29 March 2011
13. Girl, Missing by Sophie McKenzie
The story follows 14 year old Lauren Matthews who was adopted when she was three. A school essay assignment entitled Who Am I? prompts her to start thinking about who she really is and her curiosity prompts her to browse a missing children website. She is unnerved to find a listing for Martha Lauren Purditt who went missing in America two months before Lauren was adopted with a photo that could be her. This starts the beginning of an adventure across America of Lauren searching for her birth parents.
The story moves incredibly fast, we don't have chapters and chapters of background and introductions, the action starts right at the beginning of the novel and we are already in American within the first few chapters. This is great for younger readers as the story is constantly moving forward and exciting. The novel covers sneaking onto flights, kidnapping, breaking and entering, dramatic boat journeys, corrupt adoption agents as well as a bit of romance as it turns out that Lauren's adoption wasn't quite as legitimate as she assumed and her parents know things they aren't telling her.
I would highly recommend Girl, Missing for the young adult audience and my borrowing figures for it show how popular it actually is. It probably would appeal more to girls although there is a strong male secondary character in Jam, Lauren's best friend who is constantly supporting her and also showing her how to be more selfless. It races along and is an exciting read but McKenzie manages to include some important ideas to think about as well.