This week the final part of author Sophie McKenzie’s hard hitting ‘Missing‘ trilogy for teens is published. Missing Me completes the story started in Girl, Missing, and continued in Sister, Missing.
The books follow the story of Lauren, who is adopted and has always known that. In Girl, Missing, Lauren is fourteen. One day she finds a picture on the internet of a missing American child that was believed to have been kidnapped years ago, and looks like her! When her adoptive family goes on holiday in the US, she takes the opportunity to run off in search of her birth parents with her boyfriend Jam, and there is the question of how her adoptive parents got Lauren to consider too…
I won’t say more about the plots of the novels here, except to say that the thrills and revelations about Lauren and her families continue. I’ve read all three, and it’s probably best for new readers to start at the beginning. The books have a great combination of being thrillers, but also novels about growing up and finding one’s identity; they have a lot to say about modern families.
Personally, reading them as an adult and Mum, at times I found Lauren rather irritating and self-centred, which while understandable given her situation, does get her into trouble! Her boyfriend Jam meanwhile is too good to be true; however Madison who takes the leading role in the third book is great fun – I probably enjoyed Missing Me most out of the three.
The language and romantic content are broadly suitable for 11+, but some of the topics like IVF (bk1), sperm donation (bk 3), and actually having a baby, although with very little gory detail (bk 3) may need some adult discussion. Additionally being thrillers, there is some violence and kidnappings, although people die off the page, so to speak.
The plots are full of twists and enough coincidences to keep younger readers guessing all the way through, and are neatly tied up. I can see why they are so successful – all three books are terrific page-turning adventures that move at a cracking pace.
Girl, Missing was Sophie’s debut novel published in 2006, and it went on to win many prizes. She has since had another fifteen or so novels published, falling into several series – from the futuristic thrillers of the Medusa Project to teen romances.
My daughter and her friends are all fans of Sophie’s books, and as part of her blog tour to promote the new one, we got to ask Sophie a few questions, (which got me huge kudos with the girls by the way!)…
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Katie: I’ve always wondered about Lauren in the Missing books – is she based on a real-life person?
Sophie: No, she isn’t. However her situation – wondering if she was stolen away from her birth family as a toddler – was inspired by an actual missing children’s website. I was looking at one boy on the site who disappeared aged two and who, if he were still alive, would now be fourteen and I wondered what he would do if he came across the same website and wondered if this particular missing child was him.
Juliet: What books are you planning next, especially for younger teens?
Sophie: Missing Me will be the last book in the Missing series. At the moment I’m working on a romance series which began with Falling Fast and continues with Burning Bright, published Jan 13. There will also be a new thriller coming out in the autumn of 2013.
Me: Can you give some tips for young writers on where to get inspiration from and how to get started writing.
Sophie: Inspiration can come from anywhere and everywhere. It’s always handy to carry a notebook so you can record any ideas that occur to you. If you want to write, my best advice is to read as much and as widely as possible. When you find a book you really like, containing the sort of story you’d like to write yourself, then read it again, trying to work out what the author did that made it so compelling.
Thank you very much Sophie for answering our questions. The girls are loving the Missing books, and are looking forward to getting stuck into the romance ones later.
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AND FINALLY … Simon & Schuster are kindly offering two copies of Missing Me as a giveaway to readers in the UK. If you’d like to be in with a chance to win, just leave a comment below by Friday teatime, (my daughter’s friends can email, but for everyone else entries are by comment only). We will make the draw at the weekend. Good luck!
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I bought the first two (for my daughter), and the publisher kindly sent the third – Thank you.
To explore further on Amazon UK, please click below:
Girl, Missing; Sister, Missing - pbks
Missing Me - pub Sept 13. Simon & Schuster childrens books. Hardback, 304 pages.