Missing is the third book by Kelley Armstrong that I've read and it was just as enjoyable as the first two. It's a YA mystery and there are no paranormal elements, just a story about a girl in a small town in Kentucky who gets involved with missing persons. What seems at first like an isolated incident turns into something more, and before long Winter, our protagonist, wonders if the situation she's stumbled into has a larger significance.
Winter has a broken family life, with an alcoholic dad who hits her and a sister who left after a traumatic incident that goes unexplained at first. She's basically waiting to graduate so she can leave town, and in the meantime she tries not to antagonize her dad when he's drunk and hangs out in the forest to get away. The town of Reeve's End is a nowhere town and lots of kids just want to get away, but when Winter stumbles across a guy who's been beat up she realizes that some of those kids might not have left so much as they went missing. The guy, Lennon, seems to know something about what happened to the latest girl to go missing and Winter is beginning to trust him when he goes missing too.
Winter is very independent and spends a lot of time in the woods, she knows how to bow hunt. There's some nice moments when she feels she's being pursued and Armstrong captures that look-behind-you feel really well. Winter is well developed and as the story progresses we learn more about what happened with her sister Cadence. I liked Winter a lot and I grew to like Jude as well. Jude is Lennon's brother, the more responsible one, and he comes looking for Lennon.
Is there a love triangle? Of sorts. I initially thought Lennon was the love interest but when Jude shows up he seems to fill that role, and as I mentioned above I didn't care for Jude at first. By the end though I was firmly in his camp. Jude and Lennon come from a very prominent family and we slowly learn about some issues in their life that have shaped them to be who they are. So the characterizations here are solid, which is something this author doesn't seem to have any problems with, and the feel of the setting is there- the deep woods, an insular town in the middle of nowhere, secrets to be revealed. The only issue I had is the reveal, or the reason behind it all.
I honestly felt like it was a little far- fetched how everything came together, how smoothly some of the pieces fit. It's a fine YA mystery with an engaging protagonist, and she totally won me over with Jude, but it just doesn't quite reach City of the Lost levels for me. Still it's a solid YA read and an entertaining (and at times suspenseful) tale.
What you said about the look-behind-you feel, it's always awesome when authors can actually make you feel the tension in a moment! And the characterization sounds good. The creepy isolated small town can be fun too. Glad you enjoyed it even if it wasn't quite as good for you as her other books :-)ReplyDelete
Yea she definitely captured that feel. I liked the mysteriousness of the woods and the feeling that she always being followed. Not as good as City of the Lost, but still a good read.Delete
I'm seeing so many kelley armstrong books being reviewed suddenly, and so much love for her work. I like what you desribed about how she nailed the atmosphere of it.ReplyDelete
She seems very prolific. And it was pretty atmospheric...Delete
Sounds like a good book and it does sound tense. I want to read this one to see what happens to Winter. Great review Greg!ReplyDelete
It's pretty good! I hope you like it!Delete
Sounds like a decent read. I've been looking forward to this and plan on seeing if my library is getting a copy. I have to admit, I do love the name Winter.ReplyDelete
It's not bad. I liked City of Lost more (there were similarities with the woods and everything) but still pretty good. and I like that name too!Delete
I think my daughter would love this series. She's into forensic science and loves a good mystery.ReplyDelete
I thin it's a good YA read. A nice mystery and a look at a society where kids want to get out due to limited opportunities.Delete
It's frustrating when you get to the end of a thriller/mystery series and the payoff isn't what you hoped. Sounds like a good read but not a great one.ReplyDelete
Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction
Yeah I thought this a bit far- fetched, but still a good YA read. The author does a good job setting the tension though.Delete
Missing isn't Armstrong's first foray into YA, she's had some series before this. I do think people say her YA is a bit weaker than her adult books, though, so that's probably what you noticed. I still want to read but I am warier of her YA books, especially when you say it seemed to end a little conveniently.ReplyDelete
Ah that's good to know. I know she has a lot of books. And I did like City of the Lost a LOT more, it just seemed deeper and more carefully constructed, maybe? Still this is not bad, and she does some good things here, it's just at the end I thought the rationale was kinda weak.Delete
This one sounds interesting, and I've seen several of my friends show interest in it. I've read many of Armstrong's YA books - her Darkest Powers trilogy (ehhhh), her Age of Legends trilogy (SO GOOD), hmm, I might be missing some. I thought her Age of Legends trilogy was so good, comparable to her adult books. I highly recommend the series!ReplyDelete
Great review! Have a fantastic week. =)
Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!
