An Indies Introduce Nominee and a SIBA Okra Pick

YA FICTION/SUSPENSE 

Sorboni Banerjee 

Hide with Me: A Novel 

Razorbill 

Hardcover, 978-0451478351, (also available as an e-book and an audio-book), 368 pgs., $17.99 

November 6, 2018

 

Sorboni Banerjee’s timely debut young-adult fiction, Hide with Me, catches fire on the very first line, “The girl was like a train,” and the story never stops burning, filling the pages with tension, heartache, young love, loyalty, deception, and constant fear. 

 

When Cade stumbles across the bloody, beaten, and barely alive ‘Jane Doe’ in a cornfield, his life tumbles into chaos that is both terrifying and beautiful. Positioned on the US/Mexico border, Tanner, Texas, is no stranger to drug cartels’ rivalries, brutalities, and relentless presence. With too much knowledge and a bag full of cartel money, Jane strengthens that evil presence when she collapses in that cornfield near Tanner, bleeding, broken, and desperate for a safe haven and a place to hide.  

 

The bond between Cade and Jane is instant, but hats off to the author for allowing the romance to build slowly and realistically. Both teenagers are simply trying to survive the unfair hand that life has dealt them; however, Cade is dreaming of a way out of Tanner, on a football scholarship, and Jane is dreaming of a way in, on the delicate hope of a normal life. 

 

The writing is lyrical yet relatable and engaging. The short chapters flit back and forth between Cade and Jane, with the occasional appearance of the ferocious cartel enemy, Lobenzo, the Wolf Cub. Those brief glimpses through Lobenzo’s eyes are chilling and eerie and remind the reader that the demon is closing in. But Cade and his friends embrace Jane and gather her into their protective circle, giving her the opportunity to hide in plain sight as a typical high school student. Unfortunately, hiding is usually temporary and offers a false sense of normalcy because, “When you keep getting pushed back, over and over again, you have to be realistic about what you can reach.” 

 

In addition to including the grisly truth of drug cartels, the author touches on many other difficult topics: broken families; domestic violence between a father and son who are equally damaged and heartbroken from betrayal; a girl abandoned and pushed into the “system” to fend for herself; and a terrified town that harbors corruption. But the minute Jane falls into that small Texas town, the slow process of healing, both the physical and emotional wounds, finally begins. 

 

Hide with Me is far more than a coming-of-age young-adult novel about the struggle of new love. This story is perfect for anyone who enjoys a well-told tale filled with enough tension to keep the plot going full steam ahead, culminating by crashing into a smoking climax. The author weaves together panic and hope, secrets and honesty expertly and with no rough edges.  

 

The ending chapters will have you cringing, wondering, cheering, and finally contemplating the story as a whole and how a young boy can save a young girl, how that same girl can save that same boy, and how they both can save friends, family, and the entire town. 

 

Sorboni Banerjee is an Emmy Award-winning television news reporter and anchor. She spent a decade on the air in Boston before moving to Tampa as a consumer reporter and anchor. She’s the daughter of an Indian physicist who made her a storyteller and showed her the world, and a mother from Maine who taught her to love books and save the world, and she has a little brother who probably will. Sorboni lives in Florida with her investigative reporter husband, adorable son, and giant dog. This is her first novel. 

Visit Sorboni online at sorbonibanerjee.com. And connect on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @sorbonified.