Book Review: The Night She Disappeared
Gabie drives a Mini Cooper. She also works part time as a delivery girl at Pete’s Pizza. One night, Kayla—another delivery girl—goes missing. To her horror, Gabie learns that the supposed kidnapper had asked if the girl in the Mini Cooper was working that night. Gabie can’t move beyond the fact that Kayla’s fate was really meant for her, and she becomes obsessed with finding Kayla. She teams up with Drew, who also works at Pete’s. Together, they set out to prove that Kayla isn’t dead—and to find her before she is.
I would first like to extend a “Thank You” to Macmillan Children’s Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to view this bone chilling book! THE NIGHT SHE DISAPPEARED was a dark, disturbing, and morosely realistic read that sent chills down my spine! April Henry tackles some pretty raw topics in this newly released novel. As a mother of five children, it is a horrific reality to have to face because it could honestly happen to anyone. Drugs, suicide, abduction and a fight for your life, The Night She Disappeared will leave you breathlessly hanging on the edge of your seat!
Gabie, Kayla and Drew worked together at Pete’s Pizza. One night, Kayla asks Gabie to switch shifts. While working Gabie’s shift, Kayla runs a delivery from which she never returns, abducted by a man whose original sights were set on Gabie. Drew was the one on the phones that night, heard the abductor’s voice, and who the abductor questioned regarding whether or not Gabie was making the runs that evening. The authorities aren’t the least bit concerned that the perpetrator had originally targeted Gabie. In fact, they are convinced it was someone who knew Kayla. Gabie, on the other hand, is not as confident. Faced with a terror that she could be next, compounded by the grief that it should have been her, Gabie decides to look for Kayla. While everyone, including the authorities, is convinced that Kayla has been murdered, Gabie is certain she is alive and enlists Drew to help her.
I wasn’t sure how to feel about Gabie. Honestly her character confused me. One moment she was portrayed as an all-around good girl from a well-to-do family, and the next she was trying to lose her virginity to a boy she barely knew while getting drunk off her parents hidden stash of Kahlua. She makes some pretty rash decisions based off an overwhelming flood of emotions. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be in her shoes, facing the kinds of guilt and terror from Kayla’s abduction. I truly felt a lot of compassion for her character, but I won’t lie… a good percentage of the time her actions ended up irritating me. In the end, her heroic nature and unwillingness to accept that Kayla was dead won me over.
Drew was the underdog of this story. My heart broke for him in the situation of his home life. I found myself angry with his mother for her selfishness. I wanted to rescue Drew from that life of deprecation and the rejection he must have felt in being put second to an addiction that ruled his mother’s life. I was so pleased to see him overcome by reaching towards a future with college ambitions instead of falling into a dysfunctional cycle that his mother laid out for him. Go Drew!
I loved Kayla’s character! She was strong under pressure and stayed on her toes, thinking through every situation as a means for survival. For what little we got to see of her, her character was well built! I found it easy to connect with her. I was going through all the emotions! My heart raced, and my eyes shedding tears. April’s gift for detail made it easy to imagine what it must have been like in her shoes.
It is a rare pleasure to find the detail of a book so well written that it would seem as though you are looking at a physical picture. Whether it was Pete’s Pizza, Gabie’s home, Drews apartment, Kayla’s cell or the lake, every single detail brought those places to life. So much so, there were times I found myself wanting to grab a sketch pad to capture the image on paper.
This is one of those books that would be easy to finish in one sitting. The suspense alone will keep you turning the pages. It was difficult to find a stopping point. I would suggest that, before picking it up, you find a time when you have nothing to interrupt your reading. I do have to mention however, that I felt the ending was rushed. I wanted as much detail in the ending as I got throughout the rest of the book. Instead, I felt it was rushed to an end right after the story’s climax. I was pleased with the outlook for the kid’s futures, but it was so rushed and under-developed that it didn’t leave me satisfied.
I thoroughly enjoyed April’s writing style. This story was intriguing and the plot was well built, which left me on the edge of my seat, frantically scrolling through the pages. However, due to the nature of the content, I personally would not be comfortable recommending it to anyone younger than eighteen years of age. The content included the mention of drug use (distributing, selling, and addiction), as well as underage drinking. There was mention of theft due to addiction and paranoia as a result to the addiction that lead to suicide. These are very real topics that sadly happen in society; topics I believe every child should be made aware of and taught to avoid. I commend April for having the guts to approach these topics in her book. However, I personally felt it was a bit too much for me to pass on to my own children. I will admit that it did bring some very real concepts to the forefront of my mind for future discussions with my family for awareness sake! There is a real lesson to be learned in this book.
If you have a love for mystery and suspense, I highly recommend this quick, easy read. I would, however, suggest that parents of teens who are interested to first scan the material and judge for themselves whether the teen is mature enough to handle the content. It is a thought-provoking book that will make you want to safeguard your family for any situation!
Posted on March 28, 2012, in Book Review, Four & 1/2 Star and tagged April Henry, Book Review, Contemporary, MMacmillan Children’s Publishing Group, Mystery, The Night She Disappeared, Thriller, YA, Young Adult. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.