31 January, 2014
Seventeen-year-old Arden Munro has been raised by her older brother, Scott, ever since the death of their parents 10 years earlier. He has been her only family. But now Scott too is dead–or so believe the local police and everyone in Arden’s community. Arden, however, is convinced that Scott has staged his snowmobile accident and purposely disappeared. She will search until she finds him. As Arden obsessively continues her detective hunt, she is forced to examine her feelings of loss and isolation, and to finally realize that these feelings existed long before Scott’s accident. Whether or not her brother reappears, where should Arden turn for the support that usually comes from family? The page-turning mystery leads to a heart-tugging conclusion that is at once hopeful and sad, piercing and satisfying.
From Publishers Weekly
“An edge-of-the-seat adventure. Starred review. Ages 12-up.
From School Library Journal
Grade 7-10. Orphaned at age seven, Arden has been raised by her much older brother, Scott. He has allowed her to become an independent young woman. When Arden is a high school senior, Scott is apparently drowned in a snowmobile accident. The vehicle is recovered from a river, but even after a great deal of searching, no body is found. Arden grieves and suffers terrible nightmares until one day she realizes that something about the facts surrounding Scott’s death is not right. She becomes convinced that he has staged his own death. His girlfriend is pregnant and Arden believes that he has chosen to disappear rather than face the burden of raising yet another child. No one believes her, so Arden embarks on a search for him on her own. As clue after clue dead ends, she becomes discouraged but stubbornly refuses to believe that Scott is dead. The brilliance of this plot is that readers do not find out the truth until Arden does. This fact will keep young people anxiously turning pages, trying to puzzle out what has actually happened. At the same time, they will understand and empathize with Arden, a strong-willed teen who perseveres in spite of huge obstacles. Scott’s character is not developed enough before his disappearance for readers to understand why he might be depressed enough to pull a vanishing act, but this does not detract from the suspense. This is a good mystery that deals also with issues of family, relationships, and responsibility?
From Kirkus Reviews
“A page-turner, with plenty of surprises and characters who make mistakes but learn from them. (Fiction. 12-16)