Judith Tremayne is missing. She hasn’t been online; nobody has heard from her. She simply appears to have vanished . . . until Abbie Knox, a school nobody, receives a message: “I want to come home.”
Suddenly everyone knows Abbie’s name. The mean girls and the misfits alike are obsessed with Jude’s disappearance. Abbie finds herself at the center of a whirlwind of rumors, secrets, and lies.
Why would popular, fun Jude be messaging loner, loser Abbie?
Why would Jude disappear?
Can Abbie bring her home?
For the most part I think this is one of those books kids in middle school and high school really need to read because there are very important themes in the story lines that are so prevalent in their culture today. Younger generations are increasingly dealing with bullying in both reality and on cyber levels, are drawn to the need to become famous and don’t seem to consider the long term consequences of their choices; then again that last one could just be a general condition of the human race.
MacPhail opens the story by dropping you right in the middle of the action thankfully though it doesn’t take long to catch up or understand how these characters are involved with the story as her talented writing answers all the major questions up front. I have to admit at first I was getting pretty bored because the characters seemed bored and completely apathetic that their friend was missing. She definitely captures teenage attitudes correctly which for good or bad was rubbing off on me as the reader. I hung in there and I was glad I did because then some INSANE twists start getting dropped; everything you thought you knew about this story gets upended.
Mixing texts and social media posts with the story added an interesting depth which I felt captured the spirit of the characters involved along with the intended audience. Once I got past the opening and hit the first big “what the hell” moment the story just flew by at this incredibly quick pace. When the story finally began winding down towards its conclusion I never saw this ending coming but as the pieces fell into place it made so much sense and felt like the perfect way to go.
The ONLY complaint I had was one line of narrative where the main character remarks “Over the next couple of days I grew to understand why teenagers commit suicide.” The character was undergoing some severe bullying and this was her feeling in relation to that. Then later the character says she stopped thinking seriously about suicide because she couldn’t die without finding out what a person’s motivation was for a particular action. I don’t want to get too specific and ruin one of the big twists. Something about the attitude towards suicide really bothered me, it felt a little flippant and with suicide such a HUGE issue with teens I felt like this could have been handled better. Granted it’s a teenager talking instead of an adult so you can’t expect a teen to have some profound viewpoint on this. The taboo subject is only quickly mentioned and forgotten in these 2 instances so I felt like it would have been better to say nothing and the author could have deleted these lines or altered how the character was trying to explain their feelings without harming the story.
The subject of suicide has directly affected my family so I admit to being very sensitive to the subject making it my personal viewpoint whereas others may read those parts and have a completely different reaction if any.
Overall I felt it was an intriguing book, perfect for its intended audience and a good one to get some discussions going. I can see this being used in English classes or teen book clubs. It would be a pretty good idea for parents to read it as well so they could talk with their kids about bullying, its consequences, how to handle it and even how to create a better environment at home where kids can feel comfortable and safe to talk to their parents about anything including how their own behavior is impacting their kids.
Thank you to Netgalley and Floris Books for allowing me to review this book.
Buy at Amazon: http://a.co/jkYfMHh
*synopsis and pic from netgalley.com