Monday, 17 September 2012

Missing Me by Sophie McKenzie (Children's, 11 years +, 10/10), Guest Post & competition (NOW CLOSED)

 A gorgeous cover for a brilliant book. *happy sigh*

13th September 2012, Simon and Schuster
304 pages, Hardback
Review copy

Themes: huge family secrets & surprises, family discord & harmony, sisterhood, wanting to fit in, hating being kept in the dark, mysteries to solve, extreme bravery, childbirth, complete terror, pushing people away, lies, truly dangerous enemies, lots of heart stopping moments, a bit of violence, tissues definitely needed

Summary from Simon & Schuster
Six years have passed since the end of Sister, Missing and Madison is now a teenager. During a visit to older sister Lauren, she learns that their biological father was an anonymous sperm donor and sets out to track him down. Her search bears fruit sooner than she expects, but is the father she discovers all he seems? As Madison gets drawn into a mysterious investigation involving missing girls and secret hideaways, she finds herself in more and more danger…

Nayuleska's thoughts
This is such a squeesome end to the trilogy. I actually love it more from the previous two books because Madison isn't Lauren, who can be a bit inconsiderate. Getting into Madison's mind shed a different angle on Lauren's past. It's Madison who now shapes Lauren's future. What pulls them apart will smush them together.

It was a fast paced, emotionally charged read which I've come to expect from Sophie. Somehow the stakes were higher than ever, and I confess to looking several times at the front cover ^o^. I want to read this all over again. Madison has been through more than Lauren, yet she is a fighter and keeps going, bolstered on by love and friendship in this 10/10 read.

You can find out more on Sophie's website.

Suggested read
(old edition cover - I read it, but didn't review it)

You must read the other two books Girl, Missing and Sister, Missing.

Sophie has very kindly written a guest post on the central theme of this series - identity. 

Writing about identity in the Missing stories

I love stories. I always have. They’re why I read… they’re why I write. And within those stories there are some themes I keep coming back to over and over again. One of these is central to the Missing series: identity – and the impact our sense of ourselves has on our relationships with other people.

In Girl, Missing Lauren attempts to unearth the sinister facts of her past before she was adopted as a small child. It is crucial to her, aged 14, to understand where she comes from. As she explains at the start of Girl, Missing: ‘How can anyone work out  who they are unless they know where they’ve come from?’. Lauren’s search for the simple truth about her past leads her to discover her birth family but they are not the people she has imagined and Lauren has to adjust her expectations as she realises the fantasy birth parents of her dreams bear no relation to the flesh and blood people she encounters in real life.

Whereas in that first book Lauren is the missing child, in Sister, Missing Lauren has to step up and take responsibility for finding a missing child: her little sister Madison. But Sister, Missing is also about the relationship between sisters. Lauren feels protective towards Madison who adores her back. But with Shelby, the middle sister, there is discord and misunderstanding. One of the elements of Sister, Missing I most wanted to write was to show how Lauren gets Shelby wrong, only coming to understand who her sister really is right at the end.

In Missing Me, Madison is the focus of some new identity issues. Firstly, she has to discover – and impress – her biological father. But she also has to work out who she is as she emerges from the huge shadows cast by both determined, resourceful Lauren and her mother, Annie, who is over-protective and neurotic.

I think identity is a common theme among YA stories and possibly one of the reasons why the Missing series has touched a chord among many teen and pre-teen readers. Adolescence is usually when people start questioning who they are and how they’re going to take their place in the adult world. Thrillers provide a great setting for this to happen. Challenges and conflicts around identity make for exciting reading. In all three Missing books, the main characters journey into terrible danger… as well as to new levels of self-awareness.

I like to write about ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances. This means that, however outrageous and terrifying the plot becomes, the thoughts, feelings and actions of the characters must feel real.

One of the ways in which I try to make this happen is by writing about the romantic relationships of the main characters as well as the family drama and the action and adventure. In Missing Me, Madison not only works out who she is by operating independently from the rest of her family and facing her worst fears, she also finds herself drawn to a boy, Wolf, for the first time.

Books that feature both action and romantic relationships are where I belong, as a reader and as a writer! Every time I write a book, I try to bring these two elements together – and to write the next story better than I did it the one before. Missing Me is an attempt to do all of that, through a specific focus on identity: who we are, defined by what we do and the choices we make as we learn and grow.

Thank you Sophie! You do a fine job of working action & romantic relationships together. Madison, Shelby and Lauren are characters I'll always remember. 

Simon and Schuster are giving not one but two copies of the book away! 
Winners will be announced soon.

The prize: two people will win one copy of Missing, Me

The rules:  one entry per person, the winner will be chosen by a random number generator, please make sure you read my protection policy regarding the age of those entering.


Catherine@thebookparade said...

I loved Girl Missing and Sister Missing so I'm really excited that there's going to be a third book in the series! :)

Nayuleska said...

It's more awesome than the first two - enjoy!