Posts Tagged 'kidnap'

Zero Day by Jan Gangsei

Genre: Mystery/realistic fiction

# of Pages:  359

2018-19 Iowa High School Award Winner

Addie Webster was kidnapped from her home when she was 8 and there has been no trace of her ever since.  Then, after her father becomes president of the U.S. she mysteriously shows up again and claims to have escaped from her terrible captors.  The head of the NSA finds her story troublesome and enlists her former best friend, Darrow, to keep an eye on her and see if she does anything unusual.  Darrow is offended at first, but unfortunately has some deeds in his past he would prefer did not become public and agrees to keep an eye on Addie.  He is surprised to find that she does exhibit some unusual behavior, such as being able to hack and take down a video posted by a bully in a threatening manner.  He’s happy she did it of course, but where did she get such computer skills if she was raised in a compound with no connections to the modern world? What is she up to and how far will she go to get what she wants?  Most importantly, is any part of her still the Addie he remembers playing board games with as children?

This book is fun, surprising, and fast paced.  Readers will enjoy the unusual set up, but will most likely see through some of the lies that take Addie awhile to figure out.  It is set up to continue and I’m sure that readers will want more after the exciting ending and subsequent cliffhanger.  Many of the characters are not fully developed, but as the series continues I’m sure they will develop further.  This would be a popular title to share with reluctant readers, not because of its length, but because of its ability to grab the reader from the very beginning and keep him or her guessing until the very end.

 

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The Masked Truth by Kelley Armstrong

masked truth

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Mystery

# of Pages:  340

RAC:  Yes

Riley witnessed the couple she was babysitting for get murdered and has never been the same since.  She blames herself for not doing more to help them.  She has tried multiple counselors and the latest one has suggested she come to a weekend-long retreat with other troubled teens.  They are not there very long, however, when masked men come in and declare they are holding them hostage until a wealthy teen’s dad pays a hefty ransom for them.  Things begin to go wrong almost immediately and it quickly becomes obvious that they may not leave alive. Riley is now getting her chance to see if she were in a life threatening situation again if she would run or stand and fight.

Fans of mystery thrillers will enjoy this title because it is a lot more than it first appears.  The beginning even lags a bit as they struggle to find a way to defeat their kidnappers, but then things take a turn when everything Riley thought was happening is completely turned on its head.  For the most part any inconsistencies in the motivations of the characters are explained away and the resolution is exciting and captivating.  Fans of mystery books and shows should check out this title.

Dust Lands: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

dust lands

Genre:  Adventure/Futuristic/Survival

# of Pages:  459

RAC:  Yes

Saba lives with her twin brother, father, and little sister in the middle of a desserted, dry place.  Lugh, her twin, begins to worry about their survival with the lake drying up and their overall lack of food.  Her father has never been the same since Saba’s mother died giving birth to her sister, Emmi.  Unexpectedly one day, four men in long robes riding horses kidnap Lugh and kill her father who tries to stop them.  Saba and Emmi then begin a long journey to try and find Lugh, but before they get far they are captured and Saba is forced to cage fight daily for her life in a brutal coliseum type entertainment venue where people come to watch young girls die.  While incarcerated, Saba begins to make a few friends and learns a few things about Lugh’s whereabouts, but the more she hears the worse it sounds.  How will she get free so that she no longer has to fight for her life for other’s entertainment?  Will she ever be able to find and rescue her brother and sister?  Can she trust anyone she meets?

This futuristic survival tale will be riveting for anyone who loved The Hunger Games, Divergent, or The Maze Runner.  It’s very raw and gritty and leaves the reader truly pulling for Saba who has an unbelievable amount of obstacles in front of her.  Everything that happens to Saba and her friends is brutal, but very realistic and believable unlike some of the other futuristic series out there.  Saba is a flawed and interesting character that makes you wonder what will ultimately happen to her, but the characters around her are also flawed and somehow they all work together to bring forth the best version of themselves.   Recommended

Running For My Life by Lopez Lomong

running for my life

Genre:  Biography

# of Pages:  229

RAC:   Yes

This is the true story of Lopez Lomong and how he was kidnapped from church as a six-year-old and taken to be a child soldier.  He later escaped and was taken to a refugee camp where he lived for ten years.  When he was finally taken to the United States, it was through a program in which a number of “lost boys” were brought to the U.S.  He was taken in by a loving family who introduced him to the modern conveniences of life such as light switches and beds.  Ever since watching Michael Johnson race in the Olympics Lopez has hoped to achieve this goal someday.  Will he have what it takes to make his dream come true?  Will he be able to adjust to life in the U.S.?

