Written by: Margaret Peterson Haddix
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
I finished Found today, the first book in The Missing series written by Margaret Peterson Haddix. It was quite a fast read, and one that pulled you in and held your interest the entire way through. It is a science fiction book that is revolving around time traveling, with a unique storyline that is actually pretty creative. The entire book follows three children, a Jonah and Kathrine (brother and sister) and their neighbor, Chip. The three of them together are trying to unravel a big mystery that involves strangers, people and things disappearing before their eyes, intruders, the FBI, and all sorts of things that will have you reading one, waiting to see what comes next. I will say, this book is highly saturated with adoption. I think that some children who are adopted might find this book comforting, in that "someone feels like me" sentiment, while others it could be damaging. Even within the book, Chip discovers he is adopted, which sends him into a downward spiral of an identity crisis, sharing everything he is going through with Jonah. This in turn, causes Jonah, who is also adopted but quite happy with his life, to head down the same path. I am not sure that is the best for all children to read about that are adopted.
Also, I thought the writer didn't handle the topic up kidnapping very tastefully. Why it was even interjected into the storyline so many times, is beyond me. It was unnecessary. But there was plenty of times the three kids were running around doing investigative work that was, of course, slightly dangerous to be doing at their age, leaving them to be making light comments about "what if we get kidnapped" type of thing. Every time it was mentioned, I got the feel that it was almost like a joke, like they were saying...O-well, if we get kidnapped! That was kind of disturbing for me, coming from the point of view of a mother who is well aware that an actual real kidnapping is a terrible thing, and a lot of times, life threatening. I found it to be quite insensitive and poor judgment for the author to keep including these comments. Children do not need to be taught that kidnapping is nothing to be serious about. I really didn't like that in the book.
There was also a moment in the book where they were trying to explain how a ripple in time is created, by giving the example of if you go back in time and kill your grandmother, the paradox that creates for your existence. Why choose to pick writing about going back to kill your grandmother to explain this? There is probably a ton of other ways the author could have chose to express this idea, or at least word it in a way that wasn't slightly creepy to be thinking of a bunch of kids reading this in a casual manner. I don't think that authors need to lightly introduce, in an insensitive manner, topics such as kidnapping or killing grandmothers. It was a bit strange for me.
Aside from those things, the book was pretty good. It was a very creative science fiction book, and I love time traveling tales. I am curious to read on in the series, but I am not sure I will be racing out to the library to gather the next books up anytime soon. Also, I would feel comfortable with my own children reading this book, however, that is because I know they understand the seriousness of these topics, and I know they would probably be thinking the same thoughts I am while reading it. I know not all children are taught about these topics by an adult with the appropriate intent, giving the correct message and information on such serious topics, so I don't think this book is best for all children.