Review Blog

Apr 16 2018

Missing by Sue Whiting

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Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781760650032
(Age: 12-16) Highly recommended. Themes: Missing Persons; Mystery; Family; South America; Bats. Mackenzie's (Kenzie) life is in free fall because her mother is missing. Kenzie's father and her Nan appear to be either falling apart or hiding something from her. When clues appear to point in confusing directions, Kenzie ends up with secrets that she can tell no one. Not even her Sketchbook can reveal what she thinks she knows, but it does give her opportunity to draw what her mother loves - bats! A sudden trip with her father to a remote South American location takes her to the place where her mother was last seen. Confusion and isolation in Panama do not help her solve her secrets and the mystery of her missing mother.
It is written in an interesting chronology with chapters detailing present day events interspersed with the history of what had happened in her life immediately after her mother's disappearance. This disparate time setting slowly reconnects, as the history catches up to the present. This is a sad and tense story revealing the challenges for those left behind in a missing person case. In addition there is the intrigue of the scientific interest in bats and the South American setting, in combination with a desperate but likeable teen coming to terms with significant issues in her life and finding her place and friends in a new school. This is compelling and emotionally charged, and will be appreciated by readers wanting something that is not formulaic, with some mystery.
Carolyn Hull

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