by Lee Weatherly
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9–A missing person's report opens this suspenseful novel set in southern England. Abby Ryzner, a 13-year-old Goth, has vanished, and the last person to see her alive was her former best friend. Emma switched schools and distanced herself from Abby and a fantasy game the two of them had played for years after a traumatizing episode in which she was labeled a freak. With mixed emotions, Emma joins the search. Chapter titles provide a grim countdown of the passing days. Emma feels caught between two worlds–that of her new, fashionable friends and Abby's punk-looking companions who are into D & D. As she begins to hang out with Abby's friends, including Ski, a guy she can talk to, Emma finds herself, once again, absorbed by role-playing games. Knowing Abby was trying to set up a challenging, live-action game, Emma and Ski descend into the bowels of an industrial plant, armed only with flashlights against a scary, pitch-dark maze of tunnels with gurgling pipes. To their horror, they discover the truth about Abby's disappearance. The two mysteries keep readers guessing. Emma, the narrator, gradually gains strength to surmount shameful memories and learns to accept her own uniqueness. She also makes peace with Abby's family, after showing compassion and imagination in helping resolve the puzzle of their daughter's whereabouts. –Susan W. Hunter, Riverside Middle School, Springfield, VT
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