It's very hard to summarize this book without giving anything away. Let's see.... Jonah Skidmore was adopted when he was three months old. Just before his thirteenth birthday, he receives a cryptic message in the mail and he starts questioning the little that he knows about his past.
Very, very bare bones there. After getting hooked by the fantastic prologue, I had a little bit of an idea as to where this might be going. I was right to an extent, but mostly I was hugely surprised by the time the ending rolled around. I woke up, started this as I ate breakfast, kept reading, and finished it in about three hours. Sure, it's an older kids' book and I'm a pretty fast reader, but I could not put this down. The action and discoveries didn't stop and I just kept frantically turning pages to find out more.
Jonah is an engaging character. Not too good, not too bad--just your average seventh-grader. His actions, reactions, and interactions all felt real to me. Even his sister Katherine and his friend Chip are believable and well fleshed-out. I will say that the Skidmore parents felt a little too perfect.
Really, there are only two things keeping this from being a five-star book for me. One, it's science fiction and I'm not really a fan of the genre. Two, by the time I got to the ending, I felt like this was mostly set up for the following book(s). There's nothing wrong with that, and there's nothing really wrong with this book, but I feel like there's room for the sequel to be even better and I just want to leave some wiggle room in my ratings. If I were the author, I would feel cheated, but there you go. Four stars.
Highly recommended as a surprising page-turner for young teenagers and even those older folks who don't allow the age of a protagonist to keep them from enjoying a great story.
Reviewed November 2, 2009
Find author Margaret Peterson Haddix on her website and Facebook.
My review of the second book in the series, Sent.
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Friday Flashback Reviews are a weekly feature here on The Introverted Reader. These are old reviews I wrote on GoodReads. Thanks to Angieville and her Retro Friday Reviews for the inspiration and encouragement!
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