A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there's little to be concerned with here: some brands are mentioned, there's some mild fighting and use of a Taser.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Neighbors Jonah and Chip, both 13 and both adopted, both receive anonymous letters telling each that he is "one of the missing," and warning them of unspecified danger. After some investigation, they find that they were two of 36 babies found on a mysterious airplane that appeared, and then disappeared, at the airport 13 years earlier. Now they are being stalked by threatening men who can vanish at will, and who may be able to travel through time.
Is it any good?
This has all the qualities of a B movie: hokey dialogue, not entirely believable characters, and a science fiction premise where the science doesn't make a whole lot of sense. But, like a B movie, you won't care while you're reading it -- it's just too suspenseful and exciting. This is your classic can't-put-it-down, read-under-the-covers, when's-the-next-one-coming-out thriller.
Margaret Peterson Haddix, author of the popular Shadow Children series, knows a thing or two about suspense, such as how to maintain it without a lot of the usual fighting, battles, and near-death experiences that most authors seem to think are necessary. Of course she uses the usual tricks of the trade: chapter-ending cliffhangers, creepily mysterious events, gradual revelation of dire secrets, and general air of foreboding. But she uses all that in the service of a radically original and intriguing (if still somewhat fuzzy) premise. The cliffhanger ending will have kids panting for the next one.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the book's ideas about time travel -- the Paradox and the Ripple -- presented here.
Could time travel really be possible? How could a small change in the past ripple through time?
Is it possible to change anything in the past without affecting the present and future?
What about the paradox -- would it be possible to stop yourself from being born?
For kids who love sci-fi
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.