Monday, August 16, 2010

The Night My Sister Went Missing by Carol Plum-Ucci

Who brings a gun to a party? That’s what the people of Mystic want to know after one teenage girl goes missing. Everyone saw her at the party. Everyone saw the gun. People heard it go off, and they saw her go over the dock into the water. But they didn’t hear her hit the water. Kurt is desperate to find out what happened to his sister, and everyone has conflicting stories. As more people share their version of events with the police, things just get more and more complicated, and soon there are a lot more mysteries floating around than just a missing girl. How do they all fit together? Where did she go? And is she still alive?

Even though the book seems to be about Kurt, who narrates the story, and his sister, the one who disappeared, it’s really more about Stacy, the semi-queen of their social group. Everyone’s story really revolves around Stacy: what they know, what they think they know, what she’s said, how she lied. It was her gun at the party, and everyone claims she’s the one who brought it. And Casey, the missing girl, was dating her ex-boyfriend, who many point to as the father of Stacy’s recent pregnancy. But what does Stacy have to do with this? In the book, Stacy rarely speaks for herself; others speak for her and about her, which would be plenty sad even if the real story didn’t overwhelm that sadness with even greater tragedy in her life. Woven through the story, too, is the idea of how people can outgrow their friends as well as a dash of post-graduation “I’m not ready for the rest of my life!” I think this is a book that would benefit from reading in a single sitting, so that the story can overwhelm the reader in a way that mirrors how the characters feel. It reads very much like a 2 hour TV movie (although there are few red herrings in the story, just confused momentary misdirection) with twists right up until the end.

Find it at IndieBound.

Read it with:

The River by Mary Jane Beaufrand
Party by Tom Leveen
Paper Towns by John Green
Dawn by Kevin Brooks
What Happened to Lani Garver by Carol Plum-Ucci

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