Book Jacket


rank 2368
word count 113717
date submitted 15.12.2008
date updated 20.01.2010
genres: Young Adult
classification: moderate

Hide and Seek

Kelley Stafford

Sometimes your fate weaves a much different pattern than you ever imagined. Somewhere, someone may take those threads and entwine them for you. Forever.


How do you explain the existence of things that are-- well-- supernatural?

That's what Ryleigh Tyson wants to know. Forced to move from Philadelphia to Crescent Hollow, New York with her aunt and uncle when her parents die in a car crash, Ryleigh immediately feels that things aren't normal. In fact, they're beyond humanly possible.

A new town, school, and a love interest named Caden Frost are all just a little strange. Ryleigh knows that there is something different about Caden. Caden knows that he is not permitted to tell his secret to Ryleigh, which is that he, along with many others in this small town, is really a descendant of the Greek gods.

Hide and Seek follows Ryleigh and her discovery of a secret world, her battle against all things mythological and dangerous, confrontation with a scorned classmate, an irresistible new love, and whether Ryleigh can selfishly ask Caden to risk everything for her, or give him up in order to protect his secret. It shows what happens when Ryleigh learns to consider the needs of someone other than herself, and how that might lace her threads of destiny. And maybe, somehow, Ryleigh will fit into this mythological world.

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gods, mythology, romance, supernatural, suspense

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scottkenny wrote 1718 days ago

Hi Kelly, this has a brilliant beginning - all five chapters of it, and all of it necessary. Ryleigh is a character who is easy to sympathise with, notwithstanding her earlier behaviour. You manage to quietly build up the picture of her life without any of the particulars imposing on the reader, and then take us into the next phase of the story, seamlessly. I am impressed with your ability to do this. It looks effortless, but as someone who spent weeks trying this out and then that out and never quite managing to do it, I understand how difficult it is. The storyline looks intriguing. Quite different. Shelved, Scott.

Raymond Terry wrote 1905 days ago

Dear Kelley Stafford,

'Hide and Seek' is a delight.

I sat down earlier to sample the writing and was instantly engrossed to the point that I have read eight chapters.While my first impression that the names of the characters were oddly different, not Al and Mary or Tiffany and Frank for instance, I see where you have crafted those names as a backdrop to frame the odd happenings and I applaud your decision. The names you use are crisp and commanding.

Ryleigh's conflicts and self recriminations and withal her nostalgia for the parents she fought so hard in life is well done and believable.

The story is excellent. It is engrossing, attractive, mysterious and quite readable as put on the page. An editor would probably condense this and poke and prod at some of that and gesture triumphantly when finding the occasional passive sentence but that is what copy editors do. Do not look for that here as I believe such minutiae would be counterproductive to your creativity.

My function is to read. I am here concerned with whether a work is readable and whether I would buy it in the store. 'Hide and Seek' is both so don't do anything but finish it. You write well.

Best regards, RT

quailebird wrote 758 days ago

'Hide and Seek' is an exceptional read. I would definitely buy it if and/or when it hits bookstores! It's completely engrossing, and I've been reading chapters sporadically throughout the past few days because I'm so intrigued by Ryleigh and Caden and basically the entire plot. This will definitely be staying on my watchlist and bookshelf for a long time!
Best of luck,

Vall wrote 1084 days ago

Hi Kelley, I've only read Ch1 as yet, but will read more. Excellent opening chapter - all the way through a hint something awful is about to happen that will change Ryleigh, this is skillfully done. Backstory interweaves well and your characterisation is vivid. A few nits, for what they're worth - in the middle of the chapter you repeat 'my parents' several times within a short space. Also, two cliches - 'heaved a sigh' and 'well manicured lawns'. But these really are nits. I'm reading on. Best wishes, Val

PCreturned wrote 1084 days ago

Hi Kelley,

The description of your book really jumped out at me, so I'm here to have a good read + leave a comment. :)

I'll comment as I read since I find that the easiest way to keep track.

