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The Hidden Story of Estie Noor

"This inventive, page-turning treasure-hunt mystery celebrates finding your voice, and the magic of aunties, community and friendship."

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LoveReading4Kids Says

LoveReading4Kids Says

Following its protagonist’s joyous journey to an empowering fresh start, Nadine Aisha Jassat’s The Hidden Story of Estie Noor is a beautifully-written, mystery-packed novel-in-verse. Interlacing a remarkable breadth of themes with nimble-fingered skill — from feeling unseen and unheard, to embracing mixed-heritage identity — it’s a rather special story.

“It’s not like they say it is,” twelve-year-old Estie implores when she’s expelled from school. But, while Estie just wanted her mother “to hear my voice/the story I was trying to tell”, Mum “couldn’t see me/through the words of everyone else”. Feeling like her story has been “burrowed down/so far inside that now/I don’t know/if I can reach it” Estie is sent to stay with her Aunt Ru in Scotland.

On arrival, Estie shuts herself down, but Aunt Ru’s understanding, and Estie’s friendship with “Super Sleuth” Idris bring her out of her shell, as does her discovery of a paper castle containing a secret message from a stranger who’s also desperate to share the truth of their story. A message that sees Estie and Idris embark on a town-wide treasure hunt to unlock the truth — Operation Story Secret.

Alongside the page-turning mystery of a secret castle crime and a trail of art clues, the relationship that blossoms between Estie and glorious Aunt Ru is an absolute joy. “It’s never too late to change your story”, Ru sagely remarks, which gets to the heart of a heart- warming story that sees Estie do exactly that.

Joanne Owen

Star Books

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