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Publisher: Simon and Schuster
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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...
Who Am I? It's a loaded question that most of us have had to ask ourselves at some point and usually struggle with an answer. But it's a question that runs much deeper for Lauren Matthews, who was adopted when she was 3 years old. She has no idea that a simple piece of homework will impact her for the rest of her life. Tired of never getting an answer from her parents about her biological family, she searches online and comes across a Missing Persons website.... where she finds a little girl who who disappeared 11 years ago. Exactly when she was adopted. A girl who frighteningly sounds like Lauren.
When she runs away with her best friend Jam in tow, the pair soon realise how messy and suspicious the situation is. Could the parents she's loved and fought with her entire life really be responsible for kidnapping her? The deeper they digs, the more dangerous things become because not everyone wants the past to be uncovered. And some will go to scary lengths to keep it buried.
Lauren does lack some foresight or logic. She doesn't give thought to the long-term consequences her actions will have on others. But given her age, I could excuse her often rash behaviour. There's a mission, an end goal, and she wants to reach it. She just doesn't consider what might happen after she reaches it. She's forced to face a lot of ugly truths in life. Secrets are unearthed along the way, danger is rampant and the pains of the past are finally confronted. But will anyone find a happy ending afterward?
Sophie really dug deep and explored the ramifications this had on everyone. Both the legal and the emotional. On Lauren, on her adoptive family, on Jam and especially on her biological family. I think it's fair to say that her real mother, Anne, has been the most affected by this. She left her baby girl alone for mere minutes, but that's all it takes. And for any mother to lose her child, it leaves a deep, aching wound on their soul. Those years of not knowing - is she alive or dead? No sign or whisper. Just a neverending period of waiting, waiting, waiting for some clue that may never come. It's a yearning, a sadness, that's infected the whole family.
There is a sweet, budding romance that develops between Lauren and Jam, who've been best friends since forever. It was cute to read and added that extra touch to the compelling mystery. While at times there is a certain amount of predictability and disbelieving moments given their age, Girl Missing makes for a fast-paced read with writing that's easy to fall into, but hard to pull out of. It's that kind if novel that proves nothing in life is clean-cut. If you dig deep enough you'll find that every situation, every action, is layered with desperation, hope, love, greed or power. This is a novel of one girls quest to find herself, but learns the answer to that question is never easy.