Friday, May 4, 2012
Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2009
January 18th, 2012
Description: In 2035 kidnapping rich children for a ransom is a major industry in the United States. The rich live in luxury in large mansions with hired help in gated communities with satellite schools for their children and armed security. Thirteen-year-old Charity Meyers has lived in this environment for a number of years now. Before moving to the Highlands, she was happy living in a poorer neighborhood with no worries about kidnappers until her mother died. Depressed, her father threw himself into his work and perfected a safe type of fake tanning product which made him millions and he ended up marrying the first woman who came along—Mickey, a TV show host obsessed woman who uprooted them to the security of the Highlands. Charity has taken the mandatory kidnapping-preparedness classes and her best friend’s brother survived being taken. It still doesn’t totally prepare her for the night when her security is breached and she is taken from her own home. She’ll soon find out that her kidnapping isn’t like any others and has a very unique motivation behind it.
Opinion: I’ve read other books by Bloor (Tangerine, London Calling) and enjoyed them. This book was also good. It’s a little slow going as Charity’s story is told in the present day—trapped inside an ambulance—and in flashbacks to the days leading up to her abduction—a method she was taught to use to keep her mind focused and to stay calm in such situations. Through those flashbacks readers learn that her father ignores her, her stepmother just wants to use her for video footage for her TV specials (current one is called “Living with Divorce” as Mickey is planning on leaving Charity’s father), and how non-rich people live through descriptions of her servants’ roles and a memory of when Charity visited a local community for school where they annually pass along their hand-me-downs to the poorer children. Charity has some interesting conversations with a young teenage boy involved in her kidnapping who calls himself Dezzi. He talks about how his family all died because of a lack of access to healthcare. He wanted to be a doctor himself, but those dreams are long gone now. Charity feels betrayed when she actually discovers the identity of her kidnapper and his relationship with Dezzi. When Charity’s father is killed in the money drop off, the whole kidnapping situation goes way beyond what Charity was ever prepared for—in all kidnappings you pay the money and the child gets returned. Rarely does someone die in the process. Charity meets the scary Dr. Reyes, the man really behind the kidnapping who has a story to tell Charity. It turns out that Dr. Reyes is Charity’s father—disillusioned with his life one day he stopped in a poor village and saved a life because the clinic doctor was long gone. He felt alive again and began planning Charity’s “kidnapping” in order to leave their old life behind and start anew. The father as a kidnapper plot will probably be a big twist to many readers.