June 7, 2016
I've been eagerly waiting for this book to come out for a couple months - the cover is so creepy, and the synopsis drew me in even more. The story begins with the five teenagers being released and covers the two weeks immediately following their return as they try to adjust to their "new" lives while trying to remember what happened to them.
Six were taken. Eleven years later, five come back--with no idea of where they've been.
Eleven years ago, six kindergarteners went missing without a trace. After all that time, the people left behind moved on, or tried to.
Until today. Today five of those kids return. They're sixteen, and they are . . . fine. Scarlett comes home and finds a mom she barely recognizes, and doesn't really recognize the person she's supposed to be, either. But she thinks she remembers Lucas. Lucas remembers Scarlett, too, except they're entirely unable to recall where they've been or what happened to them. Neither of them remember the sixth victim, Max. He doesn't come back. Everyone wants answers. Most of all Max's sister Avery, who needs to find her brother--dead or alive--and isn't buying this whole memory-loss story. - from Goodreads
The book is told from the points of view of three characters - Lucas and Scarlett, both kidnapping victims, and Avery, the sister of another boy who was taken. I liked seeing both sides of the story, those taken and those left behind. Scarlett's chapters often feature interesting formatting, like words printed in the shape of a circle, which reinforces how confused she was after returning.
Lucas and Scarlett desperately want to know why they were taken, where they've been for the past 11 years, and why they were released. They realize they have some random partial memories and skills they acquired growing up, and they use these, plus clues they believe they left for themselves, to conduct their own investigation. The book moved along so quickly that I had to keep reminding myself to slow down and really take it all in. When the true reason behind the kidnapping was finally revealed, I was surprised, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. I felt the explanation was actually kind of plausible, considering the world we live in, and it made sense.
The writing and the book sometimes seemed simplistic at times, and I could have done without the love triangle between Scarlett, Lucas, and Avery. Avery often times seemed both obsessed and childish - not my favorite character. However, I thought the book was engaging and suspenseful and also displayed some really interesting family dynamics.
4 stars - Gripping read. For those who love a good mystery!