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December 13, 2017

Review: Missing by Kelley Armstrong

The only thing Winter Crane likes about Reeve’s End is that soon she’ll leave it. Like her best friend did. Like her sister did. Like most of the teens born in town have done. There’s nothing for them there but abandoned mines and empty futures. They’re better off taking a chance elsewhere.

The only thing Winter will miss is the woods. Her only refuge. At least it was. Until the day she found Lennon left for dead, bleeding in a tree.

But now Lennon is gone too. And he has Winter questioning what she once thought was true. What if nobody left at all? What if they’re all missing?

Missing by Kelley Armstrong
Publication Date:  April 18, 2017
Publisher:  Crown Books for Young Readers

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I couldn’t find a trailer, so here’s a song!

 

 

Ever since my tween days, I’ve always been a huge fan of Kelley Armstrong’s writing, and I’ve never passed up an opportunity to crack open a new novel from her. Obviously, I couldn’t keep my hands from itching toward Missing. The premise reeled me in effortlessly. A story set in a small town with a potential stalker/killer on the loose, lurking in the shadows… it sounded like everything I could have ever wanted and more. Who doesn’t love a good thriller? I sat back and got reading, and in hindsight, I have to say I was surprised with what Missing offered.

                Missing tells the story of Winter, a teenage girl in Reeve’s End who has dreams too big for such a small town. Living with an abusive alcoholic for a father, Winter can’t wait to follow in the footsteps of countless teens who have left Reeve’s End without looking back. Taking solace in a shack in the woods behind the trailer her father calls ‘home’, Winter finds herself drawn outside only to discover a battered and beaten boy named Lennon in the forest.

After nursing him back to consciousness, Winter only just begins to uncover how a stranger like Lennon ended up near Reeve’s End—when suddenly Lennon vanishes. To make the situation all the more stranger, Lennon’s brother Jude appears in Reeve’s End in search of answers. Together, both he and Winter work to learn just what happened to Lennon, no matter how dangerous their search might be.

I will say that the one thing that really stood out to me and that I enjoyed the most about Missing was Winter. With novels that are told in the first person, it isn’t uncommon for the reader to dislike being in the protagonist’s headspace. Some protagonists are bland, or annoying, or a combination of such dry, negative qualities. Winter is quite the opposite. I liked her attitude, I liked her voice, I liked that she felt like a multidimensional character. She’s a complex character whose flaws made her realistic and relatable. For me, she really stole the show.

At first, I was very invested in Missing. I wanted to know how Lennon had ended up in Reeve’s End, and I wanted to know how or why he’d suddenly disappeared. But my investment in the story was short-lived. Maybe my expectations had been too high—but I expected a lot more from the stalker plot. I imagined that any threats sent Winter and Jude’s way by the unknown stalker would add thrills and chills to the story, but it all felt very subdued to me. The stakes didn’t feel very high, and I wasn’t too concerned with any risks the characters took. In my opinion, everything just felt too safe, despite the dangers presented.

The romance subplot in the novel wasn’t something that I was very invested in either. I didn’t care too much for Winter’s potential love interests, and if I’m honest, both Jude and Lennon did nothing for me. I wasn’t eager to see if she might end up with anyone in the novel, or nobody. Maybe it’s just me again, but I felt that there just wasn’t that chemistry between Winter and her love interests. All of the romance was something that I could have done without.

I would recommend Missing to any readers who are fans of Kelley Armstrong and her writing. Any readers who are looking for a novel with a small town setting and secrets that are bound to be unearthed should give it a try too.

 

About Kelley Armstrong

Photo credit: Kathryn Hollinrake

Kelley Armstrong has been telling stories since before she could write. Her earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, hers would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to her teachers' dismay. All efforts to make her produce "normal" stories failed.

Today, she continues to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves, while safely locked away in her basement writing dungeon. She's the author of the NYT-bestselling "Women of the Otherworld" paranormal suspense series and "Darkest Powers" young adult urban fantasy trilogy, as well as the Nadia Stafford crime series. Armstrong lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids and far too many pets.

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