Friday 16 September 2011

Book Review: Sister, Missing by Sophie McKenzie

Product details:
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books
Hardcover, 256 pages.
Release date: September 15th 2011.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Ages: 12+
Source: Received from publisher for review.

It's two years after the events of Girl, Missing and life is not getting any easier for sixteen-year-old Lauren, as exam pressure and a recent family tragedy take their toll. Lauren's birth mother takes Lauren and her two sisters on holiday in the hope that some time together will help, but a few days into the holiday one of the sisters disappears, under circumstances very similar to those in which Lauren was taken years before. Can Lauren save her sister, and stop the nightmare happening all over again?

In Sophie McKenzie’s bestselling debut novel Girl,  Missing we followed fourteen year old Lauren Matthews as she uncovered the secrets of her past and in doing so found her future. Now, in this fast paced sequel we join Lauren two years on from the life changing events of Girl Missing as that future is threatened and she must go to any lengths possible to stop history repeating.

For me, Girl, Missing was not a book that demanded or even lent itself to a sequel, and yet since I really connected with the characters of Lauren and her best friend turned boyfriend, Jam, I was excited to see what happened next. However, I ran into a few problems while reading this one.  First off, while Sister, Missing  is not simply a re-hash of Girl, Missing certain events do follow a similar pattern to the first book, while the main crux of the story isn’t as compelling as the events of Girl, Missing leading to several exaggerated plot twists which are not believable and which seem contrived in places. Sister, Missing is told at break-neck speed with multiple shocking revelations and a plethora of character introductions which left me feeling like I was experiencing fragments of different stories instead of one fully rounded plot which I could become totally invested in.  While I can’t deny that the events of Sister, Missing were exciting, they sometimes dominated the plot to the point where the characterization suffered.

In Girl, Missing I loved getting to know the characters of Lauren and Jam and watching their relationship develop from best friends into something more.  Here, I wanted to see how as boyfriend and girlfriend their dynamic had changed. I was also interested in finding out how Lauren’s new life, split between her biological and adoptive parents was working out.  Things in Lauren’s life are as eventful as always and she is her usual headstrong, stubborn self.  In fact, here Lauren is a less likeable character than she was in Girl, Missing who doesn’t seem to have matured all that much since we met her as a fourteen year old. Here, she is often portrayed as selfish in her dealings with her parents, Jam and her sister Shelby with whom she constantly clashes. In the aftermath of a family tragedy, her little sister Madison is the only one that Lauren really connects with, so when Madison goes missing during a trip to the beach, in circumstances that are strangely similar to her own disappearance years before, Lauren will do just about anything to get the little girl back before it’s too late.

As for Jam and Lauren, well, I loved those two in Girl, Missing, but here they weren’t quite working for me. Sure, they have their moments, but their connection was a little lacking. In Girl, Missing, these two were best friends, there for each other no matter what, but here there is a distance between them, and at times, it seems as though they almost resent each other. Will they make it? You’ll have to read Sister, Missing to find out!

Girl, Missing was a gem of a book in both its great characterization and its timely and highly believable subject matter.  While Sister, Missing is not as compelling in either of these aspects it is nonetheless an exciting page-turner which contains plenty of shocks and surprises throughout.  If you loved the first book and want to see what happened next for Lauren, Jam and Co. you should give Sister, Missing a whirl!


  1. Oh wow! That cover is one that plays tricks on your mind.

    I remember reading some great review for Girl, Missing, but i didn't know there was going to be a follow up. Sounds like it kind of nestled itself right into that second book syndrome.

  2. I still haven't read Girl, Missing, but it's on my list of books to read. It's a shame this wasn't as good as the first book, but I'm glad you enjoyed it overall. Great review!

  3. I was worried that it was too much like the first one to begin with, but then it really took off.

  4. Great review! I still need to read the first book but the characters sound really good :)

  5. One of my favorite storylines is a best friends-turned-something-more one, so I think I need to read book one in this series! It's too bad this second book didn't quite live up to its predecessor, but it still sounds like a fairly good read. Thanks for the review Leanna!

  6. havent read the whole book but can anyone tell me what happens after chapter 12

  7. the book is amazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggggggggggggg


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