MISSING, by Kelley Armstrong, Crown Books for Young Readers, April 18, 2017, Hardcover, $17.99 (young adult)
Reeve’s End is a dead end. Everyone knows it. And everyone who can leaves it. Winter Crane is next. At least that’s her plan. As soon as she graduates, she’ll be gone — just like her best friend and her sister.
But dreaming of a life away from Reeve’s End doesn’t mean Winter won’t miss it. Well… she won’t miss the trailer she lives in, or her father’s drunken beatings, but she will miss the woods, her job helping the one local doctor and her shack where she takes refuge.
Winter is all but counting down the days when she finds a boy bleeding, left for dead in a tree. Winter is able to save Lennon, but then he disappears. And it turns out her best friend is missing, too. Suddenly Winter is thinking about her sister, and how she hasn’t heard from her in a long time, too.
When Lennon’s brother, Jude, appears and starts asking questions, Winter becomes convinced more is going on than she originally thought. She doesn’t know or trust Jude, but she doesn’t have a choice. The clock is ticking.
Missing is the first novel by Kelley Armstrong that I’ve read. She’s a New York Times Bestselling author, and has written 21 fantasy novels, three middle-grade fantasies and three crime novels. Missing falls into the crime/mystery category, and after reading it, I’m not surprised she’s so successful.
Missing is full of suspense. The pacing is fast and full of tension. And the plot has more twists and turns than a windy road. That said, the end didn’t come as a complete surprise, and some of the twists seemed like a stretch at best. Despite that, I found myself glued to Missing.
Kelley’s main characters are compelling — flawed, frayed and intelligent. Winter is so perfectly suited for her setting that the appearance of Lennon and, later, Jude feels jarring. This contrast immediately sets the tone and helps move the action forward.
Reading Missing is like watching one of the better Lifetime movies — whether you like it or not, once you’ve started, you’re in it for the long haul.
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