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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Review: The Night She Disappeared by April Henry

Gripping YA Crime Thriller - Recommended!

This novel absolutely had me from the first page to the very end. If sharply written and keenly observed YA thrillers appeal to you at all, you should read this. Presented using a range of different viewpoints and even different text types, this novel keeps you guessing right to the last sentence.

I really enjoyed the writing style. Featuring chapters in different voices (helpfully headed with the character name to avoid confusion) and occasional different texts interspersed between chapters - newspaper clips, police transcripts, notes and even a fortune cookie fortune - the novel circles around the fact of Kayla's abduction, tantalising and teasing us.

The book tells the story of the effects of a teenage girl's abduction on her colleagues and friends from Pete's Pizza. After she fails to return from a delivery, her colleague Drew reports her missing and the hunt begins.
Drew is a great character and I enjoyed seeing his development through the novel. He was the one who took the abductor's order - naturally assuming it was a normal order - and is wracked with guilt trying to remember useful details to help the police. At the same time, his colleague Gabie is also tortured by the knowledge that the abductor asked for her - the girl in the Mini - on a night she'd switched shifts with Kayla.

The multiple narration is a clear strength of the book, allowing us to see the effects of the crime on a range of characters, and to be constantly shifted around. Reading this novel is a bit like peering into the story through different doors and windows, catching various angles of the action. Drew and Gabie's voices are the dominant ones, but we do also get chapters from the abductor's viewpoint and from Kayla's as well as the other texts, providing plenty of variety in terms of voice.

All in all, I'd say that this is a very successful thriller and would absolutely recommend it. My resident teen has made off with my copy pretty sharpish - usually a good sign.

From the back cover

Gabie delivers pizzas part-time.

She also drives a Mini Cooper.

One night, Kayla, another delivery girl at Pete's Pizza, goes out with an order and never comes back. Gabie learns that the man who called in the fake pizza order had asked for the girl in the Mini Cooper.

Was Kayla's fate really meant for Gabie?

Published in April 2013 by Walker Books
For more info, visit the publisher's site
My grateful thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy

1 comment:

  1. Sounds great! I'll have to add this one to my TBR pile :)


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