If an edge-of-your-seat crime mystery thrill ride is what you’re looking for in your next read, then I’d recommend pre-ordering your copy of The Night She Disappeared by April Henry as soon as possible.
Gabie drives a Mini Cooper. She also works part time as a delivery girl at Pete’s Pizza. One night, Kayla—another delivery girl—goes missing. To her horror, Gabie learns that the supposed kidnapper had asked if the girl in the Mini Cooper was working that night. Gabie can’t move beyond the fact that Kayla’s fate was really meant for her, and she becomes obsessed with finding Kayla. She teams up with Drew, who also works at Pete’s. Together, they set out to prove that Kayla isn’t dead—and to find her before she is.
Henry’s latest mystery grabs you from page one, and draws you into the question of what happened to Kayla through a combination of multiple POVs (including Gabie, Drew, Kayla herself, and even the kidnapper) — mixed in with 911 call transcripts, police reports, and other clippings that create a realistic mystery. Henry does her research thoroughly for her novels — talking to detectives and other experts — and it shows in the realistic grittiness of her story.
But what really impresses me is that amidst the mystery and the crime, Henry also still manages to tackle the very element that, to me, defines YA: growing up. Her characters are teenagers with real-life issues to deal with already: the expectations of their parents (or absentee parents), what they want to do with their future, who they are as individuals, love and lust and romance. The Night She Disappeared shows how teens already dealing with their own lives are then thrust into even more chaos when something like a kidnapping happens and hits so close to home.
Henry also deftly handles the chaos that surrounds such a big picture crime, and how it affects the people closest to the case. We see the people beyond what the TV cameras show, beyond what the police reports say. We see them as individuals.
The Night She Disappeared is in stores March 13th.