(Sorry in advance for any typos, but my keyboard’s a bit knackered :()

Chapter 1: Ryleigh's attitude really comes through right from the beginning. I like the way your writing style gets us into her mindset. I also like the fact there's a v early hint something bad will happen in the future. Ominous. ;)

She really hates being stuck in that dinner, doesn't she? I liked the cunning way she used her phone while pretending to be engrossed in the dinner. Clever. I can't blame her for being bored at this mutual back-slapping ceremony. I think I'd hate it too. Hmmm seems like she's more than a little spoilt, though. Interesting. You rarely see that in a main character for YA. You cleverly drop hints she learns + improves in the future, though. Neat way to make her a more sympathetic character than she currently is. ;)

After the dinner's over, it looks like her parents are really fed up of her attitude. I guess the tattoo may have been the last straw. I'm not surprised they give her the 3rd degree on the way home. Uh oh... just when the argument peaks, it looks like they crash the car. I hope they'll be OK. :(

Chapter 2: Phew Ryleigh's survived, despite being hurt. She seems to be in hospital, all tubed up. Her aunt and uncle are there, but ... where are her parents? Wow she was hurt worse than I realised. She was in a coma for over a month! Must have been a really bad car crash. Hmmm what's the boy and girl all about? Is she hallucinating? Or is there some supernatural explanation?

Then we get the dreaded news. Both her parents are dead. No wonder she flips out. Who wouldn’t? The words she hears when they drug her up are peculiar. She was thrown from the car, yet she survived. How? It's a miracle. She should be just a splatter on the asphalt. Were the strange boy and girl involved in saving her somehow? There are lots of fascinating questions here. :)

Chapter 3: When she wakes, at least the breathing tube's gone and it seems she's starting to come to terms with her terrible loss. The tears show that much. She's blaming herself for the crash, though; playing the "what if" game. Poor kid. I feel really sorry for her now :(.

The boy's back. Who/what is he? He actually talks as well. Maybe he is real. Strange sensations when he touches her. Does he have some sort of power? Maybe even healing? That could explain why she's still alive after the terrible accident. When the girl returns, she seems agitated. What does it mean that "it isn't right"? Is he some sort of different being who's forbidden to interact with regular humans? When he disappears again, I'm left with more questions than answers. If I were in Ryleigh's state, I'd probably think I was going crazy by now.

Chapter 4: Looks like she’s suddenly far better than she was. Caden definitely must have done something to heal her. The doctor seems v surprised.

More info on the accident. At least her parents seem to have died instantly in impact. No suffering. Wow she had no broken bones, though. I'm thinking the boy must have intervened somehow. Nobody could be so unharmed after such an accident. Hmmm then we learn it wasn't the voice of the aunt or uncle that woke her from the coma. Again, I'm sensing Caden's hand. ;)

By the end of the chapter, sadness is hitting her hard again. I think all the upcoming changes with location and family brought this on. From now on, everything’s going to be different. :(

Chapter 5: No wonder the doctors treat her like she's a freak when she walks out the hospital a few days later. It is weird she was so unhurt and healed so fast. Her attitude's really changed, though. Gone is the bratty kid who couldn't care less about anything. This new Ryleigh is, in many ways, a better person. I just wish she could have arrived at this improvement without such awful loss. :(

The aunt and uncle are v understanding, offering her kindness and privacy. But Ry doesn't even want to look at her aunt because of the resemblance to her mum. That must be really difficult, being reminded with every glance.

Weird section where she feels like she's being watched. Is somebody there or is her imagination in overdrive? Oh it's Caden. Then he's gone again. Damn, will she ever get to talk to this boy?

By the end of the chapter, it looks like she’ll soon be back in school. After everything that’s happened to her, I wonder how on Earth she’ll cope. :(

Ok this comment's getting waaayyy too long. Sorry, but I think I got carried away by your story ;). I'll sum up now, and then shut up. :)

I think this is a great book, filled with drama, emotion and tension. Ry’s a really well-drawn main character. I think you’ve done a great job by making somebody who’s a brat into a girl we are feeling sorry for and sympathising with in record time. And the supernatural elements you hint at inject plenty of mystery. I especially like the way you stretch out the tension by releasing information, little be little. At the end of each section, I want to read on and find out what new developments your story has in store. Who/what the hell is this boy? We have to read on to find out. ;)

I've rated your book as highly as possible, and hope you get noticed by an agent/publisher. I think there's clearly a large audience out there for your work. :)

Best of luck,

Pete x

CarolinaAl wrote 1322 days ago

A well thought out fantasy. Empathetic, well-drawn characters. Vivid settings. True-to-life dialogue. Insightful narrative. Awesome world building. Remarkable writing. An absorbing read. Backed.

