VANISHED by Christina Holt is a teen novel full of youthful angst, surprising turns and interesting paranormal concepts. The main protagonist is a 13-year-old boy. He shares the stage (point of view) with his 15-year-old brother about half-way through, and that brings to the table the siblings’ relationship as well as the mystery underway. Ms. Holt’s bio puts her firmly in Science Fiction, and I suppose the time travel (time transfer, actually) component of VANISHED is within that genre, but I feel she pushed beyond that with VANISHED.
In truth, it reminded me of the old Disney movie “Watcher in the Woods” (a fave I still watch) and Galaxy Quest (the Omega 13 component) . . . a ‘family’ group with a crisis and the black sheep outsider who ends up leading the way. In the spirit of Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time”, and Lemony Snickets’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events”, VANISHED plants its lost souls into a mystery they have to solve to find their way home.
Though labeled Young Adult, I believe this story would appeal to Middle Grade readers as well.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
VANISHED: Ten years ago, Emily Miller went missing when she was only five years old. Everyone in town thought she had either drowned in the lake near her house, or had been kidnapped. Some even whispered that her father, Frank Miller was responsible. No one suspected the old boathouse behind the Miller property, except Emily’s father. Frank Miller knew what had happened to his little girl. He knew the boathouse had her. Ten years later, thirteen-year-old George Morgan wanders into the same boathouse and discovers a magical secret. At first he’s thrilled. He reveals his secret to his fifteen-year-old brother Eddie, thinking it will bring them closer together. After all, George and Eddie used to be best friends, before they moved to town, and before Eddie started hanging out with a bunch of older boys—the same boys who make it their mission to bully George on a daily basis. But, when Eddie tells his friends about the boathouse, everything starts to go wrong. Suddenly the cool, magical secret of the boathouse isn’t a secret anymore, and the mysteries of the past come back to haunt them, putting their lives in great danger.
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