This powerful story truly captures the plight of these “lost boys” from Sudan.  Many were forced to be child soldiers and were treated terribly in the process.  Even the ones like Lopez who managed to escape had difficult lives and very little education.  Lopez outlines how family, support, education, and faith helped him to become the man he is today and now he’s dedicated his life to helping others out of the same situation.  Recommended for reluctant readers and runners.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Genre:  Science Fiction

# of Pages:  355

RAC:  Yes

In this futuristic society abortion is illegal, but children can be “unwound” between the ages of 12 an 18.  This means that the child’s body is used as spare parts for other people in need of transplants.  It is believed the child will live on through these other people, but the process of unwinding is vague and not discussed until the end.  Connor is sentenced to be an unwind by his parents, but he finds out and runs away before the unwind police can come get him.  Risa was born an orphan and has been raised by the state.  She has practiced classical piano, but is not the best one in the state home and is subsequently sentenced be unwound.  Lev is a tithe, which means his family’s religion believes that a child should be sacrificed for the greater good.  All three of these teens end up on the run and must fight to save their lives and prove they are worthy of living.

This is an interesting and thought provoking story that will inevitably bring up issues about abortion and dying.  The characters are likable and easy to identify with, even in these terrible circumstances.  The book moves along at a nice pace and the journey of the teens twists a bit which makes it unpredictable and exciting.  There is a lot of action and some gore as these three try to save their lives.  Fans of The Hunger Games and Girl in the Arena will enjoy this title.

Girl, Stolen by April Henry

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  213

RAC Book:  Yes

Cheyenne is a sixteen-year-old girl who has pneumonia.  When her stepmom runs into the pharmacy to get Cheyenne’s prescription a teenage boy jumps in the car and steals it, without knowing that Cheyenne is lying in the back seat.  Once he discovers her he also learns that she is blind.  Unsure of how to handle this situation, he goes home hoping his father can help.  Unfortunately, his father merely sees this as an opportunity to collect a ransom.  As the ransom plan moves forward Cheyenne starts to fear they have no intention of keeping her alive.  Can she manage to escape a place she has never seen before using her four remaining senses?

The fact that Cheyenne is blind lends a unique twist to a fairly common storyline.  She is a complex and interesting character that the reader naturally roots for.  Griffin, the boy who inadvertently kidnaps her, is struggling with a terrible home life and the apparent abandonment by his mother.  The two together grow quite a bit throughout the ordeal and end up finding courage they never thought they had.  Fans of Carolin B. Cooney’s novels will enjoy this one as well.

Wish You Were Dead by Todd Strasser

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Suspense

# of Pages:  236 p.

RAC Book: Yes

Madison lives in a wealthy, safe neighborhood where no one ever thinks anything bad could possibly happen.  When an anonymous blogger writes that she wishes one of the popular girls, Lucy, would die she disappears.  As the community frantically tries to find out what happened to Lucy, Madison must deal with her guilt over being the last one to see her.  When the blogger then starts singling out others and more disappear, the entire community begins to panic instilling curfews and chaperones on all the teenagers.  Meanwhile, Madison is receiving mysterious notes and she often feels like she is being followed.  Could she be the next victim?  Will she be able to figure this out before it is too late?

This story touches on the issue of bullying and how even minor comments and actions can have lingering effects.  The suspense and mystery will keep even reluctant readers interested, while at the same time providing several good topics for discussion in small groups.  How involved should parents and teachers be with bullying?  How should bullies be punished?  Should the victims take any responsibility?  What could you do if you see a student getting bullied?


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