Wilma1 wrote 1340 days ago

A very well written story with lots of powerful images. The spoilt Raleigh in the beginning so out of control and the vivid scene as the car crashes. The hospital scenes are very realistic as she tries to come to terms with both her loss and the long route to recovery. You are a very slick writer you give us a fast pacey read and enough information to more your plot on without drowning us.


Knowing Liam Riley – I hope you have a moment to take a look

ZatWillDo wrote 1361 days ago
Johanna Kern wrote 1367 days ago

What an intriguing tale! Not only you weave the plot around destiny, and how it takes over/surprises humans while they try to pursue their own ideas -- but you also give Ryleigh the great strength, and character, to face all what is meant to be and make her own choices! Bravo! Very intelligent and heartfelt story, superbly written. Mythological, and romantic. Keeps one glued to the pages.

Two thumbs up!

Backed with true pleasure.

Johanna Kern
Master and the Green-Eyed Hope

Mooderino wrote 1413 days ago

Polished writing with good flow and pace to it. You establish the characters quickly and kill off the parents with aplomb (heartless of you). The tattoo stuck out a bit, if she got it the day before it would be red raw and covered with a piece of plastic film (unless they've changed their methods recently). I also wondered what it was of, i don't think you said.

Hospital scene was deftly handled. feels liek you know where you're going.

Overall very accomplished. happy to back it.

Bocri wrote 1423 days ago

25 May 2010
Hide and Seek has an interesting pitch which introduces a novel with a compelling, premise. The remorseful 'if only' reflections in layered descriptive prose which gradually build up the character of the MC are revealed at a measured pace. Strong descriptive passages are used sparingly, confidently but effectively and the plot that ensues does not fail the potency of the pitch. The exposition is well balanced and even as the story unfolds as seen from the differing POVs. BACKED. Robert Davidson. The Tuzla Run

CraigD wrote 1428 days ago

Good voice for your target audience. Really nicely done; happy to back this for you.
Please consider taking a look at my book, The Job.

Mandi Oyster wrote 1437 days ago

Wow! I loved this story! I read to the end, and I need more!!! I need to know if they vote her in and if she has powers. This is very well written . . . a page-turner. Good luck with it!

Mandi Oyster
Dacia Wolf & the Prophecy

A Knight wrote 1444 days ago

This is stunningly done, beautiful and professional writing supports an entrancing and gripping plot. Absolutely fabulous and backed with pleasure.
Abi xxx

zan wrote 1445 days ago

Hide and Seek
Kelley Stafford

Nice title and cover Kelley. The plot is very exciting. I've always been drawn to stories with a supernatural element and that question in your short pitch "How do you explain the existence of things that are-- well-- supernatural?" caught my attention. I think young readers will be able to identify with Ryleigh, forced to move in with her aunt and uncle after her parents die in a car crash. The chapter one dinner party scene is well done. And the sound of metal twisting at the end of this chapter with everything going black makes the reader want to turn the page - so you succeeded nicely in keeping my attention and getting me hooked. I thought this chapter was a good sample of your writing and I enjoyed it very much. All the best in finding a publisher Kelley.

scatteredfrost wrote 1445 days ago

Hi Kelly,

Hide and Seek is a charming story. I love your cover. Your hard work shows, well done. You have a very authentic voice of a sixteen year old.

Pamela Frost
aka scatteredfrost
Houses of Cards

Barry Wenlock wrote 1445 days ago

Hi Kelley, I only had time to read the first chapter but I've put you on on my shelf on the strength of that. My honest opinions are as follows:
1. Well-written, easy prose, good dialogue.
2. Ryleigh is a likable MC and has a good voice.
3. Well edited. I didn't spot any typos
4. A good pace -- the chapter builds with several references to her regrets re her parents, hinting at what's ahead, and then with mounting tension, the argument and punishment and disaster. A great hook.

I wondered if the opening sentences could be changed to read.

"That night was torture. Or what I remember of it. December twelfth."

