VANISHED by Christina Holt (Lachesis Publishing)
Reviewed by J.D. Spikes
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:
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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