THAT TIME I GOT KIDNAPPED, by Tom Mitchell, HarperCollins Children’s Books, April 2, 2020, paperback, $7.99 (ages 10 and up)
A 14-year-old kid from the UK finds himself on the adventure of a lifetime in Tom Mitchell’s That Time I Got Kidnapped.
Jacob is thrilled when he wins the chance to feature in the next Marvel movie, shooting in Hollywood. But after missing his connecting flight in Chicago, he tries to complete the journey by Greyhound bus – and there he meets Jennifer.
Jennifer is an American teenager on the run with a mysterious package she’s guarding with her life – and an enigmatic figure known only as ‘the Cowboy’ is hot on her heels . . .
Jacob soon finds himself on the road-trip of a lifetime as Jennifer’s unwitting partner in crime. Will he make it to LA in time – and in one piece? —Synopsis provided by HarperCollins Children’s Books
To be completely honest, I didn’t get off to a good start with That Time I Got Kidnapped. I really didn’t like it for the first 50 or so pages.
Then I realized why I didn’t like it. I was reading it as an adult. And as an adult, I had some serious problems with the adults in this book.
After that realization, I decided to put aside my biases and try to read the book as I would have many years ago.
That made all the difference.
It turns out That Time I Got Kidnapped is actually a fun, mad-capped adventure across the United States. Mitchell’s writing style is accessible and his pacing strong. Jacob is exactly the sort of kid you’d expect to fall into this type of situation, and Jennifer is brash and bold.
While I did end up enjoying That Time I Got Kidnapped, I still had lots of questions at the end. I never quite understood Jennifer’s situation or what the adults in her life were up to. And the ending felt a little anticlimactic. Problems aside, it’s a fun adventure that will transport you away from wherever you are.
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