( I felt that it was 'the night' which you hardly remembered, not the date. Just a thought.

Best wishes and good luck, Barry

Little Krisna and the Bihar Boys

I. Alexandra wrote 1445 days ago

This reads like a first rate novel - I was quite engrossed in your first chapter, it draws the reader in then leaves them wanting more as it ends in suspense. This is just my taste in YA fiction! I adore the pitch - it sounds exactly like something I would want to read and the first chapter just confirms this. Your story is just the kind that makes me wish I had all the time in the world and that I didn't get eye strain from reading on the computer! The pitch makes it seem rather reminiscent of Twilight in ways (you constricted a totally different MC, however), but as I loved the Twilight saga (yes, I'm admitting it!) this strongly appeals to me. I hope you get noticed by a publisher before this genre goes out of style! Nicely done. Backed!

flumgirl wrote 1448 days ago

This book was phenomenal! I absolutely LOVED IT! You are very talented. Please tell me if you will make a sequel , I need to know!

-your eager reader
p.s. i definitely backed it

djinnia wrote 1451 days ago

i read the first four chapters and i liked your book immensely.

Dawn DeRemer wrote 1451 days ago

When I first read the pitch on this book, I thought I wasn't going to like it, but there was a very nice contrast between the girl's open innocense in the aftermath of trauma and the mysterious secrets that beleager her new life. It's a good kids book that almost crosses over to adult. It's catchy and I think different enough to gather a following.
Best of Luck
Dawn De Remer (Golden Moon)

Balepy wrote 1451 days ago

Kelly you will go far - the plaudits below say it all and I intend to keep reading later today, meanwhile am backing you with pleasure. Thanks also for your comments on Freckles the Fawn - perhaps you can find time to read the last chapter and the note below it - might make you feel better about the loss of Freckles' mother at the beginning. Best of luck - but you have talent so luck is not neccesarily a requirement in your rise to fame. Balepy

Famlavan wrote 1467 days ago

Hide and Seek

This is a very engaging story. The structure is strong and very, very well written.
I think you characters are very well developed and the mix of dialogue, narrative and great storyline is borderline addictive. I thought I’d only been reading a few moments, next thing I was there walking out of hospital.

lizjrnm wrote 1481 days ago

You have a gifted imagination and young adults are going to love this book! BACKED with pleasure!

The Cheech Room

Burgio wrote 1488 days ago

This is a good young adult novel. First, because you have good characters. Second, because it deals with one of the worst fears of teenagers: having to move to a new school and town. Adding a mystical element to this makes the move not your average one and makes this a good read. Burgio (Grain of Salt).

yasmin esack wrote 1498 days ago

One of the best books on this site. This is superb and well crafted. Backed with much pleasure.

yasmin esack wrote 1498 days ago

One of the best books on this site. This is superb and well crafted. Backed with much pleasure.

Pia wrote 1503 days ago


Hide and Seek - the writing has a lovely rhythm, a treat. I enjoyed the pacing. The way you place subtle hooks make this a page-turner. Who wouldn't want a Caden looking out for them. The mystery unfolds slowly and made me read on. Here a few things I noted down:
CH 2 the paragraph beginning with ... In a matter of seconds I felt a warm calm ... eyes fluttered close(d).
We did (brain) scans and it doesn't appear that she has any brain damage. You could leave out the first (brain)
After Caden visited and touched her throat, the doctor is bewildered that she sits up in her bed. Shouldn't he also be surprised she can talk?
Re: coma patients, already before research proved that coma patients were aware in cases, even so they could not respond, they were routinely talked to. Don't know if these are helpful thoughts.

Difficult to stop reading. I'm pleased to back this enthralling story.

Best success, Pia (Course of Mirrors)

MarkRTrost wrote 1506 days ago

I read chapter 15.

You have a very deliberate cadence to your prose. I like it. I think your style is readable and enjoyable.

Good luck with this
Mark R. Trost
"Post Marked."

Sheila Belshaw wrote 1510 days ago



This novel is a riveting read. I was captured by the passion in the words and the beautiful writing. The first person narration works really well. The characterisation is excellent and you are a master creating tension.

