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3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  189 ratings  ·  48 reviews
When Ahmed's parents send him to a residential treatment center known as Serenity Ridge, it's with one goal: to "fix" their son, at any cost. But eleven months of abuse and overmedication leave him desperate to escape. And when the opportunity comes, Ahmed runs away to San Francisco.

There, he moves into a secret safe house shared by a group of teens. Until they become ind
ebook, 400 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Kensington
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(showing 1-30 of 951)
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Feb 14, 2011 Dana marked it as life-is-too-short  ·  review of another edition
OMG this book is SO annoying, I can't EVEN. FINISH. IT.

The author's writing how he thinks a kid (boi) prolly speaks, aiight, but IDK what teens he's been talking to, because it's really forced and


For reals.

G-D, the writing is soooooooooooo Hyperactive and Quirky it's hard to care about the characters or their (GRIM) sitch. Instead I keep thinking, WTF am I wasting my time when I could be reading something that has, IDK, actual grammar? Snap!
Jeff Erno
Ahmed has just escaped from a militaristic boot camp where the function of its operation is to reform homosexual youth. He was sent there by his father, who upon discovering he was gay, became intent upon curing him. Ahmed fakes a tooth ache, and his father and stepmom come to take him to a dentist. When they stop at a rest area, Ahmed makes a run for it. He has a hundred dollar bill stuffed in his tennis shoe which he’d received from his real mother as a birthday gift. He uses this to buy a bus ...more
Melanie Goodman
Ahmed wrote one simple sentence in his journal. He knew his snoopy parents might read it. He did it anyway. Ahmed wrote, “I think I might be queer,” and with that thought his life changed. When his stepmother reads this, Ahmed fears for his life, worried that his family will kill him. Instead, they send him to Serenity Ridge, a “treatment” facility to turn gay teens straight. After a year at Serenity Ridge, Ahmed is on his way home, but he knows it won’t be long before he’s sent back. He does wh ...more
Michael Soros
I bought this book out of nostalgia in some respects as I used to work with young men with mental health problems back in the early `90s in London. Quite a few of them were gay and had lived here and there purely because they had been abandoned by their families. It was hard to know whether the mental deterioration was due to background, genes or simply being abandoned to a very indifferent world. We hear a lot about `youth' but largely as consumers or potential troublemakers. This book is like ...more
I can already tell you right now that this review is going to be a jumble of thoughts. I finished reading Hidden just a few moments ago and I'm not even sure how to explain what is going on in my head right now. It's a blur of emotions really. Hatred. Disgust. Pure and utter sympathy. Understanding. This is one of those books that I can't even classify as a tough read. No, it's more like a necessary read that tears your heart out, gives you tons of new information you never knew you needed to kn ...more
Brandon Shire
A fictional expose of the consequences of reparative therapy, homelessness and abuse. Should be a must read for lgbt studies in general, and especially those who work with homeless lgbt youth.
One Word: Powerful. This novel takes the reader to places they may not be ready to go. It is definitely not for the faint of heart...or cry babies like me. The characters, not just Ahmed/Ben but the secondary characters that are runaway GLBT teens are one of a kind. They are in your face, fighting for the spotlight type of characters. They refuse to be judged and they demand respect. I don't like them all but I can't help but care deeply about what happens to each of them. They each come with th ...more
This was incredible...and very disturbing since it's based on several kids' real lives. hidden is about a boy that is put into a type of "rehab" by his parents, so he won't be gay anymore. Once he escapes, he lives "underground" in San Francisco and meets many other kids in the same situation. I don't think the author intended for this to be a "teen" book, but it ultimately is. (I can think of quite a few adults that SHOULD read this, but would probably go on deaf ears.) The language and scenari ...more
Why are children born and a parent(s) are unable to accept the child and love them unconditionally. Don't take this the wrong was and not all parents are under my scrutiny, but the parents to the teens in this book are and I'm just speaking out loud, making myself heard regarding those parents that would be so cold and commit the most heinous of crimes in my eyes: Sending them to a correctional facility.

This is what happens to Ahmed. He's the one telling this story. In first person. Read about h
3.5 stars. Gripping story of a gay teenager who has been forced to undergo reparative therapy in an abusive residential 'treatment' program, and escapes to a secret safe house in San Francisco for gay and trans youth. I admit that when I first started reading, I thought "This must be set in some kind of dystopia where it's legal to do all this terrible stuff in residential 'treatment' programs, and bounty hunters are allowed to hunt down young people to return them to their abusive homes." Nope. ...more
Pia Veleno
The Kindle free sample has me hooked, but damn... more than nine bucks for an ebook. I don't have to pay that much for my favorite authors, let alone an unknown. (Received the paperback as a gift -- I still stand by my statement that ebooks shouldn't cost more than mass market paperbacks.)


Yep, it really is a lowercase title. This was the first of many things that had me shaking my head. The author used a ton of kid slang, quotes to emphasize words that didn't need emphasizing, quotes aroun
Katy Vance
This book is fantastic! I especially appreciate the interview and information included at the end about safe houses for LGBT teens, which I didn't even know existed. I suppose I knew about them in theory but not in the "Underground Railroad" way which they exist today. I felt Ben/Ahmed was an exceptionally well developed character, realistic and believable in his voice and actions throughout the novel. I loved the secondary characters as well, each one unique and none of them perfect. Most of th ...more
I read a review of this on a YA blog, and then looked it up to see if we'd ordered it yet. It was already in! And in my library. But cataloged for the adult section. So of course I had to read it to figure out why.

