Sunday, October 19, 2008

Found: An Absorbing New Series

After reading Becky's glowing review of Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix, I knew I had to

get my hands on a copy. Lucky for me, this was Book Fair week at my kids' school and they had plenty of copies on hand. I tried not to salivate as I paid for it, carried it home and hid it from my 9-year-old who kept begging for a peek. Finally, I got a moment alone with my new acquisition, and that was it ... I don't think I looked up until I turned the last page. It's that good.

The story opens with a strange discovery. On the first day of her new job at Sky Trails Air, Angela DuPre notices an unscheduled airplane landing at the airport. Pilot error seems to be the only explanation for the unexpected arrival. There's only one problem - no pilot is aboard the aircraft. When no one emerges from the plane, Angela tiptoes onto the aircraft to investigate. To her astonishment, a baby is sitting in every single seat. Before she has a chance to fully process what she is seeing, the FBI takes over, warning Angela never to speak about what she witnessed.

Fast forward 13 years. Jonah Skidmore is playing basketball with his friend Chip when his sister hands him a letter. The note contains only six words - You are one of the missing - but they're enough to send a major shiver down Jonah's spine. Is it some kind of prank? Most of his classmates know he's adopted - are they playing around with him? Whatever. He rips the letter up and re-focuses on his jump shot. Hours later, there's a pounding on his door. A frantic Chip stands there, raving about receiving a letter just like Jonah's. After confronting his father with the note, Chip learned that he was also adopted. While Jonah's parents are pretty open about his adoption, Chip's are the exact opposite. With his parents refusing to address his questions, he turns to Jonah for help.

Jonah wants to help his friend - after all, he's wondered about his own birthparents - but something just seems fishy about the situation. First, there are the eerie letters. Then, a search of Chip's dad's safe turns up the name of an FBI agent connected to Chip's adoption. Before long, the two boys and Jonah's sister, Katherine, have launched a full-on investigation. Their questions lead to a meeting with FBI Agent Jimmy Reardon, where the kids find a file listing Jonah and Chip as "Survivors." But, survivors of what? A phone call to Angela DuPre reveals some answers, but her conjectures are just a little bit crazy. Babies on a plane with no parents? What could that possibly mean? Who are Jonah and Chip, really? And why are there strange men tracking the kids' every move? Together, Jonah, Chip and Katherine must find the answers not only to confirm their own identities, but to save the world from an evil they are barely beginning to comprehend.

An original plot, coupled with non-stop action makes Found a fast, absorbing read that will hook even reluctant readers. The adventure story will keep you reading, but the ethical issues Haddix presents will make you think. As always, her presentation is subtle, but effective. She's never preachy, but the questions she asks linger long after the book comes to a close. Luckily, there is plenty of time to mull over ethics - Found is just the beginning of this exciting new series. I, for one, will be waiting anxiously for the next installment.

Grade: A

(Book Image from Barnes & Noble)

2 comments:

  1. I loved this one! I just picked her newest up, Palace of Mirrors, and can't wait to start reading it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I really liked Found. The beginning was so creepy! I'm eager to continue on with this series.

    ReplyDelete

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