Tuesday, January 10, 2012

[Review] Girl, Missing by Sophie McKenzie

Title: Girl, Missing {goodreads}
Authors: Sophie McKenzie
Publication: January 2012 (repackaged)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
RRP: $16.99
Source: For review (thanks to publisher!)
Precautions: 11+ - Mild violence and kidnapping
Pages: 282
My Rating:

Lauren has always known she was adopted but when a little research turns up the possibility that she was snatched from an American family as a baby, suddenly Lauren's life seems like a sham. How can she find her biological parents? And are her adoptive parents really responsible for kidnapping her? She manages to wangle a trip across the Atlantic where she runs away to try and find the truth. But the circumstances of her disappearance are murky and Lauren's kidnappers are still at large and willing to do anything to keep her silent...
My thoughts: 

~ Final thoughts ~

Girl, Missing by Sophie McKenzie, while a chilling and heart-thumping thriller, lacked logic and character likeability, which made it difficult to enjoy completely. With several heartfelt moments, a budding romance that stands from solid grounds but is shakily executed, and sinister villains that make for intense suspense, I have no doubt that 11-14 year olds will eat this up. Most of all, this book addresses the Who am I question, in which many readers will be able to sympathise with Lauren's situation of having been adopted and never knowing her real parents.


Lauren is adopted and has never known her real family, so when she is asked this Who Am I question for a school homework task, she begins to wonder what her real parents were like. Frustrated that she's never been able to remember, she asks her best friend Jam's mum, a spiritualist, to help her. In a state of deep relaxation, she remembers. Lauren, age 3, and her real mum, long black hair and spirited smile, playing hide-and-seek at a beach somewhere. In her heart, she knows she needs to--by any means necessary--find her real family. Upon research, she discovers a Martha Lauren Purditt, whose details match . . . but Martha was born in America. Lauren's always lived in London. But Lauren needs to know, so she sets up a family vacation, to America.

The overall story was compelling and one that I'm sure many people will be able to relate to. If I were adopted, I'd have wanted to know who my 'real family' was too. What McKenzie does a bit differently to other authors who have touched on this subject, is that she delves into the legal implications of international adoption. She also gives Lauren a choice, and room to decide whether she wants to go back to her old life in London--the life she's always known, or to return to the parents who have spent forever trying to recover the child that had been taken away from them.

What really didn't agree with me about the plot was just how unbelievable so many of the actions and decisions were. And how the right characters just happened to be there at the right time--or the wrong time, in Lauren and Jam's case. To me, it was just way too illogical and coincidental for me to believe it all. Also, money. It never seemed to be a problem for anyone--and to travel from London to America isn't that cheap that people can be whizzing from one country to the next, without seriously breaking the bank. Once again, this might be something that younger readers will be able to forgive.

In GIRL, MISSING, there was an expansive cast of characters, but I was never confused or unable to keep up with remembering names and roles. More the problem was in the one-dimensional feel the majority of them had. A little of the dialogue was stiff, and the only character that seems to develop or change during the course of the book is Lauren. That said, I did find a couple to be extremely likeable, and I wouldn't mind seeing them return in the sequel. (Madison, Glane, Jam's mum Carla) Despite the bits of maturity that Lauren picks up along the way, I never got to the point where I cared about her, or even what happened to her. Her selfishness was just so unforgiveable.

On the upside, McKenzie's writing is fairly easy to get through. It's simple and gets to the point. You'll be turning those pages, wanting to know how things turn out for Lauren in her quest for self-discovery.


First lines
"Who am I?
I sat at the computer in Mum's office and stared at the essay heading. New form teachers always give you homework like that at the start of the year.
   Who am I?


* cheapest Australian e-store price


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I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

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