Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Missing Girl

The Missing Girl
Norma Fox Mazer

There are five Herber girls – Beauty, Mim, Stevie, Fancy, and Autumn. They range in age from 11 to 17. Each has very different personalities from the other, but each has distinct weaknesses. And they are all being watched.

The girls are poor – their father has been in an accident and has not recovered. In many was, they are surviving on their own, even though their parents are in the house. But the parents have made a wrenching decision. They are going to “lend” their middle child, Stevie, to an aunt. Stevie can help the aunt at her house, and in return the aunt will feed and clothe Stevie. The girls are most unhappy about this decision but are helpless to do anything about it, until the unthinkable occurs.

Woven throughout the story are sections of the girls being watched. It is quite obvious from the beginning that he wants one of the girls for evil purposes. When the opportunity finally comes for him to take one, he seizes it. From here the story becomes that of a family struggling with the loss of a child, and the child, desperately trying to get home.

I had been quite eager to read this book. In many ways it didn’t disappoint. Mazer’s depiction of the kidnapper is truly creepy. I never, however, felt as much connection to the girls as I wanted – they just felt distant to me.

One other point – School Library Journal recommended this book for grades 7 – up. I cannot agree. To me this is a high school book, and that’s where I’ll send my copy of it.

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