved little brother, Daniel. Everyday, that is, until Daniel disappears. Sambrook's use of intentionally childish vernacular to express Harry's skewed worldview is not as innovative as the narration of Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, to which Hide & Seek can be compared, but it is consistently effective. The wry asides about school, friends and home feel all the fresher for their delivery by her likeable, intelligent hero.
– ALEX LARMAN, THE OBSERVER