Saturday, 20 January 2018

Book Review: Missing Me

After reading the first two novels in the trilogy, I couldn’t not read the final instalment; I like to finish whatever I begin. The Purditt family has ridiculous levels of bad luck, as we (as readers) saw in the first two novels, too. The first thing to notice about Missing Me is that the narration is told from Maddison’s perspective, not Lauren’s, which for me was a welcome change as it mixed it up a little, particularly as she’s now fourteen years old and in the other books she’s under ten. Also, unlike the other books in the series, this one is purely based in the UK as all of the family have chosen to stay in London. This family never seems to live without drama, which although unsurprising, it felt a little annoying as I wanted something a little less dramatic to start off the book. Lauren reveals to the family that she is pregnant, which shocked me as I never would’ve predicted that of all things, but then I had to remember she’s in her twenties as Maddison is a teenager. Mo is really unimpressed, in fact she’s insanely jealous as she feels like their close bond will change.

Mo then finds out about her biological father being a sperm donor and so she’s determined to find him; like Lauren, she has an inquisitive mind so it doesn’t take her long to track him down through social media. On the surface he seems nice, keen to have a good relationship with her and has an amazing job but realistically you do wonder if he is all that he seems. In fairness, Maddison’s dad died when she was young, so it seems like she’s attempting to fill the void that he left, which is understandable, she’s had a difficult life so far. However, the issue is that he ends up involving Maddison in a dodgy situation although she does make some friends along the way, ultimately Lauren ends up being kidnapped. Naturally, all jealousy of the baby is forgotten and Maddison desperately attempts to find her with the help of a new friend, although it’s hard to tell if he can be trusted (much like her biological father, come to that). All in all, the situation is a huge mess. In all honestly, this book is a little too dramatic at times, as nobody can be trusted and there are lots of secrets hanging in the air.

It’s even clearer through seeing the world from Maddison’s point of view this time that she truly idolises her sister to the point that she’s constantly finding ways to live up to Lauren’s bravery in the previous two books. At times, Maddison is extremely selfish; in fact, her and Lauren are very similar in terms of personality. They’re both driven, determined, loyal to her family and fearless in the face of immense danger. One of the reasons that I loved this series so much was the way that Sophie McKenzie inserts dramatic events that keep the novel super fast paced yet easy to read; the plot flows well but at times all of the events lead into one another seems a little too convenient, unfortunately. However, this series is never short of action, with the sister often in the thick of it; but this time, there’s a baby to think about, which raises the stakes even higher. Maddison is a good character, but as the narrator she often came across as selfish, whiny and immature; there was so much teenage angst in her mind with her irrational hatred of her mother and her inability to be happy for her sisters baby joy. Plus, she has a tendency to throw herself into danger without thinking of the consequences.

Overall, I did enjoy this book but it was definitely my least favourite of the series. I know that sounds harsh, but I think that changing the narrator was a brave decision and although it worked to an extent (as the two sisters’ personalities are very different) it was hard to gel to Maddison as much as she is actually quite selfish, but her determination to protect her family was lovely to read, in fairness. However, McKenzie’s idea of a ‘villain’ for this novel was so easy to hate, it was a pleasure to get to the bottom of the mystery as the level of suspense never relented. Yes, it is a series so it’s not surprising that the plot layout is very similar to the first two novels in the series, but in all honesty I would’ve loved to see something completely different. I feel like this family have had enough danger, death and kidnapping for a lifetime. That said, I still rate this 4 stars as I do love a bit of suspense and I liked that she tried using a different character to narrate the story as that did mix it up a little. If you’ve read the other books in the series you’ll either love this or hate this; I’m closer to love than hate, but I still feel like there was something missing to make it outstanding for me.

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