I'm realizing she has written more YA than I realized. And I've heard so many good things. I will definitely check that series out- thanks for the recommendation!Delete
I used to love Armstrong then a lot of her books started sounding very similar to me so I took a break. It's been a few years so I think i safely tread back in and give this series a try.ReplyDelete
For What It's Worth
I hope you like this one if you give it a shot.Delete
I'm dying to read this one. I'm a huge fan of this author so I just know I'm in for a fantastic and suspenseful mystery!ReplyDelete
I think you'll like it. It's got good suspense...Delete
I have this one coming up next and I am looking forward to the mystery but everyone keeps complaining about the unrealistic way it ends. Bummer.ReplyDelete
Yeah the whole reason behind the whole thing seems... implausible. But leading up to that there's lots of tension and chills, a good mystery. It's a good read.Delete
I've seen so many people raving about this author's books that it makes me curious. I might have to check one of them out sometime. Awesome review! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and have a lovely week :DReplyDelete
Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles
I know, me too! That's one of the reasons I first tried her books, actually. I do recommend her, but my first one was City of the Lost and I liked it more.Delete
Hmmm, I think the far fetched nature of the book may bother me as well. I'm not familiar with this author at all though so I might give one of her other books a try since you enjoyed those more. Great review!ReplyDelete
It's mostly at the end, when you realize WHY things are happening and I at least was like, oh really? But that may not bother anyone else. For the bulk of it it's a good, suspenseful YA thriller.Delete
I think I'd enjoy a bad Armstrong book but I'm still glad you enjoyed it despite the convenient ease of everything coming together. I'm going to have to check this one out and I think I'm going to enjoy it more now that I know what to expect. Brilly review!ReplyDelete
Yeah it was good, just not City of the Lost. That was phenomenal. Check it out!Delete
We haven't yet read Kelley Armstrong, but we have her Otherworld series and her Casey Duncan novels on our TBR pile. It sounds as though we're going to need to add this one as well. Even though this wasn't your favorite Armstrong book, we're glad you enjoyed it. It sounds really entertaining, and we'd like to meet Jude and Lennon. Great review, Greg :)ReplyDelete
~Michele & Mckenzie
I've heard so much about her and I know she has some series that are really popular. I am liking her City of the Lost books which I guess are adult but I think they're fine for YA as well. And Jude and Lennon are good characters- I didn't like Jude at first but he grew on me! It's not a bad book!Delete
This book has been on my TBR list. I've been wanting to read this author. I think I read one of her books in the past but I don't remember the title. After reading your review, I'm honestly not so sure I want to give this book a try anymore. But We'll see.ReplyDelete
Anyway, awesome review, Greg. I love that you pointed out what didn't work for you. It helps. :)
Thanks and I hope you get to try (or retry) Armstrong at som point. I thought this was a 3 star read if I was going to rate it- not excellent but not bad. City of the Lost is a great place to start with her!Delete
I am kind of bummed that this was a little far fetched and not as good as some of her other books, I know you've really liked her others! I think I am still willing to give this one a go though- and maybe read it BEFORE the others, so maybe I won't have as high of expectations! Great review, glad it was at least decent!ReplyDelete
Thanks! You know the problem was at the end- when you find out WHY. Up to that point there's missing kids and chills and a lot of tension, so it's fine- I just expected a more plausible (?) reason given that it's not paranormal. But it's good. City of the Lost though is much better.Delete
I've wanted to read Armstrong for the longest time, so I grabbed this ARC thinking I'll finally take the plunge. I ended up setting it aside without even opening it. I feel like I want one of her more outstanding books to be my first, ya know?ReplyDelete
This is one of my favorite authors but parts sound like this is too far into the contemporary part of YA for me.ReplyDelete
I really want this one, I like her books! :)ReplyDelete
Hmm, I think I am going to donate my copy. I love her adult books but don't think this one is for me.ReplyDelete
Bummer that the ending wasn't very realistic/believable, this does still sound pretty interesting. You know I LOVED her City of the Lost books, and I agree, KA can write a creepy, suspenseful atmosphere. Wonderful review, Greg! :)ReplyDelete
Chiming in with Becky, Armstrong has written tons of YA novels actually but they're on the whole not as strong as her adult stuff (although I did like her Darkest Powers/Darkness Rising trilogies). They have a lot of the same hallmarks - similar character types, settings, and stories - but for some reason they never feel as tightly written and well developed to me.ReplyDelete
I'm sure that I'll feel the same way as you about Missing since I love City of the Lost so much, but well...I'm still gonna read it! :D
I just finished this one last week, so I decided to go and read your review of it now! I also enjoyed this one and just like you i thought first that Lennon was the love interest, but when we met Jude I quickly changed my mind as the way he was written made it clear to me he was the love interest instead or maybe I've read too many of Armstrong's books. I really liked Jude, he could be a bit of an ass when Winter first met him tough, but I really liked all the layers to his character.ReplyDelete
This is not her first YA book (she has two YA trilogies and another standalone mystery if I remember correctly), but I do think her adult books are usually a bit better. I still enjoy her YA books a lot as well, but her adult books just seem a bit better consistently.
I agree with you that it seemed a bit too convenient how things got wrapped up and I wouldn't have minded a bit more wrap up at the end. But it was a good mystery for the most part. I did love the romance in this one. Great review!