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{March 11, 2012}   {ARC Review} The Night She Disappeared by April Henry

From Goodreads: Gabie drives a Mini Cooper. She also works part time as a delivery girl at Pete’s Pizza. One night, Kayla—another delivery girl—goes missing. To her horror, Gabie learns that the supposed kidnapper had asked if the girl in the Mini Cooper was working that night. Gabie can’t move beyond the fact that Kayla’s fate was really meant for her, and she becomes obsessed with finding Kayla. She teams up with Drew, who also works at Pete’s. Together, they set out to prove that Kayla isn’t dead—and to find her before she is.

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This is an interesting psychological thriller in which Henry gives the reader access to all the characters thoughts though multiple first person points of view.  This is one of my favorite styles for point of views; first person is amazing as it allows the reader into the characters’ heads on a deeper level than third person (or so I think), and when there are multiple characters involved, jumping from character to character through the chapters helps add suspense while also keeping the reader on their toes, which is another reason why I really like this writing technique. 

Now, as this novel is about an abduction, I just want to put it out there right now that this is a clean read and there are no sexual encounters.  If you’re anything like me, and can’t stand to read novels involving rapes, then rest assured that there isn’t anything like that in this novel.  There is a psycho abductor, though, and his intentions are made known through the multiple perspectives, which is a bit scary, but also really informative, showing the reader exactly what the abductor is thinking, as well as what every other characters’ thoughts are as well. And, while it’s true that there is a little bit of back tracking and honing in on the same incidents, it gives the reader a new perspective, and Henry does a great job really focusing on the psychological aspect of her characters. 

Drew, the main male protagonist, constantly grapples with the knowledge that he was the one who took the phone call from the abductor, placing the abductor’s fake pizza order, and he berates himself repeatedly for not recognizing that the address given to him was bogus.  Had Drew realized it, he believes Kayla never would have been abducted as she went to deliver pizzas.  Imagine trying to live with yourself and this knowledge.  I believe Henry’s depictions of the turmoil that Drew feels is dead on; many people struggle with the “what if” factor and, when something goes terribly wrong, blame themselves, even though it would have happened regardless of who picked up the phone, who was on duty, etc.  It was very interesting watching Drew go through each day under the belief that he was to blame for Kayla’s abduction.

Gabie is the main female protagonist, and she was also a very interesting character.  She was supposed to be taken instead of Kayla, and the knowledge of this eats away at her, even though everyone around her, except Drew, tends to sweep this knowledge under the rug, including the police.  Knowing that a trap was meant for you can really mess with a person’s psyche, and again, Henry does a phenomenal job creating the intense paranoia and struggle that Gabie goes through as she tries to figure out who is out to get her.

Kayla, though a more minor character in the story, was also very interesting and the way she handles herself is amazing.  I don’t think I’d be as strong as her, and I admire her wit and ability to stay rational while trying to get away from a lunatic.  Overall, I can’t even begin to imagine the paranoia, nervousness, and scariness of this situation, and to even think of being in the middle of it is extremely daunting.  Henry has done an amazing job giving the reader the intense feelings that the characters also have, and I liked this aspect of the novel very much.

Yet, while the feelings of the characters are indeed very vivid and real, the plotline of the story, in my opinion, isn’t as realistic, especially when it comes to the police and the last quarter of the novel.  The police investigation seems to have been at a standstill before it even began, and the police weren’t really that involved with Drew or Kayla, telling them they were unhelpful, allowing them to continue working at the pizza shop with no security even though it is common knowledge that Gabie was the girl the abductor wanted, etc.  There are a few other instances towards the end of the novel that also made it seem a little far-fetched, but since it’s the end of the novel, I won’t spoil it for any potential readers.  Overall, I think the characterization was amazing, and the plot was decent, but I’d have liked the plot to be a little bit more believable.  Three stars.

Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on March 13, 2012.



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