Found (The Missing) by Margaret Peterson-Haddix
|Found (The Missing) by Margaret Peterson-Haddix|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Hugely suspenseful time-travel mystery in which two adopted boys try to find their true origins. It buys into popular TV programmes such as Heroes and The 4400. Winning central characters and pacy writing tips it for great popularity.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 304||Date: March 2009|
When an unscheduled aeroplane appears out of nowhere at a Midwestern airport, Angela DuPre rushes to the gate in the hopes of redeeming a fairly disastrous first day at Sky Trails Air. She's out of luck; pandemonium ensues. There are no lights on in the plane and no-one can contact the pilot. Small wonder, because when Angela looks inside, the only people on board are babies. 36 babies.
More than a decade later, Jonah, who's always known that he was adopted, finds out his best friend Chip is too. And when they both receive identical and mysterious notes - You are one of the missing - they decide to go in search of their roots. What they find is chilling - FBI files, ghostly apparitions, people too afraid to talk. And the notes just keep on coming...
Peterson-Haddix knows just how to write a thrilling mystery adventure. She starts with the aeroplane scene, just so that we know everything is very much Not Okay, but then she returns us to the bread-and-butter of a young teen's world - school, sport, annoying little sisters and well-meaning parents who maintain an ever-present possibility of morphing into utter embarrassments. I always cringe a little when parents are depicted like this, but it really is what they think of us, you know.
The tension here builds fairly slowly at first as Peterson-Haddix builds some interesting characters with equally interesting dynamics. Jonah is more at home in his own (adopted) skin than Chip, but that is probably because Chip's parents are more on the horrid side of embarrassing, together with the fact that his adoption has come as a shock. At the outset of the story, Chip is the instigator, but by the end, when the action is gathering pace, it's Jonah who comes through as a leader.
The time travel aspect is dealt with fairly simply but the book raises all its implications - from the paradoxes of the practical to the moral decisions of the ethical. We end with a bit of a cliffhanger (it doesn't matter how many of them children's books throw at me, I'm still going to moan) but there is enough resolution of the initial plot and mystery to satisfy even the least tolerant of its readership.
I've great hopes for this series and am very much looking forward to the next instalment.
My thanks to the nice people at Hodder for sending the book.
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