Title: Found
Author: Margaret Peterson Haddix
Series: The Missing: Book 1
ISBN: 9781416954217
Pages: 314 pages
Publisher/Date: Alladin Paperbacks, c2008.

Usually if he got mail, it was just postcards or brochures, reminding him about school events or basketball leagues or Boy Scout camp-outs. This envelope looked very formal and official, like an important notice.
“Who’s it from?” Katherine asked.
“It doesn’t say.” That was strange too. He flipped the envelope over and ripped open the flap. He pulled out one thin sheet of paper.
“Let me see,” Katherine said, jostling against him and knocking the letter out of his hand.
The letter flutered slowly down toward the threshold of the door, but Jonah had already read every single word on the page. There were only six.
YOU ARE ONE OF THE MISSING. (19-20)

13-year-old Jonah is playing basketball with new kid Chip when a mysterious letter arrives for him in the mail that proclaims he is “ONE OF THE MISSING.” Jonah thinks it’s a prank directed at him because he’s adopted, but then Chip gets the same letter in the mail. With Jonah’s sister Katherine (who wasn’t adopted) tagging along, the three of them start following the clues to what could be a national cover-up involving the FBI. But there are two opposing forces at work, and it seems that both have their own agenda. But are Chip and Jonah just one of many pawns in a fight to control their future — or their past?

The suspense in this book is great. I was a big fan of Running Out of Time which I feel M. Night Shyamalan stole for his movie The Village (but that’s another story), so I was excited to read her newest series. Plus, she’s going to be an author for the 39 Clues series in a few months. The cover, while dark, muted, and blurry, seems to set the tone and mood for the book before even opening it. There is foreshadowing weaved into the story with deftness and ease, elluding to the time travel plot shift that I don’t feel bad mentioning because it’s in the summary on the book. Mystery obsessed and hyper-excitedable Chip is balanced nicely against Jonah who is more willing to accept the most probable explanation for an event. I wonder if future books in the series will allude to the stories of the other kids involved in this time traveling mystery. Only time will tell.

This title was chosen as one of the titles for our Battle of the Books for 2010, which is geared towards 6th and 7th graders. The kids form teams and answer questions on half a dozen books each year.

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