Post #24: Stolen Children

Stolen Children
Peg Kehret

Post number twenty-four is for Peg Kehret's Stolen Children, which is another of this year's Mark Twain Award Nominee books for the state of Missouri. I've now read four of the twelve, and have enjoyed all of them quite a lot. I should have been reading my assigned readings for my classes instead, but decided I needed a mental break, which this book provided nicely.

Brief spoilers follow.

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Amy takes a job as a babysitter for a very well-to-do family. She's only there a little over an hour, before two men show up and kidnap the little girl she's supposed to be watching (named Kendra). They end up having to take Amy as well, because she can ID them and they don't want to leave a witness behind. They are taken to a remote cabin in the woods and made to record DVDs, which are mailed to Kendra's family. The men want to demand a ransom for her (since Amy wasn't initially supposed to be at the house, she was not included in any of their plans – she realizes that they mean to kill her before they release Kendra so she can't identify them, assuming they even mean to release Kendra at all).

Amy is very resourceful in this book. She manages to create games to play with Kendra on the DVDs to give the police clues to their whereabouts, and even attempts to escape, although it's hard to drag a three-year-old through the woods in a quick enough fashion and they are eventually caught. She also sneaks the gun away from the men, and gets rid of it, thus ensuring they can't shoot her or Kendra before it's all said and done. Some of what she comes up with is perhaps a little far-fetched – Amy is only 14 and yet she manages things that I don't think I would think up – but the book was still enjoyable and suspenseful enough to keep me captivated. All in all, a fun book, with a happy ending (of course). I was really pleased to see a book with a strong, independent, smart female character, too, which is never a bad thing.

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