Monday, 4 December 2017

Book Review: Sister, Missing

The stakes were high for this novel, being the second in a trilogy of which there was a seriously successful debut; however being written several years afterward I was curious to see if it could possibly live up to Girl, Missing as I couldn’t put that down until I’d read it. Recently I have been literally absorbing myself in Young Adult fiction and Sister, Missing had the potential to really grip me. Set just two years after the prime novel, as a reader we witness Lauren as a sixteen year old on holiday with her biological family in the UK. The families lives have changed considerably since Sam, the caring, protective father died suddenly and naturally Annie is struggling to handle being a single parent to three young girls who have already dealt with a lot in their lives so far. Lauren and Maddison are closer than ever, often visiting the beach together and despite their age gap, they have a lot in common. 

The writing style is very clever; it tricks the reader into believing that this novel is a copy of the first in the series. The same kidnapper, the same danger signs but this kidnapping is much more sinister, with a far more dangerous ulterior motive. Lauren has definitely matured a lot in two years, she comes across as much less whiny and entitled, however she still has a selfish streak, regularly putting her opinions forward and expecting her family to agree with her 100% of time; at times it’s obvious that she doesn’t believe that another opinion can possibly be correct. Rick, a kind of intruder into the family in the sense that he has become a comfort to Annie, seems to be stepping into the father role, however they family should be suspicious of how controlling and persuasive he can be, there’s something that doesn’t add up with him, but it’s hard to identify why. Sam was a really loveable father figure, particularly to Lauren and Maddison that it seems strange that he could be replaced so quickly. It was a nice surprise to see that Lauren and Jam are still going strong as a couple, Jam is a good source of support for all of the family, not only Lauren; he seems to have a good relationship with Shelby too, the sister who Lauren has a massive dislike for.

At the heart of this novel is the question ‘who is the kidnapper?’ due to the cyclical nature of the plot. However, this time it seems a lot more surreal, due to the twist at the heart of it, although realistically it was interesting to see how Lauren reacted to Maddison be kidnapped, rather than it being her in that position. Lauren doesn’t listen to others enough, that has always been her issue and it definitely made this novel far more complicated then it needed to be; she shits her emotions down a lot more than she did in ‘Girl, Missing’ and so it’s more difficult to decipher what is truly going on because she is less inquisitive than before. Her relationship with Shelby is very strained, which is hardly surprising considering how close they are in age, as well as how Shelby reacted to Lauren’s reappearance in their lives, although in two years it could’ve improved a lot more than it did. All three of the girls are in for a shock with regards to their parentage, which is not only unwelcome but also really unexpected. It added a whole new dimension to the story and was a great way of watching the sisters’ relationship develop.

Overall, this is an enjoyable sequel, but it’s crucial for me that a novel has something to stand out and this one didn’t really do that. I love the concept of a long-suffering family but two kidnappings borders on a bit ridiculous. That said, the way that the relationships between the family were explored was great and very realistically portrayed. I found this novel to be a fast paced but easy read; I literally whizzed through it in one sitting, although that just shows just how much I needed to know what happened to this family. The one thing that made me love this part of the series, was how Shelby and Lauren found each other; their much needed talk about how they both feel was both lovely and heartbreaking and so many emotions were pouring out at that point that it made the death even more poignant. This is a novel that I wish I could give 5 stars, but unfortunately it is a 3 not because I didn’t enjoy it or because I wasn’t invested in the story, but because I felt like there was a lot more to give, more to explore that was left untouched. But it is still an excellent continuation of an incredible family.

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