Written by Sophie Mckenzie
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The Lovereading4Kids comment
This is a gripping thriller, inspired by the real-life case of a toddler who went missing in the early ‘90s. Touching on areas such as difficult relationships with parents, kidnapping and adoption, along with a compelling and high-speed plot, romance, wit and a great deal of suspense, readers of 11+ will find this utterly compulsive. It is also heart-breaking and will have you gripped to the page because the characters are so real.
Joint winner of the 2007 Richard and Judy 12+ "Fluent" category. Winner of 2007 Red House Book Award for Older Readers (chosen by children)
Sophie McKenzie on developing the characters in Girl, Missing and Sister, Missing
Inspired by the case of a real-life missing child, I wrote Girl, Missing in the first two months of 2005. For the next five-and-a-half years I didn’t think there would ever be a sequel. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to write about Lauren and Jam and Madison again. I did! It was simply that I couldn’t imagine another story that would sit well alongside the first book.
And then, one lazy afternoon in the Autumn of 2010, I sat down to watch the Coen Brothers’ movie, Fargo and, inspired by one aspect of the film, the germ of an idea slipped into my head. I made some notes and put them to one side. The next day I came back to the idea and fleshed it out a little. At last I saw how I could come back to the world of Girl, Missing and extend it into another story!
At the start of the first book, Lauren asks herself the question: Who am I? At this point she is very concerned with finding a practical answer to that question. Where does she come from? Who are her birth parents? Who took her away from them? Skip forward two years, to Sister, Missing and Lauren is trying to figure out what kind of person she is. Like many sixteen-year-olds she is pulling away from her parents. In Lauren’s case, she’s struggling to deal with two rather suffocating mothers (birth and adoptive) as well as the death of her birth father and the introduction of a new boyfriend for her birth mum.
I wanted this context for the book, because I think it’s one many people can relate to. Lots of daughters have to cope with controlling mums, absent dads and new step-father figures and this, I hope, gives Lauren’s extraordinary story a basis in a very ordinary life. However the most important relationships in Sister, Missing are between Lauren and her sisters. I don’t have a sister – though I’ve clocked up five stepsisters and three sisters-inlaw over the years – and I’m fascinated by this often complicated and intense family tie.
In Girl, Missing Lauren meets little Madison, whom she adores, and rude, unfriendly Shelby whom she loathes. One of the main reasons I wanted to revisit the world of Girl, Missing was to show how these relationships develop over time. Once Lauren was simply the child who went missing. Now, in Sister, Missing, she finds herself responsible for finding and saving her missing sister. How Lauren responds to this challenge is at the centre of the book, providing the story’s most dramatic moments, and revealing how getting to know her sisters will change Lauren in ways she could never have foreseen.
Girl, Missing by Sophie Mckenzie
Lauren has always known she was adopted but when a little research turns up the possibility that she was snatched from an American family as a baby, suddenly Lauren's life seems like a sham. How can she find her biological parents? And are her adoptive parents really responsible for kidnapping her? She manages to wangle a trip across the Atlantic where she runs away to try and find the truth. But the circumstances of her disappearance are murky and Lauren's kidnappers are still at large and willing to do anything to keep her silent...
About the Author
Interest Age: From 12
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Simon & Schuster Ltd
4th August 2011
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