Missing is an upcoming Young Adult thriller/romance novel by veteran author Kelley Armstrong. Set to release on April 18th, 2017, this book should definitely be on your To Be Read list, because Armstrong certainly delivered on the action, the romance, and the mystery, presenting readers with a highly engaging, breath-taking adventure.(Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Reader Copy of Missing by Kelley Armstrong from Random House Children’s Crown Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review).
“Like Stephen King, who manages an under-the-covers, flashlight-in-face kind of storytelling without sounding ridiculous, Armstrong not only writes interesting page-turners, she has also achieved that unlikely goal, what all writers strive for: a genre of her own.” —The Walrus
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? (Chapters. Indigo.ca)
As I said, Missing was truly fantastic. In the past, I have loved Armstrong’s work, but was left somewhat disappointed by The Age of Legends trilogy, her most recent YA Fantasy series. So I began Missing somewhat hesistant, but it quickly became clear that Armstrong had found her niche, because Missing is an outstanding piece of work that is sure to impress, even if you’re not normally a fan of the genre.
What I Liked:
- The complexity of the mystery, and its continuity throughout the novel, was highly rewarding. I often find with Young Adult thrillers that the mystery is too simplistic (and thus quickly becomes boring) or too complex (and thus quickly becomes too confusing and convoluted). There was no simple solution for Winter, Lennon and Jude’s situation, nor was there a simple answer for where the missing teens had gone. Everything was twisted together in a complex, but understandable way, which made sense at the end (at the reveal).
- The romance. At first, I thought I was in store for a “love at first sight”, “damsel in distress” romance situation, but Armstrong quickly dumped that presumption on its head. Nor was this a true love triangle (thankfully). Instead, it was a genuine coming of age story, through adventure, danger, and the questioning of one’s morals. There’s also no immediately falling head over heels for the attractive male protagonist – instead the romance is a more believable, slow burn, wherein the two involved characters slowly, but surely, drift together.
- Jude’s character. I can’t say too much here for fear of spoiling something, but he was, without a doubt, my favourite character in Missing – he was motivated, he was protective, and he was complex – making his character utterly human and completely believable.
What I Disliked:
- I’ll be honest here – Winter’s name bugged me. I understand that it was supposed to be a funny cliche, but it just rubbed me the wrong way. It’s a small thing, but when the main protagonist’s name is too jarring, it can off-put the story just a bit.
- The reveal at the end also felt a bit rushed – as these things sometimes do – and I think I would have enjoyed a bit more of a drawn out solution, after committing to the mystery for so long.
Overall, Missing was a highly enjoyable, entertaining mix of thrills and romance. The characters were utterly human and completely believable, and they’re struggles as they seek to uncover what is going on in Reeve’s End are engaging because of who they are, as characters. The mystery, and the ominous villain, make for a thrilling read that will leave reader’s on the edge of their seat – or at very least cursing under their breath! (4.5/5)