Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Review of The Night She Disappeared

The Night She Disappeared by April Henry.  Henry Holt, 2012.

Drew, Gabie, and Kayla work at Pete’s Pizza, and most nights Gabie delivers pizzas.  Out of the blue, Kayla asked Gabie to change shifts with her so she could be free on Friday night. So on Wednesday, Kayla was making pizza deliveries instead of Gabie.  She went out to deliver three pizzas and never returned.

Gabie is both horrified and frightened when Drew tells her that the guy who phoned the order in asked for the girl driving the Mini-Cooper.  Gabie is the only one working at Pete’s who drives a Mini-Cooper!  The guy on the phone, who now has Kayla, really wanted Gabie!

As the days drag on, everyone, including the police and a psychic, think Kayla is dead.  But Gabie and Drew aren’t so sure.  It’s a race against time to try to find clues to Kayla’s disappearance.  Could the kidnapper take Gabie next?

This book grabbed me from the first paragraph!  It is chilling page-turner and also a quick read!  The majority of the story is told chromatically in days beginning with the day the  kidnapping takes place, in alternating voices of the characters—Drew, Gabie, Kayla, “John Robertson” (the kidnapper),  plus others.  Pieces of evidence, including the kidnapper’s pizza order, the 9-1-1 transcript of the kidnapping, Kayla’s fortune cookie slip, an interview with a suspect, the transcript of a radio show, and more are included in the book.

I think one of the reasons the book works is that, like April Henry’s previous book, Girl Stolen, the author has told a tale that could actually happen in real life!  The reader gets to see inside the minds of all the people involved in the story.  Drew is a great guy; although he comes from a bad home-life, he is tough and has both true survival skills and a good heart.  Gabie is very persistent, and I got the impression that she might have some ESP capabilities in her; she never gives up on Kayla and insists she is still living.  Kayla’s parents are desperately grasping at straws, even going so far as to bring in a psychic to help find their daughter.  While Kayla’s parents truly believe what the psychic tells them, Gabie is convinced that she is really a charlatan!
The cover art is terrific!  It really picks up the theme and mood of the book!  If you like fast-paced, action-packed mysteries, this book is for you!  I highly recommend it for middle school, high school, and public libraries.

The copy of The Night She Disappeared reviewed was obtained from the publisher at ALA Midwinter.