Backed with great pleasure,
Sheila (Pinpoint)

Eric Grizzle wrote 1512 days ago

This is gripping. It takes hold of the reader quickly. I was drawn into the secret world. Very well written with an easy to read style. You have created a wonderful atmosphere. Shelved and backed.

Frederic and Unbroken Promise

Paige Pendleton wrote 1512 days ago

You have a winner here. It immediately takes hold of the reader and doesn't let go. Every aspect of this is very well done - characterization, premise, suspense/tension, atmosphere - but most especially how it is written. A serious hat tip of respect and admiration. Backed, and I'll be finishing.

bonalibro wrote 1512 days ago

Got through Chapter 2, Lots of character development so far, the accident the hospital room the two strange young people at the door. It has the makings of a very good story about a spoiled, bratty teenager with a lot to learn about life. Very polished. Goodonya.

I would write a longer more interesting and portentous opening sentence. The first should be your very best.
Condense as much information as you can into it, but imply more than you reveal.

Beval wrote 1517 days ago

Good start, I liked the way you set up Ryleigh as she was and then as she became after the accident.
A nice touch of mystery in caden to add to the whole romance. This seems ideal of the YA market.

Francis Albert McGrath wrote 1521 days ago

Well, you've certainly got conflict in the opening. Ryleigh v her authoritarian parents. The plot is skilfully controlled as we move into the sunsequent chapters, and Kelly suffers her loss and is relocated. I enojyed it, and I think it's a professional job of work.

jtgradishar wrote 1522 days ago

Great way to kick off a story. I think your idea is good and so is your writing. Your prose is pretty clean

In searching for some critique, the best I can come up with is that you use the word 'but' to start a lot of sentences. This word can often be omitted, however you also adopt, in your narration, the tone of a conversation, and this might just be part of that. I don't know that I would necessarily change it, but I wanted to give you at least something to think about.

At any rate, a fien piece of work. Best of luck with it! Backed.

SRFire wrote 1524 days ago

The family situation done well. Enjoyed it immensely. Backed with pleasure, Sana

AnnabelleP wrote 1532 days ago

Here for our read swap thingy :)
As I started to read, I thought how well pitched this is for the YA market. I think your opening is particularly good and will drawn you reader in. Ryleigh is a well developed character, one that you build up gradually along with the story. The writing flows and the pace seems right to me. There's a lot that is appealing about this, the element of mythology, but also the real life decisions that sometimes have to be made. I liked your book and it's on my shelf.
(The Awesome Adventures of Matty McDuff)

lionel25 wrote 1537 days ago

Kelley, I've read the first two chapters. Very well-written. Nothing to nitpick about. I'm not sure why this isn't higher up the charts.

Sincerely backed!


Phyllis Burton wrote 1537 days ago

Hello Kelly, Everything that happened to Ryleigh throughout your story seemed to have been mapped out from the moment she was born. She couldn't understand who it was that had visited in hospital after the car accident. From that moment on she was on a journey of discovery, violence and love. She eventually discovered the history of her people and ended up with the true happiness she had been striving for.
This is splendidly written and described and I cannot find anything to criticise. You have obviously delved into Greek Mythology and your characters seem true to their names. Well done. SHELVED. (Can't see how I missed this one!).

A Passing Storm (Could you read this for me please?)

K.Z. Freeman wrote 1546 days ago

loved the pitch Kelley, and the cover, the writing however I loved even more :D

Its very mellow, if thats the right word for it even. It somehow eases you into the story that unfolds with increadible fluidity and perfect sentances. I liked it, backed.

Francesco wrote 1547 days ago

A pleasure to read, this is so well done!

AlanMarling wrote 1547 days ago

Dear Kelly Strafford,

Thank you for sharing your story with us. I skipped to chapter seven to cover less-traveled ground and was rewarded by the idea of a city girl out of her element, having trouble sleeping without the racket of city nights. She’s worried about fitting in among people who are rude enough to know everyone by name. Where’s the city anonymity when you want it? I’m getting hints of the romance, with Caden being more of a “god” than Amanda might guess. That he’s stalking her is creepy. At this point I’m wondering if Ry has divine parentage as well, and what her embarrassing background was that I missed. You sum up her difficulties well in a great end-chapter hook.

I enjoyed your story, and I think it has an immense potential audience. Bravo! Backed.

