After looking over my Reading List for the year, I've noticed I have read an awful lot of Young Adult books about missing girls - I can only assume it's the true-crime enthusiast in me, slipping out. So below are three mini-reviews (reviewlettes of one hundred words) all focused around abductions for the morbidly inclined:
Talking to Strangers - Anne Cassidy
Published by Scholastic, 2007
Young Caroline disappears from her housing estate one afternoon, causing panic within the community. Maggie is the last person to have seen her alive, climbing into a dark car. Left to spend the summer alone whilst her best friend abroad, Maggie attempts to investigate the abduction with the help of a local boy, and quickly becomes suspicious of her new, mysterious neighbour. I found Maggie’s emerging memories of her own previous brush with a predator (the subtly creepy Material Man) to be more interesting and gave a better sense of her voice, than the whodunit plot, seemed slightly predictable.
Missing Girl - Norma Fox Mazer
Published by Harper Collins, 2008
Someone is watching the five Herbert sisters. He observes their daily trek to school each morning, watches them laugh, chatter and fight. He obsesses. Then one day, when least expected, he acts on it. The story is told from varying points of view (the predator, Beauty, Fancy and Autumn), which I found to be one of its most compelling features and allowing for a very well-rounded story full of unique, developed voices. Fairly simple in narrative, and yet Norma Fox Mazer seems to get the right balance of family drama and suspense and engagement with the characters. An intriguing read.
Stolen - Lucy Christopher
Published by The Chicken House, 2009
En route at the airport, sixteen year-old English teen Gemma is swept up in an encounter with a charming young man. When she awakens, she is trapped in the middle of the harsh Australian landscape with Ty, a trouble man who has retreated away from society. Stolen is told almost entirely in second person, in a letter to Ty from Gemma’s point of view. Lucy Christopher does an amazing job capturing the Australian landscape and commendably developed Ty into a fleshed out and sympathetic character. Gemma’s journey reminded me of Jenny Agutter’s character in the film Walkabout (1971). Would highly recommend.