After reading it, I'm still not sure. I think it would have a lot of appeal for teens who watch drama-filled reality tv where people are forced to live with each other, read "street lit", for fans of Ellen Hopkins, fans of Push, and for GLBTQ teens & allies, and for anyone who like
Excellent writing, you will get drawn into the story. The bad news is that the characters have sucky lives, and you will care

I have a complicated relationship with this book. It’s about a kid that gets shipped off to a mental hospital to cure his gayness. At the hospital he is heavily medicated and abused, but eventually escapes and ends up at a ‘safe house’ in San Francisco.

Complicated because the dialog is written in the style of a heavily medicated kid. Some things are real, and some things
Disturbing to say the least but an excellent book. I was blown away by the behavior of some people in this world. Looking at how kids are put into situations makes me grateful for my life and my safety, as others do not have it as easy as we do.
I think it was an important story to tell, but I found the stream of consciousness writing style to be a bit distracting. Slow in places and with an abrupt ending, I was left wanting more out of it in general.
Both disturbing and entertaining, hidden is a surreal treatment of a terrible situation that many in the U.S. still find themselves subjected to: the state-sanctioned torture of gay kids that is still legal in some places and the "underground railroad" of sorts that has sprung up to help them. While Mournian's linguistic eccentricity is enjoyable, he too often wields his words with such flash and flair that the prose at times distracts from the story. He's also in sore need of a good editor, as ...more
Lindsay Paige
WARNINGS: There is some vulgar language.

Hidden is about Ahmed aka Ben whose parents sent him away so doctors could rid him of being gay. Serenity Ridge is just awful and we learn just how awful as Ben reflects on it as he escapes.

The characters in this book were very, very unique and diverse too. There’s J.D. who’s sexy yet possibly scared of commitment. Kidd who isn’t always the nicest person. Hammer who is also sexy but Ben just doesn’t know about him. Peanuts who is a little on the crazy side
This was a difficult read. It's depressing, weird,startling, intense, and disturbing. Waiting for the book banners to go after this one. Ahmed escapes from a camp that is supposed to make him straight but his hiding place seems to be just as bad as his former hell. He's exposed to some really bizarre housemates who are promiscuous, drug users, HIV positive,and are transvestites. All the while the bounty hunters are going to come and get him and nobody can leave the house. The book is best when h ...more
Kaje Harper
3.5* This was a really hard book to rate. It is based on an investigative article the author, who is a journalist, did for the San Francisco Bay Guardian. It is very gritty and tough, and there is physical, sexual and emotional abuse in here, both on and off page. It follows kids who are runaways from various unbearable situations including, in the narrator Ahmed's case, a treatment center trying to turn gay kids straight with "aversive conditioning" aka torture. These kids band together in a sa ...more
George Ilsley
Wanted to like this more, but the structure of the book, and some sloppy editing, interfered with what otherwise was a compelling story. Compelling, and not one which I feel is widely known. Certainly I had known of the re-programming camps which attempt to de-gay teenagers, but had not realized the flip side of that coercion, the underground railroad and safe houses of those trying to escape the bigotry of their parents (who pay big money for these unproven and dangerous procedures).

But. Turds
This was a very interesting book that explores the world of underground safe houses which harbor teens who've escaped from residential treatments centers & bootcamps to "cure" them of homosexuality. It's pretty dark & raw & more than a little disturbing. The abuse these poor kids go through made me cringe & the injustice of having their freedom taken away angered me, but a very powerful emotion throughout the book is sadness & loneliness. That these kids know no love or accep ...more
A very gritty YA novel based on a fictional tale of Ahmed, a gay 15 year old who is escaping from a gay treatment center. The main character is very complex which can make reading the book complicated, but he is also very real in his emotional state. The book is overflowing with unique and complex characters which at times can get confusing but does overall add to the story. There is tons of vulgar language in the book so be warned. Some of the writing style can be extremely confusing to underst ...more
Damian Serbu
This is incredibly well written, so that you experience every turn, every event, from the mind and eyes of a teenager. It is a story of survival, amidst an often depressing and confusing reality. In addition to being a good piece of fiction, it is educational, thought provoking, and a very important work. LGBT homeless culture, and the abusive families from which they have fled, come alive in crucial and important ways here.
Sassafras Lowrey
a very powerful fictionalized portrayal of an underground network of queers helping LGBTQ teens escape reparative therapy programs- frightening and engaging
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Forever Young Adult
Graded By: Erin
Cover Story: The Eyes Are the Window To the Soul
BFF Charm: Yes, Though It May Cost Me
Swoonworthy Scale: 10
Talky Talk: My Stream of Consciousness Has Slippery Rocks In It
Bonus Factors: Diversity, The Underground Railroad, Anita Fixx, Sex Work, Villains, But I'm a Cheerleader!
Anti-Bonus Factor: Annoying Fat Stereotypes
Relationship Status: I'll Gladly Let You Into My Safehouse

Read the full book report here.
I gave this to page 89 and then threw in the towel. The main character is not likable and neither is anyone else in the book. I kept hoping for some redeeming value, but it was not forthcoming. Ahmed, the product of an American mother and an Arab father, is a runaway gay teen. His mother left years ago and now his father and his stepmother are battling him over his being gay. After a stint in a hospital that converts homosexuals, he escapes and begins an adventure. Where it ends, I don't care. P ...more
Interesting read about ignorant religious parents who try torture to change their gay son and the extremes he has to go through to be himself. The story rings very true of kids I have seen in counseling. The narrator shares feelings and thoughts that kids Who go through this type of thing rarely express to anyone.
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