The night that Kayla goes missing after a pizza delivery run, Drew thinks about the fact that the last caller had asked for the girl who drove the Mini Cooper. That’s Gabie, who took the night off work. The two of them are horrified about the fact that the kidnapper took their coworker, and they’re worried about the fact that he asked for a different girl. The police won’t listen to their theories, so the two strike out on their own to try to find Kayla before it’s too late.
Much like Henry’s Girl, Stolen (another book about kidnapping), this is a quick read designed, I think, for reluctant readers. Likely to find an audience looking for mystery/suspense titles (of which there are woefully few in the YA world), this book isn’t particularly offensive, but it’s not particularly inventive, either. Fluffy fiction masquerading as a story with an edge, this is a good choice for summer readers who don’t really want to read.
There’s nothing inherently wrong here, and Henry has actually grown a bit as a writer as far as her prose is concerned, but there’s also no suspense. This has to do with the fact that Henry offers multiple points-of-view throughout the book, so readers hear from Gabie, Drew, Kayla, and her captor. Because readers get Kayla’s point of view, they know she’s alive and relatively unharmed. This takes away any uncertainty about what has happened to her and kills much of the book’s momentum.
That being said, Henry’s choice to use a collage-type approach to the narrative works in its favor. There are images and police reports interspersed in the narrative, and these things help add dimension to what is otherwise a pretty flat story. There’s also some mild adventure, a bit of gore, and just a hint of romance. All of this feels fairly calculated, but most teens probably won’t pick up on it.
Mildly entertaining but also pretty forgettable.
The Night She Disappeared by April Henry. Henry Holt & Company: 2012. Electronic galley accepted for review via NetGalley.