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"A voice on TV: Once again, the child is eight years old. Last seen wearing a pink dress, with matching beads in her hair. She may be holding a dolll she calls Kamara. If you have any information, please call...." It was only a matter of seconds or maybe a few minutes. That was all the time it took for Wren Abbott to go from sharing a quick trip to the gas station and a dash inside for a Diet Coke to a terrifying ride on the floor of the backseat of her car. Was that a gunshot she heard? Will this man kill her too? What happened to her mother? Hidden in the garage of this stranger's home, Wren listens to the voices of the man, the woman, the girl. She's hungry and thirsty and she needs to pee. How can she get out of this nightmare? Now, six years later, Darra is headed to summer camp at a place she knows she'll hate.

The girls there have known each other for years and Darra just doesn't fit in. She's the new girl and when she hears someone call the name of one of the other campers, she stops and stares. The girl's name is Wren. Can she be the same Wren who sent her father to jail? The same Wren who was hidden in Darra's own garage? Who survived the terror of being kidnapped by Darra's father? Helen Frost has used her exceptional ability with words to write Wren's story in free verse and if you read the end words of the Darra's sentences, you'll find another story line revealed as though in a code. It's a fascinating exercise in human courage and survival and in word play. Ages 10-14 147 pages

*****

Two fourteen year old girls, Wren and Darra, meet at a summer camp in Michigan. They are astonished to discover they met six years earlier when Darra's father stole a car where Wren was hidden in the back seat. Wren escapes and identifies Darra's father as the thief. He is sent to prison. Ultimately they realize who they are and arrive at a resolution to their respective roles in the previous encounter.

This book is a very special piece using a different poetic structure for each voice. This somehow needs to be spelled out for potential readers. Without the explanation a reader could become confused and the book not be enjoyed or even understood. The author has been awarded many honors. Personally I respect her work and thoroughly enjoy each piece. Her story lines are exceptional and I feel that young readers would be attracted to her books, that is, of course if they recognize her unique style with the different poetic forms.

Frank Hodge, Emeritus Booktalker of HODGE-PODGE Books

+++

Wren and her mother stop at the convenience store for a treat. Wren’s mother goes into the store while Wren stays in the back seat to wait for her. Wren hears a gunshot and realizes that something is not right. Suddenly, there is someone driving their car, but instinctively she knows that it is not her mother. Wren stays quiet and tries to pay attention to the road to see if she can figure out where she is being taken. Wren is not sure whether or not the carjacker knows that she is in the back seat or not. When they finally arrive at the carjacker’s home, Wren sneaks out of the backseat and into his garage. The carjacker also has an eight-year-old daughter named Darra who figures out that someone is in the garage. This incident forever changes the lives of Wren and Darra.

This novel is told in alternating points of view. First, Wren is telling the story—then Darra begins to tell her side of the story. The first fifty pages of the book were absolutely riveting. I literally flew through those pages because I wanted to know what was going to happen to Wren. I highly recommend this book -- especially to reluctant readers.

Recommended by Linda Kay, Librarian, Texas, USA

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