Best wishes,
Alan Marling

LN wrote 1548 days ago

Hello Kelly,

First chapter looks good. An editor's delight. If you can maintain the same pace all through the MS then I am sure you will find a suitable publisher very soon.


Lalit Navani ( Femme Fatale )

Sly80 wrote 1549 days ago

I love the portrayal of the spoilt, self-centred Ryleigh ... very cleverly done. Then the argument leading to disaster. Excellently imagined hospital scene, with Ryleigh's confusion as she first comes round, then the boy and the girl, and their strangeness. Another great scene with her aunt as Ry struggles to come to terms with her loss, her change of circumstances and the apparent 'illusions'. There's some strong writing here, Kelley, and a lot of creativity. The mythological aspects are particularly unique to the genre, making what looks to be a strong YA supernatural romance ... backed.

(Possible nits: 'The night was a nightmare' maybe instead something like 'That night was torture / an ordeal / purgatory' rather than repeat 'night' in your first sentence. 'tried pulling the tubes ... tried to sit up ... tried to hold me ... tried to get up'. The early descriptions of 'the boy' gives no indication of his age, e.g. whether a child or a youth. Try not to repeat anything in both dialogue and action, e.g. 'The doctor was astounded to find me sitting up ... I didn't expect to see you sitting up'.)

writerwithacause wrote 1549 days ago

Hi Kelly,
I really liked the beginning of your story. Ryleigh is an interesting character and I really like her name. You use the word that a lot. Someone told me if I took that out of the majority of my sentences the sentence would sound better. They were right so I followed their advice. Backed with pleasure. Lisa

Jupiter Echoes wrote 1550 days ago


I get very little from comments about my own book, nowadays. Some people like it, some don't. Some people are too frightened to leave genuine feedback, while others seek to enforce their own style upon me. I want to get to the Ed's Desk to get professional comment. I would rather spend 30 quid than do all this reading and backing. I have got everything I want out of Authonomy community already. So I am backing your book so that you can reach the Ed's desk and get professional feedback, instead of the platitudes and devious backings that account for 80% of backing you receive. Only 20% of comments are genuine, and will add value to your work.

Now, who am I not to back you? I am not godlike. Your work might be flatly written, unoriginal or even down right bad. It could be wonderful. But in my experience, only you can be honest with yourself about your writing... and that is what matters.

So, I am backing you so you can reach the Ed's desk.

There you are.

Hope you reciprocate.

Ruth Francisco wrote 1550 days ago

Great opening. I was laughing at Ryleigh and her antics, then wham, the accident. A hard way to grow up fast. This is nicely written and the mix of brutal reality and fantasy is very much in vogue for YA books now. I think young readers will love Caden, and empathize deeply with Ryleigh. Well done.
Amsterdam 2012

scarletjg wrote 1551 days ago

I can't find fault with your writing but I must say, I would actually prefer chapter 2 to be chapter 1 and then use the present chapter 1 as a kind of memory or flashback. Chapter 2 caught my attention and kept it firmly in place whereas I might have skimmed through the first chapter. All in all, an excellent story though.

Janice (Blood of Eden)

MickR wrote 1557 days ago

The writing is well done and you do a good job of ceating the voice of teeneage angst.
Not my kind of read but I see the quality in the prose.
On my shelf.
MickR - The NIghtcrawler.

zap wrote 1557 days ago

hi Kelley, I was taken in by your book from the first sentence. This is due to your writing skills as well as your imaginative storytelling. Your hooks are compelling. The horror is pleasant to read.
I wondered if Harper/Liam are living Harper True Life? This is definitely more than just YA.
The fundamental change of character in the pov is striking and very real, while the transformation is well portrayed and not too abrupt. I enjoyed the silent dialogue and found it very attractive bedded into a buffer of description and direct speech. The logic is compelling. A page-turner. Backed.

lynn clayton wrote 1562 days ago

Kelley, your writing is immediately engaging and the state of mind of Ryleigh in ch1 totally believable. There's just the right amount of detail to set the scene and an undertow of foreboding. The crash comes as a surprise and a shock. Ryleigh's reactions as she comes out of her coma are convincing. You have an excellent book here. Backed. Lynn